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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, Digital Humanities, and Latin America.

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 Seminar (3 hours). This course discusses the historian's practice in all its iterations.
  • 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, but are to take another 6000 or 7000-level course instead.
  • HIS 6939/7939 Fields of Study (9 hours). Students should carefully select these courses: Some may be chosen with an eye to the their comprehensive examination (including its minor field), while others may be selected with an eye on initial work toward the dissertation; at times a course may serve both purposes. Independent study credits (HIS 6935 or 6936, HIS 6925, HIS 6914, HIS 6908) may be used in lieu of one or two courses, but HIS 6908 and HIS 6914 are pass/fail, and passing them may not improve the GPA (which may at times be useful).
  • HIS 7289 Seminar in Comparative Studies and Interdisciplinary Elective (6 hours), or Two Interdisciplinary Electives (6 hours) Students will take six hours of interdisciplinary studies; these six hours may be divided between a Seminar in Comparative Studies, occasionally taught by the History Department, and an interdisciplinary elective course. Interdisciplinary Electives may be selected from any department in USF, but students must first seek approval for these courses with their advisor 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 to 48 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: Susan Rhinehart, 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 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.