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George Mason University
    George Mason University
  Sep 21, 2017
2016-2017 University Catalog

History, PhD

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Banner Code: LA-PHD-HIST

College: College of Humanities and Social Sciences  
Department: History and Art History  

The PhD in history prepares students for careers in college teaching, digital media, publishing, educational administration, public history, and historical research. Students gain expertise in conventional historical methods and web-based technologies. Major fields include U.S. history, European history, and world history; minor fields are chosen by the student and may include such areas as public history, constitutional studies, and new media and information technology.

Depending on career goals and interests, students can also focus their degrees in one of four areas of emphases:

College and university teaching: This emphasis is for students who are seeking a career in teaching or research at the community college, college, or university level.

New media and information technology: Although all students in the program take some courses in new media, students in this emphasis seek careers specifically in new media (publishing, education, or a college or university history department where they would serve as the department’s lead person in new media and information technology). This emphasis requires more advanced work in new media than any other.

Public and applied history: This emphasis prepares students for work in applied areas of history, such as museums, archives, federal government work, preservation, and editing, or helps students already working in those areas to advance. In some cases, students will do advanced course work in their field of work; in other cases, they will acquire knowledge or skills that will foster their professional work (such as nonprofit management).

Professional development: This emphasis responds to the needs of students who have already launched a career and want a doctoral degree to further career goals or fulfill personal intellectual goals. Candidates who need flexible scheduling will be advised on a case-by-case basis.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see the Academic Policies  section of the catalog.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Admissions  section of this catalog. For information specific to the PhD in history, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental web site.

Reduction of Credit

For students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree, the number of required credits may be reduced by a maximum of 30 credits, subject to approval of the program faculty and the dean. Requests for reduction of credit are reviewed only after acceptance to the doctoral program.

Degree Requirements

Students pursuing this degree must complete a minimum of 72 graduate credits. Students will be terminated from the program if they receive more than one unsatisfactory grade (C or F).  No more than 6 credits earned through study abroad courses may be applied towards the degree.

In addition to core courses, students must complete course work in a major field of study and two minor fields; pass a comprehensive exam; and complete a dissertation. The dissertation demonstrates mastery of the subject matter, methodologies, and conceptual foundations in the chosen field of study. This requirement is generally achieved through consideration of a problem on the boundaries of knowledge in the discipline.

Doctoral Course Work (49-54 credits)

Six core courses (16-21 credits):

Major field (15 credits)

Students take courses in one of three possible fields: U.S. history, European history, comparative world history.

Minor fields (18 credits)

Students choose two minor fields and take 9 credits in each. Minor fields may include areas such as public history, constitutional studies, and new media and information technology.

Doctoral research skills

Students must demonstrate basic competency in computers. Students whose research requires knowledge of a foreign language must also demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language. The department sets specific research skills requirements for students, depending on their field of study.

Comprehensive exam

Students need to pass a comprehensive exam that consists of a written field exam for each minor field and an oral exam for the major field.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all course work required on their approved program of study. Students must also successfully complete and pass an oral comprehensive exam in a major field and written examinations in two minor fields. In addition, students must have a dissertation committee appointed by the Dean’s Office as well as an approved proposal. Evidence of the approved proposal must be on file in the Dean’s Office before a student can be advanced to candidacy.

Dissertation Research (minimum of 18 credits)

Once enrolled in 998, students in this degree program must maintain continuous registration in 998 or 999 each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is submitted to and accepted by the University Libraries. Once enrolled in 999, students must follow the university’s continuous registration policy as specified in the Academic Policies  section of the catalog. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students who complete less than 6 credits of HIST 810 must take additional credits of HIST 998 or 999 to reach the 72 credits required for the program.

Students may apply to this degree a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 credits of 998 and a minimum of 15 credits of 999.

Total: 72 credits

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