Program in History
The two major fields of specialization are Cultural/ Intellectual
History of Europe and the United States, and History of the U.S.
Application forms and fees, official transcripts, test results
and assistantship applications are submitted to the Graduate College.
The History Department's Ph.D. program, begun in 1991, embodies
the ultimate expression of the Department's mission to generate
and disseminate new knowledge through research, reflection, and
publication. The two major field of specialization are Cultural/Intellectual
History of Europe and the United States, and the History of the
U.S. West. 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 two major field of specialization:
Cultural/Intellectual History and the History of the U.S. West.
Cultural/Intellectual History emphasizes an interdisciplanary approach
to European and 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, and the intellectual and cultural
history of the American West 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. 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 History of
the U.S. West emphasizes a broad approach to the study of the region.
The unique geography, social characteristics and demography of
the 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 tourism, post-industrial society, environmental history, Native
American history, the Latino/a experience, historiography, cultural
and intellectual history, regionalism, and public history, the
core 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 Native American, 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 and/or topical
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.
Courses are a mixture of colloquia (courses devoted to mastering
the historical literature in particular fields) and seminars (courses
dedicated to research work and writing) along with courses in historiography
(the history of historical writing), historical methods and independent
study. Students are encouraged to develop a course plan that reflects
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
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.
Thirty students are currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program.