Nov 30, 2023  
2016-2017 General Catalog 
2016-2017 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, Ph.D.

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LSU offers the PhD degree in American, British, European, and Latin American history. The departmental-level academic course plan for each student will be developed in consultation with and approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee. The committee will include the student’s major advisor and at least two additional members of the graduate faculty such that the LSU Graduate School’s requirements for graduate committees are satisfied.

The basic requirements for the doctorate are specified in this publication. It is the responsibility of each applicant and graduate student to be familiar with these stipulations and fulfill them. A minimum of 54 credit hours of coursework and dissertation research are necessary to complete the program. The plan of coursework depends on the student’s earlier preparation in history, and the major requirement is a dissertation “which embodies creative scholarship” and which “must add to the sum of existing knowledge and give evidence of considerable literary skill.” Each student must offer three fields of study: one major field and two minor fields.

Major Fields:

Those fields offered by the department are: American history (inclusive), Latin American history, Europe to the Middle Ages, Medieval and Early Modern Europe, European history since 1500, and British history.

Coursework and Examinations:

Coursework: Students entering the program with a MA from another university will take the basic seminars in their major field. In Ancient/Medieval/Early Modern European History, they are HIST 7908 , HIST 7909 , and at least three seminars numbered between HIST 7917  and HIST 7930 . In Modern European and British History, they are HIST 7908 , HIST 7909 , and at least four seminars numbered between HIST 7917  and HIST 7930 . In United States history, they are: HIST 7904 , HIST 7908 , HIST 7951 , HIST 7952 , HIST 7956 , HIST 7957 , plus two Special Topics seminars (HIST 7958  and/or HIST 7959 ). Students will also have to take courses in their minor fields and may want to take other courses in their major fields. Students who have completed a MA in our department will have already completed these basic seminars.

Departmental-level academic course plan: Within the first year of study at the PhD level, each student will prepare, in consultation with his or her committee, a Doctoral Degree Audit form (available from the Graduate School website) which specifies requirements for course work and other aspects of the student’s course of study. When these requirements are completed, the student takes the general examinations.

General Examinations: General examinations will be offered once each semester. Minor field requirements consist of six hours of course work and a possible exam, subject to the discretion of the minor field professor. In certain cases a minor field may consist only of course work and a written exam will not be given. Once the minor field exams (or course work) have been completed, the student must take the major field exams the following semester. The major field exam will consist of two six-hour written exams and an oral examination with the student’s committee and a representative from the Graduate School. Once the major field examination has been successfully completed, the student becomes a PhD Candidate. By the end of the semester in which the student passes the general exam, the student must produce for his or her advisor and the DGS a one-page dissertation prospectus and a preliminary curriculum vitae.

Final Examinations: After completing the dissertation, the candidate defends it in an oral examination. The examining committee consists of the student’s major professor, other faculty from the Department of History or other departments in the university, and a representative from the Graduate School, in accordance with the guidelines outlined in The Graduate School  section.

Foreign Language Requirement:

It is required that all PhD students in American and British history must demonstrate reading proficiency in one foreign language, and PhD students in all other concentrations must demonstrate reading proficiency in two foreign languages. Each student must fulfill the foreign language requirement before advancing to the general examinations. Reading proficiency may be demonstrated through a sight translation conducted by a member of the faculty or by successfully completing a reading knowledge course offered by the Departments of Foreign Languages & Literature or French Studies. The requirements for language skills differ by field; students should consult with their major professor for requirements in their areas.

Minor Fields:

Each student must offer two minor fields that fall outside the scope of the major field. Approval of the selection and scope of each field will be made by the student’s major professor and minor field professors. Minor fields may be selected from the list of offered major fields, from Asian History, or an approved aspect or period thereof. Both minor fields cannot fall within the same major field. Requirements for fulfilling the minor field will be determined by the student’s minor field professor; typically each minor field requires six hours of course work. The department also offers a minor field in world history the requirements for which are as follows:

  • The minor requires both a set amount of coursework and an examination.
  • Students can choose between a Single World History Minor (6 hours) and a Double World History Minor (12 hours). The latter will count as two minors.

With twelve hours of required courses, the world history minor counts as two minor fields.

Students may select one minor field outside the department of history, and requirements for an outside field will be determined by the outside department. Each minor field must consist of at least six hours of graduate level course work, although some departments will require more.

Single Minor

  1. HIST 7970 Reading Seminar in Comparative History (3) , when offered in the field of World History and approved by the minor’s coordinator.
  2. Students must take one 4000- or 7000-level course in one of the following areas: Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and South Asia.

Double Minor

  1. HIST 7970 Reading Seminar in Comparative History (3) , when offered in the field of World History and approved by the minor’s coordinator.
  2. Students must take three 4000- or 7000-level courses- for a total of 9 hours- in three of the following areas, outside their major field: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. A thematic course that cuts across regions may be substituted for one of these.


Students in both the single and double minors need to take a general examination. Recognizing the double goal of this minor, the examination might consist of preparing a syllabus for teaching a world history survey or writing two essays on topics determined by the examination committee and reflecting the research interests of the student in question. The exam will be submitted to a 3-person committee from the World History Faculty, who will also conduct an oral exam based on the written assignment.

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