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.

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.

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Highlight: 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.

In 2015, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill placed fifth in U.S. News & World Report's ranking of top public schools that same year. In 2013, UNC was tied for 11th 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

School Highlight: Brown typically only enrolls 10-12 Ph.D. students each year.

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report placed this Ivy League university tied for 16th in its ranking of best national universities. The magazine also ranked Brown University tied for 18th in its list of top colleges for graduate studies in history in 2013.

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 during the 5- to 7-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.

Top History Ph.D. Programs

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 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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