PhD Program

The PhD program of the Department of History offers individually tailored programs with opportunities for transnational and comparative study. Students design their own programs of study in consultation with their advisors in accord with their own intellectual and research interests. Through a mix of directed readings, independent study, and research seminars, students aim to balance understanding of particulars with an enriched sense of contexts.

Courses should be selected with an eye to the broadest possible coverage within fields. This is particularly important in the light of current academic employment opportunities; i.e., institutions of higher learning increasingly insist that their junior faculty be equipped to teach general survey courses in American, European, or transnational history, and also in at least one topical field. It is not unusual for individuals hired in an American history position to be asked to teach Western or World Civilization, and vice versa. Hence the dangers of overly narrow specialization are apparent, and students may be encouraged to take a course beyond those required. It is the responsibility of the student and of the student’s advisor to arrange the program with these facts in mind.

With the approval of the director of graduate studies,students may have two co-advisors from the department who share equally in supervising the dissertation. The development of a dissertation topic should begin early in the student’s program. This will enable the student to shape the work in seminars in such a way as to lay the foundation for the dissertation.

For more information about the PhD program and to see a list of requirements, see the PhD handbook.


PhD handbook for graduate students prior to incoming class of 2020.