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Doctor of Philosophy in History; Concentration in European Culture and Society

The Ph.D. Program in History

The three areas of concentration are: North American West; North American Culture and Society; and European Culture and Society.

  • The North American Culture and Society Ph.D. Program
  • European Culture and Society Ph.D. Program
  • The North American West Ph.D. Program

Application forms and fees, official transcripts, test results and assistantship applications are submitted to the Graduate College.

General Information

The History Department's Ph.D. program was formed in 1991. It embodies the ultimate expression of the Department's mission to generate and disseminate new knowledge through research, analysis, and publication. The three areas of concentration are: North American West; North American Culture and Society; and European Culture and Society. The program seeks to provide graduates with the capacity for original research and thought, and the qualifications for employment in secondary schools, community colleges and universities. Our first graduate received her degree in 1996.

The Ph.D. program is a more specialized course of study designed to train students to teach and write history at an advanced level. Seminars instruct students in the skills required for original scholarship. The doctoral program has three areas of concentration: North American West; North American Culture and Society; and European Culture and Society. The concentration in the history of Culture and Society emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to European and North American history. The study of cultural forms, practices, and events offers the opportunity to explore issues in politics, economics and social life from a national and transnational perspective. The Department has specialists in nineteenth-century American cultural history, twentieth-century American cultural history, American religious history, urban history, gender history, the Atlantic World, as well as the intellectual and cultural history of classical antiquity, medieval Europe, eighteenth-century Britain, eighteenth-century France, nineteenth-century Russia, twentieth-century Britain and twentieth-century Germany, Near Eastern and Islamic history, and colonial Latin America. A large microfilm collection, archives house in Special Collections in UNLV's Lied Library, and a growing collection of digital databases provide important resources for student research. The concentration in the North American West emphasizes a broad approach to the study of the region. The unique geography, social characteristics and demography of the North American West place it at the heart of many issues facing the United States today. The study of its economic, environmental, ethnic, racial and cultural past offers the opportunity to explore not only themes that pertain to Nevada and the Southwest, but also those that address the region and nation as a whole. The West's political and social systems, its rural, urban, and industrial sectors, its controversies over water, and its distribution of wealth make it an important focus of scholarly interest. With specialists in, environmental history, urban history and the built environment, American Indian history, the Latino/ahistory, borderlands, ethnohistory, and history of Mexico., The faculty collectively provides both depth and breadth in its coverage of the field, encourages the study of diverse cultures, and interdisciplinary work in Western history. UNLV contains numerous resources for the study of the region. A large microfilm collection with strength in western newspapers and in American Indian, women's, labor, ethnic and environmental history is available for students, as are extensive local and Nevada history collections.

Doctoral students take a specialized course of study in preparation for comprehensive exams in geographical, chronological, topical, and methodological fields to assure a firm grounding in broad contexts and to cultivate expertise in specialized areas. The culmination of the degree is the dissertation: a major written contribution to the field of history based on original research, worthy of publication.

There are four types of courses: colloquia, readings course devoted to mastering the historical literature in particular fields; seminars, dedicated to original research work and writing; and historiography, courses in the history of historical writing and historical theory and method; and independent study. Students are encouraged to develop a course plan that embraces the interdisciplinary strength of the faculty
The doctoral program trains graduates to think analytically about the past, conduct original research, and to convey their knowledge through clear, professional prose. The doctoral program qualifies graduates for employment in four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, secondary schools, and in a variety of other institutional settings.

Students in the doctoral program are eligible to apply for graduate assistantships and opportunities for part-time teaching in the University and Community College System of Nevada on a competitive basis. The Department also supports graduate student research and professional development with a competitive grants program. In addition, the Graduate College offers summer research funding on a competitive basis.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Ph.D. program in History, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the content of an extensive body of scholarly material in a major field defined by historical period, geographic region or regions, or theme, e.g. History and Memory.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the content of an extensive body of scholarly material in a minor field defined by historical period, geographic region or regions, or theme, e.g. History and Memory.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major theoretical and historiographical approaches to their major field.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the role of historians in the construction of the past and the role of contemporary context in shaping the perspectives of historians.
  • Demonstrate the ability examine sources thoroughly, efficiently, and even-handedly within the context of the existing scholarly literature in the field and construct a well ordered, well-argued and well written paper of substantial length. 

Career Possibilities

A degree in history provides students with the skills necessary for success in a wide range of careers and professions ranging from business to law, social services, and education. The department seeks to train majors in the specific skills and knowledge necessary for public school teaching and for graduate student in history or in professional schools. For more information about specific careers and job openings, the UNLV History Department encourages its students to refer to the American Historical Association’s Guide to Careers in History.