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 (of either 3 or 4 credits) including 7090, Introduction to the Graduate Study of History; demonstrate proficiency in one or two languages other than English (see below); 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 semester (normally as a teaching assistant); passing the “Q” examination in the second semester of study; completing 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.

For students in African, English/British, and American history, proficiency must be demonstrated in one foreign language before a Ph.D. candidate is eligible for the Examination for Admission to Candidacy (“A” exam). Students in all other fields are required to demonstrate competence in at least two foreign languages. Language proficiency is determined at the discretion of the special committee and in consultation with the DGS. The general minimal expectation is that students be able to pass a non-introductory placement test in the relevant foreign languages(s), but depending on the student’s research, much higher levels of proficiency will be expected. Substitutions for the foreign language requirement may be petitioned.

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 regress 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


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

In addition to the materials required by the Graduate school, the Field of History requires all applicants to submit a writing sample (an academic paper or essay -- try to limit the length to around 50 pgs). 

Learning Outcomes

When students complete the Ph.D., 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.