Administrative Unit: History
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans: M.A., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates: Doctoral Minor
Specializations: African, Central Asian, Comparative World History, East Asian, European, Latin American & Caribbean, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Southeast Asian, United States, or Gender and Women's History

The Department of History offers the master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees as well as minor work for doctoral students in other fields. The program is designed to meet the needs of the Ph.D. candidate; most students earn the master's degree en route to the Ph.D. The department only occasionally accepts a student for terminal master's work.

The department trains resourceful researchers, committed teachers, and engaged public intellectuals. We offer a rigorous course of study that combines independent and collaborative work and that emphasizes scholarly and intellectual connectedness. The department strongly supports the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that education should influence and improve people's lives beyond the university classroom. For more than 100 years, this idea has guided the university's work. Students pursue a variety of careers, both inside and outside the academy.

Graduate students in the Department of History specialize in one of the following subfields or study programs, each of which sets its own programmatic requirements, consistent with Graduate School policies and subject to the approval of the department as a whole: African history; Central Asian history; East Asian history; European history; Latin American and Caribbean history; Middle Eastern history; South Asian history; Southeast Asian history; and United States history. See also Program in Gender and Women's History below. For details on the M.A. and Ph.D. requirements of the study programs, see the History Graduate Handbook or contact the graduate coordinator. For information about the faculty's areas of geographic and thematic specialization, see the department's faculty specialty page.

The department offers multiyear support packages to all incoming graduate students. Support begins with a fellowship in the first year and includes additional years of comparable support (teaching assistantships, project assistantships, and internal or external fellowships), provided the student makes satisfactory progress and performs well as a graduate assistant. Contact the graduate coordinator for details.

Other Degree Options

Bridge Program with Afro-American Studies

This is an academic partnership designed to allow students to complete the M.A. in Afro-American studies and the Ph.D. in history. It enables the Afro-American studies student who specializes in the history area to meet the basic requirements of the history M.A. while completing a degree in Afro-American studies. Students may apply simultaneously to the two departments or may apply to the Department of History after they begin their program in Afro-American studies, usually in the fall of the first or second M.A. year. For details, contact the graduate coordinator.

Joint Ph.D. in History and History of Science

Students who wish to obtain a joint Ph.D. in history and history of science, medicine, and technology are initially admitted to one of the departments, and should indicate interest in the joint Ph.D. program at that time.  After completion of a master’s degree in history or history of science, medicine, and technology (or an approved alternative), the student applies for admission to the other department and, at the same time, to a standing committee of the two departments for admission to the joint program. Having been admitted to the other department and to the joint program, the student then applies to the Graduate School for approval of the joint Ph.D. (See the Graduate School's academic policy regarding joint degrees for more information and deadlines.)  The student’s application to the standing committee should take the same form as required by the Graduate School and should be prepared in close consultation with department faculty/staff.

Students in the joint Ph.D. program are assigned a home department and follow the regulations of that department with regard to seminar requirements, language requirements, financial aid, and regulations for satisfactory progress. Since the joint Ph.D. meets the doctoral minor requirement of the Graduate School, no formal minor is required of students receiving a joint Ph.D. However, students who wish to have a minor field recorded on the transcript may complete a regular Option A or Option B minor, or the internal minor of the department.

The joint Ph.D. student’s work is supervised by a committee consisting of three faculty members (two from the home department). The preliminary examinations test the student’s competence in both history and history of science, medicine, and technology, balancing the material and fields between the two departments (e.g. two in each, or three in one and two in the other).  The number of prelim fields must equal the number required of students majoring exclusively in history or in history of science, medicine, and technology, plus one. Preparation of the Ph.D. dissertation is guided by the student's supervising committee. Satisfactory completion and defense of the dissertation constitute the final requirements for the joint Ph.D. degree.

Individual Joint Ph.D.

Students in other departments who wish to pursue a joint Ph.D. (one degree, two majors) with history must first be admitted to the history department. The proposal for the degree must be approved by the department's Graduate Council before it is submitted to the Graduate School. Students admitted to a joint Ph.D. will satisfy all the normal requirements of their field in history except the minor requirement.

Concentration in the History of Gender and Women

The concentration in gender and women's history offers training with a specific geographic area of specialization while also providing opportunities for students to explore their research interests in gender and women's history in a global perspective.

Students may enter this concentration through any of the department's study programs. Students who wish to be considered for the concentration in gender and women's history should indicate this on their Graduate School application.

Students in the concentration of gender and women will generally choose courses within and meet all the requirements of their geographic areas of specialization, while also meeting some additional requirements for the women's/gender history concentration and working under the supervision of a scholar active in the field of gender and women's history within their geographic area. All students in the concentration will take a team-taught core seminar on the comparative and transnational history of women and gender.

Faculty: Professors Sweet (chair), Bernault, Boswell, Chamberlain, Cohen, Cronon, Desan, Dunlavy, Enstad, Hansen, Hirsch, Johnson, Jones, Kantrowitz, Kleijwegt,  Koshar, Mallon, McCoy, McDonald, Michels, Mitman, Neville, Plummer, Reese, Roberts, Scarano, Sharpless, Sommerville, Stern, Sweet, Wandel, Winichakul, Wink, Young; Associate Professors Cheng, Dennis, Enke, Hall, Kodesh, Ratner-Rosenhagen, Shoemaker, Thal; Assistant Professors Bitzan, Callaci, Chamedes, Chan, Ciancia, Dinces, Haynes, Hennessy, Ipsen, Kim, Kinzley, Lapina, Murthy, Taylor, Ussishkin, Whiting