Coursework Plan by Semester

The goals of the graduate curriculum are twofold – to maintain the flexibility that has traditionally characterized the program while providing more guidance and structure so that students can take advantage of the intellectual opportunities at Duke.

The requirements specified here are intended to encourage breadth and depth in the first two years. Those two years, though, need to be understood as part of a larger program that directs students toward specific areas of interest. Beginning in the third year, you will turn to more individualized work on your dissertation proposals, in consultation with your advisors and other committee members. Even in the first two years, however, you will focus on your own research interests. Independent study credits, for instance, provide for specialized readings in particular fields. Research seminars, while broadly framed around general topics, also provide an organized venue to pursue and to refine individual research agendas.

Course Plan by Semester/Year

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Year One

HISTORY 701S Research Seminar in History HISTORY 702S Research Seminar in History

2 Readings Colloquia

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that both readings colloquia be organized courses rather than independent studies in the first semester of the first year so that students can make contacts with faculty and other students before beginning more individualized work.

2 Readings Colloquia


1 Readings Colloquia AND 1 Research Seminar

NOTE: One independent study course can be substituted for either a colloquia or a research seminar.

Year Two

HISTORY 703S Focusing on Teaching and Pedagogy

NOTE: In some years, this course may be offered in the spring semester.

2 Readings Colloquia

1 Research Seminar

1 Readings Colloquia

1 Research Seminar

Year Three

HISTORY 704S Focusing on Preparing Portfolios for Preliminary Certification

NOTE: This is a required course focusing on initial preparation for prelims, specifically the dissertation proposal and the work associated with the preliminary field.


Independent studies with committee members, if desired


Independent Study with committee members, if desired Preliminary Portfolio Defense