To encourage flexibility, general requirements are kept to a minimum. For the doctorate, these include: taking seven graduate-level seminars including History 709, Introduction to the Graduate Study of History, and, for Americanists only, History 604, the Colloquium on American History; demonstrating proficiency in two languages other than English; completing the Graduate School's residence requirement of 6 semesters of full-time study at a satisfactory level of accomplishment; teaching for at least one year (normally as a teaching assistant); passing the "Q" examination early in the second semester of study; the written and oral "Admission to Candidacy" examination after completion of formal study (the "A" exam); and completing the doctoral dissertation and defending it in a final examination.
All incoming doctoral students take a proficiency examination in an appropriate foreign language at the beginning of the first term of residence. Those who do not pass the exam enroll in suitable language courses until proficiency is acquired. Proficiency in two foreign languages (or for Americanists, one language and statistics) must be demonstrated before a Ph.D. degree candidate is eligible to take the Admission to Candidacy examination. The Admission to Candidacy exam is partly oral and partly written and is usually taken in the third year of study.
Incoming Ph.D. students who hold a master's degree from another university must still complete the requirements listed above. No formal transfer credit is given, but the Special Committee normally takes previous graduate work in history into account, which may speed the student's progress toward the doctorate.