University of Missouri–Columbia
Dept. of History
101 Read Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-7500
Africa, African American History, Ancient, Asia, Medieval to Modern Europe, Gender and Women's History, Latin America, South and East Asia, and U.S.
The department's graduate programs are founded on an excellent faculty. Fifteen of its members have won research awards. Sixteen have received prizes for the quality of their teaching. All of the faculty are committed to excellence in graduate education. Lecture courses, seminars and directed research projects are available on the histories of Western Europe, Russia, Great Britain, Africa, South and East Asia, Latin America and the United States. While students are required to get specialized training in the fields of their choice, they are also urged to develop a broad historical background.
Special Programs or Resources
Ellis Library has substantial research materials in all fields of graduate study, including an unusual collection of more than 5,000 pamphlets on 17th- and 18th-century British history and 18th- and 19th-century British and continental journals, including publications of all the major academies. The Health Sciences Library has excellent publications on the history of medicine. An additional resource is the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, a unique repository of material for regional studies in political, social and economic history. The State Historical Society of Missouri has an outstanding library of finding aids and primary and secondary works dealing with Missouri history. The graduate program also has available the resources of the Truman Library at Independence, Missouri.
Applicants may compete for Graduate School fellowships for entering students. Graduate School fellowships require departmental nomination. Interested students should consult with the director of graduate studies for further details.
The department provides qualified students the opportunity to gain college-level teaching experience as teaching assistants who conduct discussion sections in American and European history. Pending administrative approval and availability of funding, they earn at least $12,114 an academic year and carry nine semester hours. Each appointment is subject to annual review and may be renewed up to a maximum of six years.
When students begin work on their doctoral dissertations, they may apply for departmental fellowships and travel grants to assist their research and writing.
Applicants for admission must take the Graduate Record Examination prior to applying and have the score sent to the Graduate School, 210 Jesse Hall. You may also e-mail or write the Director of Graduate Studies in History, 101 Read Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
Applications for financial aid must be filed by Jan. 15 and will not be considered after that date. Announcements of awards are made no later than April 1.
To obtain a PhD in history at the University of Missouri, a student must fulfill residency, coursework, foreign language, comprehensive examination, and dissertation and oral defense.
A minimum of two semesters of full-time enrollment (9 hours each semester) or three semesters of part-time enrollment (6 hours each semester). Enrollment in all graduate courses requires the consent of the student's adviser and the instructor(s) of the class.
The minimum requirement for the PhD degree at the University of Missouri is 72 hours of graduate credit beyond the baccalaureate degree. A student's adviser and committee may require more. Customarily, students in history have more than 72 hours when they defend their dissertations. If a student has earned an MA degree at another institution, with the approval of her/his adviser and committee, s/he may receive up to 30 hours of credit toward the 72 necessary for the PhD. If a student took additional courses beyond his/her MA degree at another institution, with the approval of her/his adviser and committee, s/he may receive up to a maximum of six hours of credit toward the PhD. Graduate School regulations forbid the awarding of more than six hours. Two-thirds of the courses taken by a PhD candidate within the department prior to the comprehensive examination must be at the 8000 or 9000 level. These may, and probably will, include History 8085 (Problems), History 8410 (Independent Readings PhD Exam), History 9089 (Research), but not History 9090 (Dissertation Research). Every doctoral student who earned his/her master's degree at another institution must take History 8480, Historiography, unless excused by the Director of Graduate Studies. History 8480 is offered every winter semester.
3. Foreign languages
PhD candidates must demonstrate abilities in foreign languages appropriate to the completion of a doctoral dissertation in their proposed field of research. There are four different ways a student may fulfill this requirement. Which one is chosen depends on the area of his/her research interest. The adviser and committee must approve the method for fulfilling this requirement.
Candidates planning to write a doctoral dissertation in ancient history must demonstrate their competence in Greek and Latin, together with at least two modern languages (usually French and German). For the ancient language, competence will be shown either by the successful completion of a translation examination designed by a history department faculty member with knowledge of the relevant language, or by the completion of upper-level courses in the department of classical studies, or by other such proof as the adviser and other members of the advisory committee deem appropriate. Competence in the modern languages will be shown either by the successful completion of a translation examination designed by a history department faculty member with knowledge of the relevant language, or by passing the ETS language examination with a minimum score of 500, or by the successful completion of an upper level language course in any modern language department of the university.
Candidates planning to write a dissertation in European history must be competent in two foreign languages. Competence may be demonstrated either by successful completion of a research paper, the sources for which are predominantly in the foreign language under consideration, or by successful completion of a translation examination designed by a history department faculty member with knowledge of the relevant language, or by passing an ETS language examination with a minimum score of 500.
Candidates planning to write a dissertation in American history shall have a competent reading knowledge of one foreign language. Competence in a foreign language shall be demonstrated in the ways described above for candidates in European history.
Students who take foreign language courses should keep in mind that all classes below 7000 may not be taken for graduate credit and do not count toward the 9 hours per semester required for those receiving financial aid.
4. Comprehensive examination
Preparation: In the department of history, each doctoral student must prepare five fields for the comprehensive examinations. The selection of those fields and the faculty who will be the examiners in each should be begun by the doctoral candidate and her/his adviser during her/his first semester at MU.
The adviser will help the student prepare for examination in her/his major field. This will cover significant historical themes and historiographical trends in the specific period and area of the student's prospective dissertation topic. Two other members of the history faculty will help the student prepare for examinations in two chronological and/or geographical areas of historical study that are appropriate for his/her dissertation topic.
A fourth member of the history faculty will prepare the student for an examination in a chronological, geographical, and/or thematic area of historical study that is not directly related to his/her dissertation topic. A fifth faculty member from a department other than history will prepare the student for examination in an outside field. This will cover the methodologies and research findings of another academic discipline.
