Doctorate of Philosophy in History

Background of the Program

Bahir Dar University was founded in May 2000 when the then Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute and Bahir Dar Teachers College were united. While the Polytechnic Institute was established in June 1963, the Bahir Dar Teachers College, formerly known as the Academy of Pedagogy, came into existence in 1972. Following the inauguration of Bahir Dar University, there has been a tremendous expansion in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Department of History is one of the academic units under the Faculty of Social Sciences. The department came into existence in 1992 as one of the academic units of the then Bahir Dar Teachers College. Between 1992 and 2001, it had been offering courses for Diploma students. Following the inauguration of the Bahir Dar University in May 2000, all diploma regular programmes were upgraded to a degree level. Since then, the Department has been training degree students majoring in history and minoring either in geography or English. Then in 2009, the Department launched its graduate program focusing on the Nile Basin and the Horn of Africa region. At the moment, the department is ready to launch a PhD program.


So far, Addis Ababa University has been the only higher education institute offering doctoral degree in history. Each year, the Department of History at Addis Ababa University has been admitting a few number of PhD students and could not satisfy the growing demand of applicants. The History Program at Bahir Dar University believes that it is in a position to launch a PhD program in History. At the moment, the Department has one associate professor, five assistant professors. Once the PhD program is launched, professors from Addis Ababa University will also be invited to offer courses and act as co-advisors.

 List of Courses

Course Title

Course Code

Credit Hours

Advanced Historical Methodology

Hist. 701


Issues on Medieval Ethiopia

Hist. 711


Seminar on Contemporary Ethiopia and the Horn

Hist. 721


Topics on Ethiopian Economy and Society 

Hist 731


Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Africa

Hist. 741


PhD Dissertation

Hist. 801






Applicants to the PhD program are required to have M.A degree in History with a “good” and above grade in MA thesis. In addition, the applicants should pass the entrance exam set by the department of history. In addition, they should fulfill all requirements set by the university, including proof of financial support.


The grading system of the program will be as per Bahir Dar University’s grading system.

Assessment and Defense

Students will be assessed through seminar papers and presentations. This will be made based on the performance of the candidate in each semester.


The student will be assigned advisor/s in his second year during which he will required to identify a research problem that will develop into a feasible proposal. Based on predefined plan of action, the student is required to report the development of his research activity (proposal and thesis development).The advisor will assist the candidate in proposal development, plan of action and thesis writing so as to complete the study in time.

Proposal Defense

In his second year the student/candidate will seat for proposal defense. In the presence of the advisor and examiners, the student will presence about the essence and prospects of the proposed research work. The proposal will be accepted if there is unanimous among team of examiners. Otherwise, the proposal will not accept. The student may rework it or develop other proposal.

Thesis Defense

PhD dissertation in history should be an original scholarship that will have significant contribution for historical study and historiography. The length of the monograph will be on average between 350 and 600 pages. With the approval and declaration of the advisor on the completion of the study, the student will submit copies of the final version of the dissertation in appropriate form to be sent for the examining committee. The date of submission is strictly applied. After submission, date of defense is scheduled and board of examiners appointed. The examination board will consist the candidate’s advisor, internal examiner and external examiner. The external examiner will be outside the department. The advisor will chair the examination but he does not have voting. The examining board reports one of the following results: