Ph.D. Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in History is the terminal degree in the discipline. It prepares students to become professional scholars, college and university teachers and independent researchers in private or public research institutions.

The program begins with several years of course work, primarily reading colloquia and writing seminars where students sharpen their skills in critical reading/thinking, discussion, primary source analysis, and analytical writing.  

Areas of Focus

We welcome doctoral applications in one of our department's key areas of focus: Rustbelt Studies, History of Everyday Life, or States of Violence. Students take a series of comprehensive exam testing their knowledge of this area of focus, their area of geographical focus, and their specific project focus.


After completing their comprehensive exams, students devote their attention to the dissertation, a significant piece of original scholarship with the potential for publication.  The Ph.D. is awarded after completion of the written dissertation and its successful oral defense.