University General Course Catalog 2015-2016 
    Oct 29, 2020  

History, Ph.D

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I. Contact Information

Charles Tshimanga-Kashama, Graduate Program Director
(775) 784-6855

Department of History MS 308
University of Nevada, Reno 89557

II. Brief Introduction

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for careers in higher education and historical research and writing.  Areas of emphasis include:

  • Nevada and the West,
  • U.S. history,
  • American studies,
  • cultural history,
  • the history of science,
  • the history of medicine and
  • specific areas in European and Latin American history.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate proficiency in historical writing and research by producing a dissertation that makes an original contribution and obtains elements that can lead to publications
  • Demonstrate the ability to formulate an original historical question, and locate and master the appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the current state of historical literature in three fields, demonstrated in comprehensive examinations
  • Obtain a comprehensive understanding of the current state of methods and questions in the selected fields of study
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in oral presentations at a level commensurate with the standards of higher education and professional presentations

IV. Admission Requirements

Students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. degree in history should read the Graduate School  section of this catalog and the department’s Graduate Bulletin.   Applicants to the Ph.D. program must hold the Master of Arts degree, in history or a closely related discipline, from an accredited college or university (acceptable fields outside history to be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Graduate Studies Committee). Admission to full Graduate Standing for Ph.D. applicants requires a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in all undergraduate and graduate work and satisfactory scores on the GRE general test. Potential applicants without an M.A. in history should talk with the Graduate Advisor to determine whether their graduate work in a related field is comparable to that expected. Ph.D. admissions are entirely separate from M.A. admissions; completion of the M.A. program at the University of Nevada, Reno does not ensure admission to the Ph.D. program. More detailed information can be found at

V. Program Requirements

In consultation with the Graduate Advisor, the student must select three fields of study (leading to comprehensive examinations over a broad spectrum of historical material) from the list of Ph.D. Examination Fields. Usually these fields will be from a minimum of two groups. One field should be in the same subject area as the dissertation. One field may be taken in a department outside History with the approval of the student’s committee. The student’s examination fields, research emphasis, and dissertation topic must be approved by his or her committee and the Graduate Director on the basis of adequate library resources in the field and committed faculty involvement.

B. Additional Course Requirement (3 units)

Select one from the following:

C. Seminar Requirement (12 units)

Three of these units must be chosen from a group other than the major field of study. The student should complete a seminar related to each of his or her examination fields, in order to prepare for the comprehensive examinations. Exceptions to this policy may be approved by the student’s committee.

D. Independent Study/Readings

For most students, some course work occurs as independent graduate readings in history.  Students should note the limits on course units below and should not exceed the maximums. Any course taken under such an arrangement should be documented in writing (Department of History form), before the beginning of the semester and at the completion of the course. Completion of this form, signed by the supervising professor, is required for enrollment in independent-readings courses.

E. Foreign Language Requirement

A current working knowledge of one foreign language other than the student’s native language (not English) is required. Students planning on dissertation research which focuses on a foreign culture should expect to be examined in the principal language of that culture. Currency is determined by the student’s completion with a grade of “C” or better of a fourth-level language course while a graduate student at UNR, or by the successful passing of a language examination designed and administered by the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. The student’s committee may impose further requirements if deemed necessary for the student’s program and professional objectives. The language requirement must be satisfied before taking comprehensive examinations.

F. Comprehensive Exam, Dissertation

Each student must pass comprehensive written examinations of approximately six hours in length in each of his or her fields. Previous exams are kept on file in the Department of History; students may consult those exams in the History office. Exams are offered only during fall and spring semesters. The Graduate Advisor schedules all exams within a one-week period, generally around the thirteenth week of the semester. They are to be taken during the student’s final semester of regular course work.

Among the fields of study for the Ph.D., a select number are designated as areas for potential dissertation topics. All topics must be approved by the student’s graduate studies committee based upon factors such as requisite language skills, library and archival resources, and available faculty expertise. The student must secure the agreement of a faculty member to serve as the dissertation advisor. The dissertation is a work of significant original scholarly research and analysis. It should contribute to historical knowledge, exhibit a mastery of the sources and secondary literature of the subject and the techniques of exploiting them, and display a fair degree of literary skill. It should be submitted in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Graduate School. Students should obtain those guidelines at the beginning of the dissertation process, in order to avoid reformatting later. The Chicago Manual of Style, latest edition, will be the authoritative guide to style and form for all doctoral dissertations.

After the doctoral dissertation has been received by the advisory committee, a final oral examination (60-90 minutes) on the dissertation and related topics will be conducted. The final oral exam is a public event, to which the University community is invited. Upon passage of the oral exam and acceptance of the dissertation, the committee members sign the “Doctoral Degree Notice of Completion.”

VI. Total Units (73 units)

The Ph.D. degree program (73 credits) requires an oral qualifying interview, 49 graduate credits beyond the master of arts degree (of which at least 24 must be in approved courses), a current working knowledge of one foreign language, written comprehensive exams, a prospectus colloquium, dissertation and oral defense. The comprehensive examination is for 1 credit and can be used to fulfill the 30 required credits of 700-level course work.

VII. Undergraduate Prerequisites

Undergraduate Prerequisites : see under Admission Requirements above.

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