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Ph.D. in History

Ph.D. students in History at WVU create a curriculum in consultation with faculty advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies in four fields: one major field and three minor fields (one of which must be outside of the student’s area of research concentration). In addition to these areas, the Department of History encourages doctoral research that is transnational and comparative in perspective. For more information, view the program of study

Major Field 

The major field is designed to be both the student’s primary research and teaching field. The major field of study is chosen by the student in conjunction with their main faculty advisor, who agrees to oversee the preparation and examination in that field. The field should be based on the student’s dissertation interest, but the student should also acquire a broad understanding of the historiography related to that research area. 

Minor Fields 

Minor fields are designed primarily to provide students with sufficient preparation in that field for teaching at the college or university levels. Each field of study is chosen by the student in conjunction with a faculty advisor who agrees to oversee the preparation and examination in that field. No faculty member may oversee more than one field. 

Currently, students most often take major or minor fields of study in the following areas. Please note that students may (in consultation with their main faculty advisor and with the approval of the director of graduate studies) choose to take major or minor fields of study in areas other than those listed below:

Africa

  • British Imperial History
  • East African History
  • West African History

Europe

  • Britain/British Imperial History
  • Central European History
  • Early Modern History
  • Eastern European History
  • Medieval History
  • Russian/Soviet History
  • Western European History 

Latin America

  • Latin American/Caribbean History
  • U.S. – Latin American Relations

United States

  • Appalachian/West Virginia Regional History
  • Colonial American History to 1787
  • Social History of U. S.
  • U.S. Diplomatic History
  • U.S. History 1787-1850
  • U.S. History 1840-1898
  • U.S. History 1898 to Present

In addition, students may currently elect to take minor fields only in the following areas:

  • East Asian History
  • Public History
  • World History – Ph.D. students may choose to take three courses for the World History minor field, one of which must be the World Readings Course at the 700 level. Courses must be approved by the World History Coordinator. Oral comprehensive examination is required, but there is no written examination.