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History Ph.D. Online Degree Program Possibilities

Ph.D. degree programs in history are not available totally online, but some graduate schools at four-year colleges or universities may offer a portion of the required coursework online. Read on to explore these programs, typical coursework, online learning methods and on-site requirements.

Essential Information

Students may earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in History through campus-based programs that incorporate some online education components. These programs are usually designed for those who possess history master's degrees and are seeking to establish their expertise in a particular area or aspect of history. Doctoral programs focus on preparing students for the demands of performing and analyzing research in addition to teaching in higher education institutions.

Courses available through online means tend to be those focused on a student's selected area of specialization. Certain online history courses involve group sessions and discussions conducted through online forums where etiquette is closely monitored. Hybrid doctoral programs in history can be offered by state-sponsored or for-profit institutions of higher learning. Students can complete a Ph.D. in roughly four years. Graduates could pursue positions at universities, museums, historical associations and government agencies.

Common Coursework

Students pursuing graduate-level education in history generally focus on a specific geographic location and era. Select universities offer Ph.D. candidates the opportunity to earn a degree entirely focused on a specialty area, like the history of technology or military history. Doctoral students in hybrid programs might also concentrate on the history of academic subjects, such as the history of science, art history and music history.

Classes in graduate-level history programs cover topics such as historical preservation law, historical artifacts management and oral history interpretation. Some hybrid doctoral programs include courses in subjects related to history, such as economics, anthropology and linguistics. Ph.D. history students usually take courses centered on their specific areas of interest, but some possibilities include:

  • Popular Culture throughout History
  • History of American Indigenous People
  • Analyzing Historical Data and Samples
  • Research Methods for Historians
  • History of Ancient Greece

Campus-Based Requirements

Courses requiring a student's presence on campus are generally related to basic concepts of the field, such as research methods and historiography. Some programs also require students to complete teaching experiences and many doctoral candidates obtain graduate assistantships that involve on-campus duties. Candidates are required to compose a research-based dissertation conducted under the strict supervision of a faculty advisor. Ph.D. candidates must also defend their dissertation before a panel of experts. Some students may attend and/or present their work at various professional conferences.

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