The Department of History offers graduate work leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with concentrations in Ancient history, East Asian history, European history, History of Science, Latin American history, Middle Eastern history, and United States history. A Master of Arts degree in history is also offered, with concentrations in Chinese Studies, European history, History of Science, Judaic Studies, and United States history.
The duration of the Ph.D. program is five to eight years. University and departmental regulations stipulate that the maximum tenure of graduate study at UCSD is eight years, while seven years is the limit for receiving any type of university financial support. Normally, during the first two years, students participate in courses, write two research papers, complete language requirements, define major and minor fields of study, and take at least one minor field examination. In the third year the student normally completes all outstanding minor field and language requirements, defines a dissertation topic, and passes a qualifying examination in the major field, at which time the student officially advances to candidacy for the Ph.D. Advancement to candidacy must occur at least before the end of the fourth year, and in some programs, such as Ancient History and East Asian Studies, extra language requirements may make fourth year advancement the norm. Most students spend their fourth year doing field research, and their fifth and sixth years writing their dissertation, although exact time to completion of the degree varies depending on funding, preparation, and the requirements of the specific project.