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Graduate Studies


Since it awarded its first master’s degree, the Department of History has been an integral part of the University of Tennessee and a major graduate program in the College of Arts and Sciences, offering doctoral degrees for almost forty years. The department is actively engaged in graduate education with a current enrollment of approximately sixty graduate students.

Our program is built on individual mentoring and direction. Each student works closely with a professor who guides and directs the student’s course of study of specialized fields in history. Director of Graduate Studies Tore Olsson assists prospective and current students in choosing their mentors, in dealing with administrative matters, and in a variety of other ways.

Our goal is to help students become outstanding historians and capable history professors through a challenging graduate experience. Courses in the graduate program emphasize critical reading of historical and theoretical literature, rigorous writing exercises, and innovative and comprehensive research methods. The students draw upon the talents of a distinguished and accomplished faculty to expand their research and teaching horizons. Students’ research efforts are enhanced by the outstanding resources of the UT Libraries, which hold more than 2 million volumes. A collegial community of graduate students also supports its individual members through lunchtime seminars, writing workshops, and social organizations.

We also encourage comparative and interdisciplinary study. To prepare our graduate students for college teaching, the department offers assistantships and requires doctoral students to complete a teaching field in world history.

The Department of History offers both the MA degree and the PhD. The master’s degree is awarded in Premodern Europe, Modern Europe, or United States. PhDs are awarded in specialized fields in US History and European History.

Additional information about the Graduate Program in History and UT is available at the university’s Graduate School website. Questions about the program can be directed to the graduate coordinator at or 865-974-0399, or to the Director of Graduate Studies Tore Olsson at For further information about the graduate program, please refer to the Graduate Handbook.