Doctorate in History (PhD)
Our PhD program offers opportunities for students to study many areas of world history, building on the department's special strengths in American and European history. Students take a mix of thematic seminars covering broad historical questions as well as colloquia providing intensive study of regional and national histories.
Students also engage in primary-source research from the time they arrive on campus, working independently with the help of faculty advisers.
All students admitted to the PhD program receive tuition waivers and fellowships renewable for a total of five years. After the first year, students will begin an apprenticeship in college teaching, receive formal training in pedagogy and work closely with faculty mentors.
After four semesters of preparation as a teaching fellow, students will also have the chance to create and teach their own courses. Students will teach for only five of their 10 semesters of fellowship, with assignments matched as closely as possible to their own professional objectives.
Why Earn a PhD in History?
- Academic opportunities: The PhD is of course a requirement for any permanent academic position in higher education.
- Nonacademic careers: The doctoral degree enhances your qualifications for nonacademic careers (and higher salaries) in public and private organizations, from service in the federal government to the private sector.
- Transferable skills: The emphasis on research, writing and public speaking will give you skills that are critical for every career path.
It is certainly possible to earn a PhD at many fine institutions, but there are compelling reasons why you should consider studying at Brandeis:
- First-class training: The History program is a highly selective program that trains students in the broad field of history, problems in historiography and critical thinking, research and writing skills.
- Dedicated mentoring: Brandeis is a small research university with an emphasis on small classes and genuine mentorship; each student has the opportunity to work closely with a distinguished scholar.
- Competitive stipends: All students admitted to the PhD program receive tuition waivers and fellowships renewable for a total of five years.
- Collegial learning atmosphere: All students are admitted with the same full fellowship package, a policy that promotes cooperative and collaborative learning.
- Intellectual diversity: Brandeis has an array of graduate programs that complement and overlap with the graduate program in history, including politics, Near Eastern and Judaic studies, sociology, and English and American literature. Faculty in the African and Afro-American studies and American studies departments play key roles in the program. The program provides traditional disciplinary training with a comparative perspective that is fundamental to a broader understanding of the issues, patterns and dynamics of change.
- Career support: The Office of Career Services helps to identify opportunities, design an effective resume and prepare for interviews.
- Library resources: Library resources include our own Goldfarb Library, a collection of exceptional strength in American history. In addition, the Boston Library Consortium allows graduate students to use books in major libraries throughout the area. Graduate students have full access to many nearby manuscript repositories. Brandeis is within easy commuting distance of some of the very best public and private libraries in the United States, including the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library and the American Antiquarian Society.
- Boston: Brandeis students partake of the rich intellectual and cultural environment of the Boston area — from a plethora of events at area universities to the array of museums and other institutions in metropolitan Boston. The Boston Area Graduate History Network is a recently formed consortium of graduate history programs. It facilitates cross-registration in courses offered by different institutions, and publicizes seminars, talks and other events of interest to students of history.
Admission is by vote of the Executive Committee. The deadline for a completed doctoral application to the History program is Jan. 15.
To apply, visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website and complete an electronic application. The application requires a writing sample, transcripts, letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination scores and a personal statement.