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Doctorate of Philosophy in History

The Department of History at the University of South Florida in Tampa offers to Ph.D. applicants an enriching program of study, coursework, and directed research. Areas of specialization cover a number of fields, including Colonial through Modern U.S., U.S. in the World, the Ancient World, Medieval Worlds, Early Modern Worlds, Modern Europe, and Latin America.  Across these fields, students can request, in consultation with their Major Professor, concentrations organized thematically or geographically (e.g. gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, regional history, public history, science and medicine, and comparative empires, etc.).

Our Ph.D. program features an innovative model of doctoral education designed to ensure broad interdisciplinary connections with any related fields. The department’s faculty creates a dynamic learning environment that fosters close interaction between students and teachers.  Our seminar-based curriculum ensures that each student in the graduate program receives individual attention and guidance.  We pride ourselves on training students to be scholars and teachers at all levels of education, while also offering preparation for careers outside academia in government agencies, historical societies, libraries, and museums, etc.

This document describes the Department of History’s key policies, procedures, expectations, and responsibilities for students in the Ph.D. program.  Since it reflects the current status of our evolving programs, it is thus subject to change.

To foster an ideal working relationship between students and faculty, the History Department at USF only admits a few full-time Ph.D. students each year. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program will receive a four-year financial package that includes tuition and a Graduate Assistantship with a $15,200 stipend the first year and $15,700 for the remaining three years. 

Plan of Study 

The university defines full-time status for graduate students as 9 credit hours. In addition to the general requirements of the University as explained in the USF Graduate Catalog, a candidate is required to complete a total of 72 post-baccalaureate hours in the following distribution:

  • HIS 7937 Interdisciplinary Pro-Seminar (3 hours). This course is as an introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of this unique Ph.D. program, and will offer new students to the History program the opportunity to engage with their colleagues in Government and Sociology.  This Pro-Seminar is organized around one common theme and focuses on the methodologies and theories of these related disciplines so that students gain a working knowledge of the complementary aspects of these fields.
  • HIS 6112 Analysis of Historical Knowledge (3 hours) This course examines both the theories behind and the practical effects of varieties of methodological approaches to historical research.  Students who have taken this course as part of a USF History M.A. will not be required to repeat it.
  • HIS 6939/7939 Fields of Study (15 hours). Students will complete approximately five courses within the History department devoted to their major and minor fields of study. Independent study credits (HIS 6935, HIS 6914, HIS 6908) may be used in lieu of a fifth course.
  • HIS 7289 Seminar in Comparative Studies and/or Interdisciplinary Electives (6 hours) Students will take six hours of interdisciplinary studies; these six hours may be divided between the Seminar in Comparative Studies and an interdisciplinary elective course or as two interdisciplinary electives. The Ph.D. Seminar in Comparative Studies is a varying topics course will examine a particular concept– such as sustainability, globalization, or identity– across different cultures and different periods. Students will examine how historians have employed a core theoretical concept or explored a specific historical problem in different temporal and spatial contexts.  The course will prepare students to apply comparative perspectives to historical problems and to consider historical perspectives on important contemporary issues. Interdisciplinary Electives may be selected from any department in USF, but students must first seek approval for these courses with the Major Professor and the Graduate Director.
  • HIS 7938 Capstone Seminar (3 hours). This course will act as the final participatory course work of Ph.D. candidates before they proceed to the dissertation writing stage. 
  • HIS 7980 Dissertation Writing Hours (18 hours). These hours are intended to give students the opportunity to work closely with their dissertation committee and focus on research, writing, and revision. 

Students entering with an M.A. in History may count up to 30 hours of coursework towards their Ph.D. so long as those hours are in structured courses and the students have earned at least a 3.0 or better. Beyond these 30 hours, no credit hours earned for another degree can be counted towards the Ph.D.

Enrolling in Graduate Seminars

All history graduate courses (and many in other departments as well) require a permit, which is granted only by the professor teaching the course. This necessitates students contacting instructors, usually initially by email, to explain their interest in the course and to request a permit to enroll.  Since enrollments are limited, students are advised to begin the process of requesting permits long before the actual registration process. The instructor will notify the student once permission to enroll in a course is granted.

The schedule of classes is available online at A list of seminar courses with descriptions will also be circulated via email each term prior to enrollment. Faculty email addresses are available on the department's website at Please note that students cannot rely on the number of "spaces available" in a course listed on OASIS because a course may well be filled with permitted students who have not yet registered.  In addition, courses often have a waiting list. 

Important Contacts:

Graduate Director:  Cornelis Boterbloem, SOC 276,

Graduate Program Assistant: Vincent Aponte, SOC 268, (813) 974-2784,

Office Manager: Theresa Lewis, SOC 260, (13) 974-2809,

Please refer to the Ph.D. Program Manual  or the University’s Graduate Catalog  for a full description of requirements and policies. The section of the University Catalog pertaining to History degrees can be located here: University Graduate Catalog History Section.