The Graduate Program

Graduate Seminar

A History of Distinction

The Graduate Program in History at the University of Pennsylvania has a long tradition of distinction. Beginning as one of the first programs in the United States to offer doctoral study in history, (the first Ph.D. in History was conferred in 1891); the Department continues to pioneer new areas of scholarship. In the last twenty years, faculty members of the departments in American, European, and World History have assumed a leading role in their fields. Today, few departments in the country match Penn's Department of History in coverage and depth across the entire range of history from medieval times to the present.

Our distinguished faculty includes winners of the profession's most distinguished honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize; Guggenheim, MacArthur, Social Science Research Council, and Spencer Foundation Fellowships; and Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Council for Learned Societies grants; among many others. In addition, current faculty members have served as presidents of the Organization of American Historians, the Association for Asian Studies, the American Academy of Jewish Research, the Sixteenth-Century Studies Association, and the Urban History Association.

A Small, Selective Graduate Program

Penn admits a small number of graduate students every year, with generous fellowship support to support them through their studies and dissertation research. A hallmark of our program is our close mentorship of graduate students. Each graduate student meets regularly with his or her advisor and a committee of two or three other faculty members to discuss research, course work, and career goals.

We encourage graduate students to think deeply and broadly about history, methodology, and theory. In addition to the comprehensive training in history, we encourage our graduate students to take courses related to their intellectual interests in other departments, as far ranging as sociology, comparative literature, philosophy, folklore, political science, social welfare, education, and law. In addition, our graduate group draws from the talents of non-departmental historians and other scholars with strong historical interests across the entire university.

An Excellent Placement Record

Our program is small, but our placement record is excellent. The vast majority of our Ph.D. students have gone onto tenure-track position at major research universities and liberal arts colleges, throughout the United States and the world including:

Arizona State University Cornell University Haverford College
Ohio State University San Francisco State University University of California, Davis

University of Houston

University of Minnesota University of Washington
Barnard College Dartmouth College Indiana University
Oxford University Sarah Lawrence College University of California, Los Angeles
University of Illinois, Chicago University of Pennsylvania University of Wisconsin, Madison
Bryn Mawr College

Franklin and Marshall College

Kenyon College
Princeton University Temple University University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Maine University of Pittsburgh University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Carnegie-Mellon University George Mason University Manhattan College
State University of NY, Stony Brook Tulane University University of Chile
University of Maryland University of Tennessee Vassar College
Case-Western Reserve University George Washington University Mount Holyoke College
Rice University Union College University of Delaware
University of Mass-Amherst University of Texas, Austin Wheaton College
City University of New York Georgetown University New York University
Rowan University University College, Galway University of Denver

University of Miami

University of Toronto Yale University
Columbia University Georgia Tech Northwestern University
Rutgers University University of Arizona ​​​​​​​University of Georgia
University of Michigan University of Utah York University (Canada)

Some of our graduates have gone onto distinguished careers at research institutions, public history programs, and museums, including the South Street Seaport Museum, the Smithsonian, and the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Penn History graduates have made important contributions to our historical understanding of the history of gender, labor, class, and ethnicity; the history of economic and demographic transitions; intellectual life and cultural studies; the social bases of political action; community formation and structure; cultural conflict and accommodation; urbanization; industrialization; and immigration.

Further Information

For further information about Penn's Graduate Program in History, you are invited to explore the program links or contact the current graduate chairperson.