Department of History

About the Program

Here you can find basic information on the graduate program at Auburn: degree requirements, coursework, graduate assistantships, awards and fellowships, and health insurance.  For more detailed information, please refer to the Graduate Program Guide or contact the Graduate Program Officer (contact information below).  

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. requires satisfactory completion of at least 65 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, consisting of 55 hours of coursework as well as 10 hours of HIST 8990 (Research and Dissertation). HIST 7700 (Seminar in Historical Methods), HIST 8700 (Historiography and Theory of History), and HIST 8710 (Introduction to the Teaching of History) are required courses. At least 42 hours of coursework taken towards the Ph.D. degree must be in graduate seminars (including research seminars and internships) rather than lecture courses and readings seminars. The doctoral program also requires that a student take a Research and Writing Seminar in either their second or third semester of coursework. They may, on the recommendation of their major advisor, take one further research seminar. After completing coursework, they must register for a minimum of 10 hours of HIST 8990 (Research and Dissertation).

Demonstration of reading proficiency in at least one foreign language is also required for the doctorate; however, students should be aware that language instruction is not a regular component of the graduate program. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures provides some preparatory courses but the History Department cannot guarantee their availability. Prospective students are therefore strongly advised to develop knowledge of a foreign language prior to joining the program.

The master’s program requires 31 hours overall, including 28 hours of course work in addition to 3 hours of thesis research. Students must research, write, and defend a thesis.

The Certificate in Public History is open to students enrolled in the master’s and doctoral program, and to students who have already completed a MLIS or MA in history at Auburn or elsewhere. The certificate is designed to give students a grounding in the fundamentals of the field, preparing them for employment in public history organizations. Internship opportunities via Auburn’s Public History Program are vast and include positions in diverse settings, ranging from museums and public heritage groups to historic sites, archives, and state agencies, including the National Park Service. In every case, internships are customized to each student’s interests, coursework, and career goals.


Graduate degrees in history begin with coursework. In the first years in the program a full-time student will take three courses per semester until she or he has satisfactorily completed the program requirement of 27 hours (for M.A. students) or 55 hours (for Ph.D. students).

 All M.A. and Ph.D. students are required to take HIST 7700 (Historical Methods). Ph.D. students are also required to take HIST 8700 (Historiography and Theory of History), and HIST 8710 (Introduction to the Teaching of History). Other courses are elective. More detailed information, especially on the course requirements for mior and breadth fields for the PhD, can be found in the Graduate Handbook.  

The University Bulletin lists all the courses currently in the Auburn curriculum. Note that these course offerings may change in response to student enrollment, faculty availability, changes in program requirements, and other circumstances.  Lists of graduate courses recently offered in the department are also available under Courses.  

Graduate Assistantships 

Graduate assistantships in the Department of History are competitive, and provide a waiver of tuition, health insurance, and a nine-month stipend of $15,000. Both doctoral and master’s level students may apply. Graduate assistants typically support faculty teaching world history surveys, with two assists per semester. Graduate assistants must be full-time students, meaning enrolled in nine hours of course work per semester or enrolled in dissertation/thesis research.

Awards and Fellowships

For enrolled students, additional funding for participation in professional conferences and for thesis/dissertation research is available from the department through a competitive awards process. Other competitive opportunities for funding exist in the College of Liberal Arts, the Graduate School, and at the University level.

Health Insurance

Graduate assistants at Auburn benefit from a subsidized health insurance program. Only students able to demonstrate that they have equivalent or greater prior coverage can opt out of this university plan. Students who are not graduate assistants may still opt into the university health insurance program.

For more information

Last Updated: September 04, 2019