What Can You Do With a PHD in History?
A Ph.D. in history is the terminal degree in the field and can take up to seven years of study beyond any undergraduate studies. This article details the history Ph.D. and what graduates may do with this degree.
History Ph.D.: Overview
Earning a Ph.D. in history generally requires between five and ten years of graduate study. Because history is such a broad subject, students looking to earn their Ph.D. will likely have to choose a specialty of history in which to earn this advanced degree.
Some potential Ph.D. programs in history include American history, ancient history, medieval Europe, modern Europe, Jewish history, East Asian history, women's history and Latin American history. The specific subject of history the student chooses may be based upon his or her undergraduate or master's degree work.
Within each history major, students will be required to study the culture, politics, foreign policy, potential colonialism, reformations, gender theory and writings of the place and time the student chooses. Students may also be required to work as teaching assistants during their Ph.D. work, which involves assisting professors in teaching courses to undergraduate students, as well as completing a doctoral dissertation. The doctoral dissertation is a research report summarizing a specific piece of work the student has chosen within their history specialization. The student often works on this with an advisor, who is usually a university professor, over the course of his or her studies.
Careers for Graduates with a History Ph.D.
Most students earning their Ph.D. in history go onto become professors at the university level. Professors are required to both teach and conduct research on behalf of the university and then present that research at conferences with other professors.
Professors may advance in both pay and standing within the university by publishing their research work in a university press and independent journals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the medial annual earnings of professors as of May, 2008 were $58,830 and the American Association of University Professors found in a 2008-2009 survey that full-time university faculty averaged $79,439.
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