Graduate degrees in history are available at both the master's and doctoral levels, and some universities offer postgraduate certificates in history as well. Graduate-level history programs are available in many specializations, such as the history of science, gender studies or women's history.
Top Ten History Graduate Schools or Universities
These universities all offer traditional graduate degree and/or certificate programs, with different thematic, geographic, or period specializations.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Columbia University||New York, NY||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Postgraduate Certificate, Doctoral||$42,280|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$41,832|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$43,450|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$45,729|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||Public, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$11,220 (in-state), $26,322 (out-of-state)|
|University of California - Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||Public, 4-year||Master's, Postgraduate Certificate, Doctoral||$11,220 (in-state), $26,322 (out-of-state)|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$51,624|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||Public, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$20,638 (in-state), $41,688 (out-of-state)|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Doctoral||$31,068|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||Private not-for-profit, 4-year||Master's, Postgraduate Certificate, Doctoral||$38,700|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
University Selection Criteria
Students seeking a history graduate school program should first check for legitimate accreditation and then consider the concentrations offered by the program. Other factors that are important to consider include:
- A graduate school in Washington, D.C. with convenient access to the Library of Congress may be a good choice for a student focusing on history of American literature or lawmaking.
- A school with a robust foreign exchange program may be best for a student taking a concentration in European history.
- Some schools have special collections, such as art collections or early state documents, which make them particularly desirable for history students with a compatible interest.
- History master's and doctoral programs typically require a major research thesis or dissertation, so prospective students should look for schools with history professors who have experience in a similar field of interest in order to help with questions and research projects.
Master's Degree in History
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History programs usually include one to two years of intensive coursework in history. Most programs provide broad education in many historical time periods, but there are schools that allow students to choose a regional or periodic concentration for their coursework. At some schools, master's students can choose between professional and academic research tracks, depending on their future career goals. Prior to graduation, students must submit a master's paper or thesis in a particular area of interest. For doctoral candidates, the M.A. may be awarded as an intermediate degree on the way to a Ph.D. in History.
Doctoral Degree in History
Doctoral programs in history give students the opportunity to further develop their history knowledge and conduct high-level research in a particular interest area, leading to a publishable dissertation. Some schools require students to declare a major, such as United States history, Jewish history, history of science or African history. Graduates typically go on to academic research and teaching positions at colleges and universities.
Graduate Certificate in History
Graduate certificates are available for both degree- and non-degree-seeking students, depending on the school. At some schools, students can take graduate-level courses in a particular historical subfield, such as European history, modern history or United States history. The credits they earn may be applicable to a graduate degree in the future, should they choose to enroll. At other schools, Ph.D. candidates who want augment their degrees can earn a graduate certificate in a particular subject by taking additional coursework and submitting an extra paper.
Your choice of institution when pursing a graduate program in history may depend on whether your interests align with a program's specializations and the research resources that are available at or near the school. Public schools offer programs that are comparable to private school programs, but tuition is typically much less expensive, especially for residents.