Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts




The Penn State Department of History offers a small, focused, PhD program designed to prepare students for careers inside or outside academia. Our program admits students in five primary fields, which reflect faculty strength: 1) United States; 2) Latin America; 3) Early Modern Global; 4) China; and 5) Middle East. By admitting only a few students in these five fields, the department can focus its resources on preparing students for a diverse range of careers. In addition to seminars in our five primary fields, we offer graduate coursework in the thematic areas of: 1) Environment, Science, and Technology; 2) Gender; 3) Transnational; 4) Race and Ethnicity; 5) Modern Global; and 6) Colonialism and Nationalism.

Upon admission to the department, graduate students join an intellectual community committed to excellence in scholarship and teaching. Our graduate students work closely with world-class faculty, graduate student colleagues, and undergraduates. Our graduate students benefit from small academic seminars, reliable financial support, faculty mentoring, a top-tier library, professionalization seminars, and options for interdisciplinary work.
Dual-title Degrees
The Department of History partners with the departments of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality StudiesAsian Studies; and African American Studies to offer dual-title degrees. History graduate students in dual-title degree programs pursue interdisciplinary work through seminars and interaction with students and faculty in other departments. This diverse training facilitates innovative work at the dissertation stage and expands employment prospects.
Full Financial Support
All graduate students in good standing receive full financial support for five years. Students in our program initially work as teaching assistants, and later work as editorial assistants, research assistants, or research fellows. The department also supports participation in academic conferences and provides funds for summer study and research.

Graduates of our PhD program pursue a range of careers in academia, education, government, business, and the non-profit world. We work closely with our advanced students as they begin the job-seeking process to develop the skills and networks they need to succeed. In academia, our graduates have joined the faculty at large research universities and liberal arts colleges. Other graduates have found positions in federal government agencies, non-profit fundraising and advocacy, technology and consulting companies, higher education administration, and private and public secondary education. For a department placement data overview, please visit The College of the Liberal Arts placement page.

How to Apply
If you would like to join the department of History as a graduate student, please refer to the “How to Apply” page for further information and application details.