What the student learns in this discipline should assist his/her understanding of and research on her/his dissertation topic. The student's choice of a discipline to work in for his/her outside field is potentially as wide as the number of programs and departments in the university. That choice is not confined merely to departments in the College of Arts and Science. The student must have his/her adviser's approval of the discipline and the outside faculty member. The Graduate School must approve these selections as well.
Within the department of history there are eight broad areas of historical study: US history to 1865 (including the colonial period), US history since 1865, Ancient history, European history from the fall of Rome through the Reformation, European history since the Reformation, Latin American history, Asian history, and African history.
The three history faculty who, together with the adviser, will help the student prepare for the comprehensive examinations, must each test him/her on material in a different broad area. Thus the student will be working on three different broad areas, plus the dissertation field. The three faculty members may, in consultation with the student, define the broad area as narrowly or as widely as they choose. The adviser and the four other faculty members must explain how they want the student to prepare, what they want the student to master, and which criteria they will use to assess the examinations in their particular field. These explanations must be in writing, and copies of each placed in the student's permanent file.
Examination: Students may take a comprehensive examination only after fulfilling their residency, coursework and foreign language and/or historical research technique requirements. It will be administered by a committee consisting of his/her advisor and four other faculty members, one from a discipline other than history. These should be the faculty members who helped the student prepare for the examinations. Sometimes it may be necessary to find substitutes. The Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate School must approve any substitutions, and new committee members must describe their expectations in writing for the student and for his/her permanent file.
The comprehensive exams are given in two stages. The first is a series of at least three written exams. The second is an oral examination, which is conducted if the student passes the written portion. A report of the decision, signed by all members of the committee, must be sent to the Graduate School and the student no later than two weeks after the comprehensive exam is completed. One of the written exams must be in the major field; the committee will determine the subjects of the other exams, and their number. N.B. All members can require the student to write on their areas of expertise. Therefore the written examinations could cover all five areas.
All members of the committee will read the written exams and discuss them within two weeks after their completion. If they determine the student has not successfully completed the exam, they will inform him/her immediately and discuss the results. Failure ends the comprehensive exam at this point. The committee must provide the student with an outline in writing of the weaknesses and deficiencies of his/her work. A copy of this must be placed in the student's permanent file. If at any time the student believes that parts of the exam are unclear, or the decision of the committee is incorrect, or the advice given by the committee is inadequate, s/he may send a written request for clarification and rectification to the committee. A copy of this request should be sent to the Graduate School as well. The committee must respond to this request in writing within two weeks and a copy must be filed with the department and the Graduate School. At least 12 weeks must pass before a student who failed can take the comprehensive exams again.
If the committee determines that the student did satisfactory work on the written examinations, they will schedule an oral examination. This second stage of the comprehensive exams will cover all five fields. Each member of the committee will test the student. At the end of the oral examinations, the committee discusses the student's performance on each field and on the entire examination. This discussion includes both the written and the oral parts of the whole process. Then they vote pass, fail, or abstain on the student's total performance on the exam.
To complete the comprehensive exams successfully, the student must receive a vote of pass from at least four of the five examiners. Should two or more votes be negative or abstentions, the committee follows the same procedure outlined above for failure to pass the written part. These students must repeat the entire examination, not just the fields failed, and not just the oral portion. If the candidate fails the second examination, the examining committee must enter on its report to the dean of the Graduate School a recommendation to prevent the student's further candidacy.
5. Dissertation and oral defense:
Soon after successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student and adviser will form a dissertation committee of five faculty members. One member of the committee must be from outside the department. The student shall develop with her/his adviser and committee a dissertation topic and a plan of research. S/he should keep in regular contact with the adviser. Together they shall decide when written work will be read by other members of the committee.
Satisfactory Progress: The department requires PhD candidates to make satisfactory progress towards completion of their degree. Every January the student and the adviser must complete the online Graduate Student Progress System report. After discussion of his/her record for the last year, the adviser determines whether the student has made satisfactory progress and, with the student's participation and concurrence, establishes goals for the next year. A copy of this report becomes part of the student's permanent record. If aspects of a student's performance are unsatisfactory in the adviser's judgment, the student must correct them during the next year. Failure to do so, or the failure to meet the agreed-upon goals for a year, can have serious consequences. These may include loss of financial aid or even dismissal from the program. The student may appeal any assessment to the Director of Graduate Studies. If not satisfied, s/he may seek the remedies described in the Graduate School catalog. A PhD student must successfully complete the comprehensive examination within a period of five years beginning with the first semester of enrollment as a PhD student. For an extension of this the student must petition the Graduate School by submitting a request to the adviser who, in turn, submits a written recommendation to the Graduate School. The Director of Graduate Studies will also make a written recommendation. In addition, the dissertation must be successfully defended within five years of passing the comprehensive examination. On petition of the candidate and the candidate's department, an extension of time may be granted by the Graduate School.
Information from Department of Education
(Includes information on the size, location, and general characteristics of faculty and student body)
Information from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
(Includes rating of the institution's rating of the graduate instructional program and size and setting)
Full-time Faculty: 25
Relative Size based on Number of Full-time Faculty: Medium [Explain]
Student Demographics (Fall 2011):
Number of Doctoral Students in Program: 45
New Doctoral Students Entering Program: 7
Proportion of Doctoral Students Receiving Financial Aid: 80%
Number of Graduate Students Enrolled: 54
Relative Size Based on Graduate Student Enrollment: Medium [Explain]
First PhD conferred: 1935
History PhDs conferred to Date: 333
Number of PhDs Conferred (2011–12): 5
Relative Size Based on PhDs Conferred: Medium [Explain]
Last Updated: October 19, 2012