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The Ph.D. Program - Certificate in World History

A Global Approach to History

As the study of many historical processes and movements pushes scholars beyond the boundaries of the nation state, awareness is growing of the need for a more global perspective in defining and researching many problems. As part of their preparation for the Ph.D. in History, Penn students may choose to obtain a certificate in world history. It is designed to help students meet the growing demand for teachers of world or cross-cultural history courses at the college level. Its aim is to introduce world history as a field of study and to provide grounding for the teaching of integrative and broadly comparative courses. participants in the program will confront the challenges of global approaches to history as they widen their areas of teaching competence.

Students with an interest in this certificate should discuss with their advisory committee ways in which they might integrate world history into their program. Students may make world history their third field or they may design a broadly comparative third field that incorporates the requirements for the certificate. Students are encouraged to consult with faculty on the world history committee to help them to develope an appropriate bibliography that will address theoretical and methodological issues, as well as more specific studies whose themes and regional emphases compliment the student's program. To obtain the certificate, a student should make a written application to the world history committee, listing the courses taken and describing the program s/he has designed to fulfill the requirements. Approval for the certificate will be given by the world history committee in consultation with an advisory committee of faculty involved in the teaching of world history.


Five courses at the graduate level:

  • Two (2) courses in comparative history (e.g. comparative nationalism, comparative colonialism, comparative women's history, comparative slavery war, world economic history, international politics, empires).
  • Two (2) courses on a region or a national area located on a continent different from that of a student's major field. At least one of these courses must be taken within the Department of History.
  • One (1) course in the "problems of world history/literature of world history" to be taken during a semester when the student would also audit either History 10 or 11.

It is anticipated that a committee of interested faculty will discuss the content of the proposed course on the literature of world history and work out guidelines for such a course, which they will teach in rotation.