History PhD Program Rankings: List of Top Schools

Read about the top universities that offer history Ph.D. programs. Compare and contrast school rankings, specialization options and university locations to make an informed decision on how you'd like to pursue your education.

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School Overviews

Learn more about Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in history at two top-ranked universities. At these schools, you may choose a field of interest in areas such as American history, women's history, world history, African American history or modern European history. These programs can last 5-6 years, and completion of a dissertation is required. Read below to discover more about the schools.

Top Doctoral Graduate Programs in History

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In 2010, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill was named first in Kiplinger's ranking of the best value public colleges, and the school placed fifth in U.S. News & World Report's ranking of top public schools that same year. In 2010, UNC was 12th in U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best graduate schools for history.

The history department's Ph.D. program offers research fields in subjects such as ancient history, women's history, military history, global history and U.S. history. A research dissertation is required to complete the program, and candidates must demonstrate either a minimal proficiency in two foreign languages or an advanced proficiency in one foreign language.

2. Brown University in Providence, RI

In 2010, U.S. News & World Report placed this Ivy League university 16th in its ranking of best national universities. The magazine also ranked Brown University 17th in its list of top colleges for graduate studies in history.

The mission of the university's doctoral program in history is to train candidates to be teachers and researchers. Therefore, students are required to be teaching assistants for at least three years during the 5- to 6-year duration of the program. Doctoral candidates choose one major and two minor fields of interest. Students must also complete a dissertation and a foreign language requirement according to their major area of research. A dual Ph.D. program in ancient history is also offered jointly by the history and classics departments.

List of Good Schools with Ph.D. Programs in History

School Name Distinction Location
Harvard University Offers joint Ph.D. in History/Juris Doctor program Cambridge, MA
Indiana University - Bloomington Offers 13 geographic major and minor areas of study, four thematic major and minor areas of study, and four thematic minor fields of study (doctoral students choose a major and minor) Bloomington, IN
New York University The Ph.D. program prepares graduates for research and teaching careers New York, NY
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey The school considers applications for part-time doctoral study New Brunswick, NJ
University of California - Berkeley Offers 16 areas of study Berkeley, CA
University of California - Los Angeles Program is offered on a full-time, daytime basis only Los Angeles, CA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Students without a master's degree can fulfill the requirements to earn one as part of the Ph.D. program Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Doctoral applicants with a M.A. from another school must have their thesis reviewed and accepted by UNC before admission to the Ph.D. program Chapel Hill, NC
University of Texas at Austin Bachelor's degree-holders can apply for admission to the Ph.D. program and bypass the M.A. degree Austin, TX
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • American History
        • Asian History
        • Classical Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies
        • History of Science and Technology
        • Museum Studies
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Iowa State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • History of Science and Technology
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Texas include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • History of Science and Technology
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • Historic Preservation
        • History of Science and Technology
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • Ancient Studies
        • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
        • Museum Studies
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
        • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History

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