PhD in Atlantic History

Program overview

Graduate from the nation's first and longest-standing PhD program in Atlantic History. With expertise in research and innovation in teaching, our program rewards doctoral students with a strong foundation in the history of the Atlantic world from pre-colonial times to the modern era. Achieve an average time-to-degree of 5.6 years — way below the national average of 8 years.

The department is complemented by other programs in related fields within the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs.

The doctoral program in History offers students opportunities to concentrate on Latin America, Africa, the United States, or Europe. Since the mid-fifteenth century, the Atlantic has provided the corridor for fundamental exchanges of peoples, technologies and ideas, defining and challenging communities across wide spans of time and space. The Atlantic Civilization focus of our doctoral program explores the many dimensions of these exchanges. Capitalizing on the department's notably strong resources and faculty, the program is designed around a curriculum that emphasizes the comparative framework of the Atlantic experience while reflecting the vitality of a cross-disciplinary approach.

Graduate students are encouraged to present papers at professional conferences and to publish their ongoing research. By way of example, several participants in a recent American History research seminar had their papers published in the edited volume Global Protestant Missions earning themselves a valuable publication credit in a reputable press!


The FIU Catalog provides the most complete and accurate degree description and requirements. Select the year of admission, then Graduate, then Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, then History for more information.

  • Credit requirements

    The PhD requires 45 credit hours beyond the master's in history, or 75 credit hours beyond the bachelor's. In both cases, 15 of the credits are dissertation credits earned after passing comprehensive examinations and advancing to candidacy.

    Entering with a BA

    Required credit hours for individuals entering with a BA are distributed in the following manner:

    • 3 credits of HIS 6059 Historical Methods
    • 6 credits in a two-semester Atlantic Civilization research seminar
    • 24 credits within a cultural concentration area, such as United States, Latin America, Europe, or Africa (including 6 taken in a two-semester research seminar)
    • 15 credits outside of the cultural concentration, which can be taken either in History (3 of which must be in a comparative course such as HIS or WOH, excluding Historical Methods and seminars in Atlantic Civilization)
    • 12 credits in elective courses, of which 9 may be outside the department
    • 15 credits in dissertation research

    Total: 75 credit hours

    Entering with an MA in History

    Course requirements for students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in History are as follows:

    • HIS 6059 (Historical Methods), 3 credits. If HIS 6059 or an equivalent class from another institution has been taken previously, then 3 credits of comparative history (HIS or WOH) should be taken in lieu.
    • Readings and Research in Atlantic Civilization (HIS 6906 and HIS 6918), 6 credits.
    • 15 credits are required in the student’s core culture area to be chosen from the United States, Latin America and Caribbean, Africa, or Europe, including at least 6 credits in a research seminar. If, however, students did not have at least 12 credits in their area of concentration in their MA, they must take an additional 3-6 credits in their area of concentration in lieu of the elective and comparative history requirements
    • 6 credits outside core culture area or of comparative history.
    • A minimum of 15 credits of dissertation research.

    Total: 45 credit hours

    With approval of the Graduate Program Director, students entering with an M.A. may transfer up to 30 credits into the Ph.D. program. Transferred credits cannot be used to satisfy the two research seminars or the Historical Methods requirements. 

  • Comprehensive exams

    Courses form part of the student's development in the field, factual and interpretive, in preparation for the comprehensive written and oral examinations to qualify for doctoral candidacy. A minimum of 27 credits of residency (e.g., three semesters for full-time students) is expected prior to filing for the qualifying examinations. The student may, in consultation with the faculty, decide that more work is necessary before the exams are attempted. The standard course load of 9 credits per semester means that the qualifying examinations will usually be administered near the end of the second year of residency for students entering with an MA, or at the end of the third year for students entering with a BA. For more information about the exams, visit Resources.

  • Language requirements

    Thorough knowledge of one foreign language and reading knowledge of another are required of all students. Alternatively, students may demonstrate knowledge of one language and competency in social science quantitative skills. Language requirements vary, according to the major fields. In cases where the dissertation will be in the history of the United States or English-speaking countries, one language plus the quantitative skill is sufficient. In Latin American history, Spanish and Portuguese are expected. Students should check with the department's Graduate Program Director to determine which languages are appropriate for their program of studies.

Ideally situated at the crossroads between Latin America and the United States, Florida International University provides an excellent environment to study Atlantic and World History. The Department of History's doctoral program in Atlantic History includes top experts who are very knowledgeable about the region.

Adam M. Silvia PhD 2016

Combined MA/PhD

The Department offers combined MA/PhD programs with African and African Diaspora Studies, Asian Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Highly qualified graduate students can complete the MA in an interdisciplinary area studies or professional field in route to the PhD in History. Students interested in these joint degrees must apply to both programs and meet admission requirements for each. The combined degree option is available through the online application system.

  • MA in African and African Diaspora Studies/PhD in History

    MA in African and African Diaspora Studies/PhD in History
    This program will train doctoral students within the discipline of Atlantic History while giving them area studies expertise in African and African Diaspora Studies in order to help them stay competitive in seeking careers with an international focus in today’s global, cultural, and intellectual environment. In tandem, these two programs can offer students an unusually close fit and remarkably beneficial synthesis in interdisciplinary approaches to both the Atlantic world and the African diasporic experience.

  • MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies/PhD in History

    MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies/PhD in History
    Capitalizing on the intellectual affinities between the graduate programs in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and in Atlantic History, the program allows students to enroll simultaneously in both programs. The MA program provides a multi-disciplinary perspective on the region as well as deep expertise on the region’s history, culture and political economy, while the PhD Program in Atlantic History is aimed at honing students’ skills in historical methods while training them to approach individual nations and regions of Latin America and the Caribbean as sites of broader exchanges along the Atlantic corridor.

  • MA in Asian Studies/PhD in History

    MA in Asian Studies/PhD in History
    This interdisciplinary program is designed for students who wish to pursue advanced studies of historical and contemporary trends. The degree provides students with a strong foundation in the traditional cultures and modern socio-economic societies of Asia, with an emphasis on East Asia.


The application and review process takes place once a year for admission in the Fall semester. The doctoral application deadline is January 1.