Ph.D. Program

Our major faculty interests are clustered in the history of the American South and the history of technology. Faculty members have also gained national and international recognition for their research and publications in American and European history more broadly, including in African American history, the history of civil rights, the history of slavery, the history of the American Civil War, the history of religion, the history of transportation (including the history of aerospace and automobile technologies), the history of material culture, social and labor history, gender history, urban and spatial histories, and the history of Southeastern Native Americans. We particularly welcome applications to our Ph.D. program from students whose interests match our faculty strengths.

Students currently completing or with the baccalaureate degree in hand may apply to enter the program as "direct track" Ph.D. candidates. The Department equally welcomes applications from students completing or with masters degrees in hand. In the latter case, students may be able to transfer up to two semesters’ credit for coursework to Auburn on the condition that it meets the Graduate School’s standard of currency, is applicable within the framework of the History Department’s doctoral program, and is approved by the student’s advisory committee and Graduate Program Officer (GPO) for inclusion in the plan of study.

The doctoral program involves a minimum of 55 hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree. Prior to the "preliminary" examination, which qualifies the student as a "doctoral candidate" (or, colloquially among professionals, as ABD—“All But Dissertation”), the Ph.D. is organized around five major fields: American History to 1865; American History since 1865; Europe 1500 to 1789; Europe since 1789; and the History of Technology. In addition to choosing a major field, students develop two minor fields, which allow them to broaden their perspective on history while developing a broad-based expertise invaluable when they later enter the classroom. The Ph.D. program provides all Ph.D. students with a basic training in world history, preparing them for the academic job market.

In addition, our Certificate in Public History is a strong preparation for students interested in pursuing employment in that sector. The Department is active in outreach around the state and beyond. Its faculty is active in local and regional historical organizations. It has close ties to the Encyclopedia of Alabama online reference work and has twice sponsored the Alabama Review, a quarterly journal published by the Alabama Historical Association.

After coursework is completed, the student is required to write and successfully defend a Ph.D. dissertation. The Ph.D. dissertation is a substantial monograph-length work offering a strong historical argument grounded in extensive original research conducted in archives and/or with other substantial collections of primary sources. Successfully completing a dissertation requires time, hard work, self-discipline, and patience.

While in the program, students also have the opportunity to get involved in a range of other scholarly activities, including through internships at a range of historical organizations, and an in-house seminar and discussion groups on European history and the history of the Civil War.

Applicants wishing to explore the program in more depth can find the basic Graduate School regulations governing all graduate study in the annual Graduate School Bulletin. The Department's own regulations (which speak more specifically to our program and are, in some instances, more rigorous), as well as detailed information on all stages of the graduate program and on the duties and responsibilities of our graduate students, are available in the Department's Graduate Handbook.

In addition applicants may view the list of courses scheduled to be taught in upcoming semesters. Note that these course offerings may change in response to student enrollment, faculty availability, changes in program requirements and other circumstances.

If you have further questions about our program, about faculty interests, or about the application and admission process, please contact our Graduate Program Officer.

For more information

Last Updated: May 31, 2018