Discipline Coordinator

Matthew Osborn, (816) 235-6118 x8, osbornmw@umkc.edu

History faculty who are members of the doctoral faculty.

History is a discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

Note: The discipline-specific requirements listed here are in addition to the requirements listed in Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Application Procedure and Minimum Criteria for Admission and Minimum Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Academic Regulations and Degree Requirements. Please refer to the UMKC History Department website for up-to-date information on the Intedisciplinary Ph.D. program in History.

Discipline-Specific Admission Requirements

Except in unusual circumstances, students who select History as a discipline in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program must begin their work during the fall term. Applications must be received by the School of Graduate Studies no later than January 15. The doctoral faculty of the Department of History will review applications and make their recommendations for admission by the end of February. Applications that are incomplete as of January 15, and completed applications submitted after this deadline, may not be considered until the following year.

Applicants who choose History as their primary discipline, or applicants whose coursework in History will comprise at least 50 percent of the Ph.D. plan of study, must meet the criteria for admission specified by the School of Graduate Studies. In addition, they must:

  1. Possess a master's degree in History or its equivalent.
  2. Have earned a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in graduate courses.

Students who choose History as a co-discipline and whose coursework in History will constitute less than 50 percent of the Ph.D. plan of study must meet the criteria for admission specified by the School of Graduate Studies. In addition, they must fulfill other entrance requirements specified by the doctoral faculty of the Department of History.
1) Co-discipline applicants who have a background in History will be considered as candidates for full admission.
2) Co-discipline applicants who have little or no background in History will normally be considered only as candidates for provisional admission. These applicants, if provisionally admitted, will be required to take a certain number of content courses at either the undergraduate or graduate level, to be determined by the student’s prospective mentor, and maintain a B+ average before being considered for full admission.
All applicants for admission must submit in addition to the requirements specified by the School of Graduate Studies:

  1. A sample of written work.
  2. A brief statement of academic and professional goals.
  3. A 1,000-word essay that specifies a research topic, demonstrates its interdisciplinary nature and shows how historical methods and approaches would be utilized.

Primary and Co-discipline applicants granted provisional admission will receive notification of deficiencies and of the conditions that must be met before full admission can be considered.

The doctoral faculty of the Department of History, in consultation with the History faculty as a whole, makes recommendations to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies on each application for admission. These recommendations reflect the majority vote of the doctoral faculty.

Applicants are advised that meeting the criteria of the School of Graduate Studies and the Department of History does not automatically result in admission to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program. When making recommendations to the School of Graduate Studies, the History faculty considers other factors as well, particularly the availability of faculty qualified to work in the applicant's area of interest and the availability of library resources and research materials.

Alternate Admission Criteria

In exceptional cases, candidates who do not meet either the School of Graduate Studies' or the History Department's minimum requirements for admission may be admitted under alternate criteria. The doctoral faculty of the department have adopted the following alternate criteria, one or more of which will be used to assess the applicant's ability: satisfactory performance in 5500- or above-level classes taken in the department's master's degree program; positive, written recommendations of our faculty willing to work with the applicant who have evaluated his or her previous work; satisfactory completion of specified courses in the department before consideration or reconsideration of a candidate's application; publications or comparable professional achievements related to the study of History.

The Plan of Study

If full admission is granted, the student who chooses History as a discipline must satisfy the residency requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, and must fulfill the course requirements of the Ph.D. plan of study as prepared by the student and his or her advisor(s) and approved by the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program Director.

A student whose primary discipline is History will be required to list at least 18 hours of graduate-level history courses (exclusive of dissertation credits) on the plan of study. These will include: 3 hours of HISTORY 5581GR (How To History I) if this course or its equivalent has not been taken before; 1 hour of History 5582B (How to History II B); 3 graduate colloquia; and at least one graduate-level research seminar.  The remainder of the program must be in courses numbered 5500 or above.

Students for whom History is a co-discipline will be required to take, at the minimum, 15 hours of graduate-level history courses. These will include: 3 hours of HISTORY 5581GR (How To History I); 1 hour of History 5582B (How To History II B); two graduate colloquia; and one graduate-level research seminar. In exceptional or unusual circumstances, some of these hours may be waived upon petition to the student's supervisory committee.

Any student who switches disciplines in the course of his or her graduate career, either adding history as the primary or co-discipline, or changing History from the co-discipline to the primary discipline, must fulfill all of the requisite doctoral requirements in History for that level (e.g., number of course hours, distribution requirements, exams).

Requirements for Comprehensive Examinations

The School of Graduate Studies guidelines for the Comprehensive Examination can be found here.

The History Department requires that the Comprehensive Examination of a student listing History as a discipline include both a written and an oral component. The History members of the supervisory Committee will determine the structure and duration of the History component of the Comprehensive Exam.

For students with History as the Primary discipline, there is a list of Doctoral Fields appended below. The written comprehensives will consist of two examinations, the first from a Chronological/National field; the second from a Topical/Interdisciplinary field.

