Two historical fields—a major and minor—from the following list form the core of the doctoral degree. Alternatively, students may elect to pursue the dual concentration in Cultural History and one of the geographic major fields listed below; students enrolled in this program do not complete an inside minor.
We have a field-by-field list of resources available at the IUB campus, but they are also listed here for the sake of convenience.
Geographic major + minor fields
- African History
- Ancient History
- Asian History
- British History
- Early Modern European History
- East European History
- Latin American History
- Medieval History
- Middle Eastern History
- Modern European History
- Russian History
- United States History
- World History
Thematic Major + Minor Fields
- African Diaspora History
- Cultural History (available for double-major)
- History of Gender + Sexuality
- Jewish History
Thematic minor fields
- Family History
- History of Medicine
- History of Philanthropy
- Historical Teaching and Practice
These guidelines will apply to all fields. They do allow for a degree of flexibility and do not include any reference to the content of the exam. Each field also describes what they expect of major and inside minor field examinees for the oral exam as well as specific guidelines for the prospectus. The GAC agrees that these statements should contain no references to numbers of books. Generally speaking the new exam format envisions a process of negotiation and discussion between examiners and examinee to craft an appropriate exam.
Field-by-field exam requirements are available in the Student Portal
The exam committee will consist of two or three major field examiners, one or two inside minor field examiners, and one outside minor field examiner. The major and inside minor field members will represent fields from the History Department list; the outside minor examiner will represent a department or program other than History. The outside field representative may, at his or her discretion, waive participation. All examiners must be IU faculty members. The same committee presides over the oral exam and the prospectus defense.
The oral exam will run for no more than three hours. The major field examiners will have no more than two hours for their part of the exam. The inside and outside minor fields, combined, will have no more than one hour. All convened examiners should participate in the whole of the exam. In conference prior to the exam the examiners should determine the order of the exam and how best to organize the time. The examination will be tape recorded. The examination committee will provide the graduate secretary with written comments describing the student’s performance on the oral examination.
Defense of the Dissertation Prospectus
For the dissertation prospectus the graduate school requires a substantial piece of writing taking the form of a grant proposal. It should explain the potential significance of the proposed dissertation project and place it in historiographical context. It should include a bibliography. Individual fields will provide specific guidelines. The examinee should consult with, at least, his or her primary adviser regarding preparation of the prospectus. The defense should take place between one week and six months following the oral examination at a time when all examiners can participate. No later than one week prior to the defense, the prospectus should be submitted to the graduate secretary and to the examination committee members. The graduate secretary will make available paper copies of the prospectus for whomever is interested. The graduate secretary will make an announcement of the defense to history faculty and graduate students and will make arrangements for a room large enough to accommodate whoever would like to come. The examination committee will provide the graduate secretary with written comments describing the student’s performance on the prospectus defense.
Failed Exams and Defenses
As stated in the University Graduate School Bulletin, students have two chances to pass each part of the qualifying exam. No prospectus defense will be held until the oral exam has been passed. Should the student, having passed the oral exam, fail to produce a prospectus within the allotted time he or she may have to retake the entire exam. Should the student, having passed the oral exam, fail the prospectus defense, he or she will have four more months to successfully defend the prospectus. Should the student fail that second time, the DGS will use his/her discretion in determining whether to terminate the student’s program at that point or make further arrangements. See the “Termination of Enrolment in the Doctoral Program” section of the University Graduate School Bulletin for the department’s overall policy on this issue.
(Formerly Preparing Future Faculty)
The History Department prepares students for employment as professional historians. Training students for careers in teaching is an important focus of the graduate program in history. The majority of our students plan to teach at a university or liberal arts college. We offer support in the form of pedagogy courses as well as workshops designed to assist students in preparation to teach. For more than two decades the Indiana University History Department has been at the forefront of the movement to prepare graduate students to become college teachers. Graduate students in our program have the opportunity to explore the rapidly expanding scholarship on teaching and learning history through three graduate courses: Teaching College History, Teaching World History and Teaching U.S. History. These courses expose students to pedagogical theories and issues in the field. Students are given assistance with course preparation, lecturing, and exam creation. Each student will prepare a syllabus, exams, and other course materials for a course in his or her field. Graduate students may also choose to pursue a minor in Historical Teaching and Practice.
Faculty from our department are making important contributions to the development of this field. They have delivered papers on learning history at national and international conferences, have contributed articles to this growing literature and are participating in the creation of an international society for the teaching and learning of history. The department has received a large grant in a competition sponsored by the I.U. Dean of Faculties Office that will allow it to undertake two projects: a web site that will coordinate the efforts of historians throughout the world to develop a more systematic understanding of how learning can be increased in college classrooms and an inventory of the kind of skills required of the undergraduates in our upper-level courses that will serve as the basis for new attempts to model these skills more effectively in our lower level classes.
Graduate students in our department have access to what may be the most systematic program for exploring the scholarship of teaching and learning history in the nation. Former students report that what they have learned in these classes has been a key element in their successful job searches and that they have begun their careers as college teachers with a solid foundation of knowledge about what works in the history classroom.
Graduate students in history at Indiana University have a variety of other opportunities for more practical experience and instruction in college teaching. Graduate students in our department receive practical training in teaching through their close work with faculty as Associate Instructors and Course Assistants. Associate Instructors lead discussion sections attached to large undergraduate courses and grade student work. Course Assistants grade student work in large undergraduate courses. The department also hires students to develop and teach summer courses for undergraduates, and sometimes students have the opportunity to teach their own courses during the regular academic year. Indiana University's Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships provide students with the chance to teach at other IU campuses and receive mentoring from the full-time faculty at these campuses. The Department also regularly helps students find part-time teaching experiences at other nearby institutions. Indiana University's Campus Instructional Consulting office offers a busy schedule of workshops on teaching discussion sections and lecture classes, grading, etc.