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The mission of our doctoral program in History is to train the next generation of historians to the highest professional standards in our discipline, from which they can pursue careers in academia, information management, public history, and the non-profit sector, among others. Earning a KU Ph.D. in History requires a mastery of research skills, including the ability to contextualize and interpret primary sources, knowledge of the languages relevant to one’s research, and the ability to develop an original historical argument that contributes to the historiography of one’s field. Moreover, a KU Ph.D. in History certifies that students can communicate complex ideas persuasively in writing and orally. It also attests to the readiness of a graduate of our program to teach history and advise undergraduates at the level of the university classroom and to train graduate students.
Our program privileges advanced training in History that prepares and encourages students to research and write “across and between” conventionally-defined historiographical fields. To develop such a research program, students read in geographic, chronological, and thematic fields. Fields may be geographic, chronological, and/or thematic to provide maximum flexibility. Ph.D. students designate one major and two minor fields in consultation with their primary advisor and advisory committee.
The success of this structure is borne out by the achievements of our students. In their time at KU, current graduate students have won prestigious fellowships from the National Science Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies and Fulbright (among numerous others) and publish in international journals including Diplomatic History, Agricultural History, Environment and History, Western Historical Quarterly, Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, and The Americas. They conduct research in Japan, Brazil, Lithuania, China, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Spain, Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, and every region of the United States.
All students who are admitted into the Ph.D. program for full-time study, except those who have secured guaranteed external institutional funding, are provided with 5 years of funding in the form of a fellowship, teaching, or research position. International students whose native language is not English are eligible to hold a GTA appointment, provided they meet the University's and the Department's standards for written and spoken English. Applicants who indicate that they are seeking Department funding will be considered automatically for nomination for University-wide fellowships and grants for entering graduate students. The Office of Graduate Studies offers a limited number of fellowships and supplemental scholarships for first-year students. Graduate students in African, East Asian, Latin American, and Russian/Eastern European history are strongly urged to apply simultaneously for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships (https://flas.ku.edu/) from the appropriate KU Area Studies centers. FLAS fellowships provide recipients with tuition remission and a stipend while they pursue their degree program and enroll in formal language study.
For statistics regarding our program, please see our Doctoral Program Profile, which demonstrates our success at funding and placing current and recent graduates.