For Co-discipline students, the written comprehensives will consist of questions drawn from one of the Chronological/National fields or one of the Topical/Interdisciplinary fields appended below.

For both primary and co-discipline students, it is assumed that each examination will include a historiographical component.

In the oral examination conducted by the supervisory committee, both primary and co-discipline students will be expected to answer questions of an interdisciplinary nature.

A student with History as either a primary or co-discipline is considered to have passed the Comprehensive Examination if the History member/s of the examining committee vote that the candidate passes, and if no more than 20 percent of the examining committee vote to fail the student. If failure is reported, the examining committee will either recommend termination as a Ph.D. student or suggest additional work or other remedial measures. Furthermore, a student who has failed may not take a second examination for at least 12 weeks. Failure of a second Comprehensive Examination shall automatically preclude candidacy at this institution.

Dissertation Requirements

A student for whom History is a discipline must meet the requirements of the History Department for the discipline, as well as those of the School of Graduate Studies. On a Ph.D. plan of study, where History is the primary discipline, there must be a minimum of 12 credits in HISTORY 5699R (dissertation hours).

The final examination in defense of the dissertation is open to all members of the doctoral faculty, who may attend as interested observers. The supervisory committee and its chair will determine the format and procedures of the defense. The date, time and location must be announced and published at least two weeks before each final examination takes place.

For a student with History as a discipline, this examination may be conducted only after the dissertation has been approved by the History member/s of the supervisory committee.

The defense of the dissertation is approved when a majority of the supervisory committee, including the History member/s of the committee, recommends approval and signs the Report of Results of Final Doctoral Examination form. Within 48 hours of the defense, the supervisory committee chair will report the results of the final dissertation examination in writing to the candidate.

Language Requirements

Those students for whom History comprises their Primary discipline must complete a competency examination in at least one foreign language that will be relevant to their dissertation research and/or future career. The language exam format will be determined by the student's supervisory committee and will be assessed by a member of the department of foreign languages and literatures or another expert in the field. Students can also choose to complete two years of undergraduate language study in lieu of a challenge exam. Students with research interests that require competency in more than one language will be encouraged to be certified in relevant languages, but will be examined at the discretion of the supervisory committee. Students who do not require a foreign language competency to complete their dissertation research may be exempted from this requirement, but only at the discretion of the supervisory committee.

Those students with History as their co-discipline will ordinarily not be required to demonstrate language competency unless their research topic requires it. It is strongly recommended, however, that all Interdisciplinary Ph.D. students choosing History as either primary or co-discipline should pursue some kind of language study or equivalent research skill, such as in quantitative methods.

Retention in the Doctoral Program

A doctoral student must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average in each semester of coursework taken at UMKC. A person receiving a failing grade in a class will normally not be retained in the doctoral program. In exceptional cases, such a student may petition to be placed on probation for one semester.

A student who falls below a 3.0 grade-point average, or whose work is deemed unsatisfactory at any stage of doctoral work by the History member/s of the supervisory committee, with the concurrence of a majority of the resident doctoral faculty of the department, may be declared ineligible for further study.

History Department Policies Regarding Doctoral Faculty

No doctoral student shall be permitted to form a supervisory committee on which the only History faculty members are former faculty at UMKC or adjunct faculty members. Refer to the website of the School of Graduate Studies for a list of current doctoral faculty.

Ordinarily, emeritus professors of doctoral faculty status in History shall be allowed to serve on doctoral committees for no more than five years after retirement. Such service shall only be on committees that the required faculty member was already on at the time of retirement. Emeritus faculty members can have their doctoral status extended beyond five years only if at least two-thirds of the members of the History doctoral faculty vote to approve this.

Emeritus professors in History cannot chair dissertation committees. They can, however, co-chair with the approval of a majority of the regular resident doctoral faculty.

The History department adheres to the guidelines of the American Historical Association with regard to student ethics and the responsible conduct of research. The AHA Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct can be found at http://www.historians.org/pubs/Free/ProfessionalStandards.cfm.

Doctoral Fields

Areas Chronological/National Topical/Interdisciplinary
Europe • Ancient Europe • Area Focus: Ancient Greece & Rome; Medieval Britain, Early Modern Britain & Modern Britain; Modern Germany
• Medieval Europe • Global Interactions
• Early Modern Europe • Material Culture & Everyday Life
• Modern Europe • History of Science, Technology & Medicine (STEM)
• State Formation & National Identity
• Women, Gender & Family
Latin America • Encounter & Colonial • Area Focus: Mexico; Central America; Cuba; Puerto Rico; the Southern Cone
• Post-Independence • Global Interactions
• Identity & Culture
• State Formation & National Identity
• Women, Gender & Family
United States • Early America • African-American History
• Modern America - 1800 to the Present • Area Focus: South; West; Midwest
• Borderlands
• Children & Youth
• Civil Rights
• Environmental History
• Global Interactions
• History of Science, Technology & Medicine (STEM)
• Identity & Culture
• Latinx
• Material Culture & Visual Culture
• Public History
• Sexuality
• Urban
• Women, Gender & Family