History Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study


Program Description

To encourage flexibility, general requirements are kept to a minimum. These include: taking seven graduate-level seminars including History 7090, Introduction to the Graduate Study of History; demonstrating proficiency in two languages other than English (for Africanists, only one foreign language required); completing the Graduate School's residence requirement of 6 semesters of full-time study at a satisfactory level of accomplishment; teaching for at least one year (normally as a teaching assistant); passing the "Q" examination early in the second semester of study; complete one research paper by the end of the second year; the written and oral "Admission to Candidacy" examination after completion of formal study (the "A" exam); turn in an approved dissertation prospectus within three months of the "A" exam; and completing the doctoral dissertation and defending it in a final examination.

All incoming doctoral students take a proficiency examination in an appropriate foreign language at the beginning of the first term of residence. Those who do not pass the exam enroll in suitable language courses until proficiency is acquired. Proficiency in two foreign languages (or for Africanists, one language) must be demonstrated before a Ph.D. degree candidate is eligible to take the Admission to Candidacy examination. The Admission to Candidacy exam is partly oral and partly written and is usually taken in the third year of study.

Incoming Ph.D. students who hold a master's degree from another university must still complete the requirements listed above. No formal transfer credit is given, but the Special Committee normally takes previous graduate work in history into account, which may speed the student's progress toward the doctorate.

Contact Information

Website: http://www.arts.cornell.edu/history
Email: history_grad_info@cornell.edu
Phone: 607 255-6738

450 McGraw Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • African history
  • American history
  • American studies (minor)
  • ancient Greek history
  • ancient history
  • ancient Roman history
  • early modern European history
  • English history
  • French history
  • German history
  • history of science
  • Korean history
  • Latin American history
  • medieval Chinese history
  • medieval history
  • modern Chinese history
  • modern European history
  • modern Japanese history
  • modern Middle Eastern history
  • premodern Islamic history
  • premodern Japanese history
  • Renaissance history
  • Russian history
  • south Asian history
  • Southeast Asian history



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

This program is not accepting applications for the 2021-22 academic year to provide additional support for current students who were impacted by the COVID-19 disruptions. The application is expected to reopen for Fall 2022.

Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admission


Requirements Summary:

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam or IELTS Academic Exam for non-native English applicants
  • three recommendations
  • GRE general test
  • writing sample

In addition to the materials require by the Graduate school, the Field of History requires all applicants to submit a writing sample (an academic paper or essay -- try to limit length to around 50 pgs). All applicants must also submit GRE general test scores; the test should be taken before December. Applications will not be evaluated unless complete.

Learning Outcomes

When students complete the PhD, they should be able to:

  1. Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline, producing publishable scholarship.
  2. Have a broad knowledge of theory and research across three concentrations/sub-fields (which may include one minor concentration from another discipline outside history).
  3. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of one major historical concentration/subfield.
  4. Communicate research findings effectively in written and in spoken presentations.
  5. Demonstrate effective skills in undergraduate teaching.
  6. Uphold professional and ethical standards in the discipline.