Certificate in World History

A Global Approach to History




As the study of many historical processes and movements pushes scholars beyond the boundaries of single countries, awareness is growing of the need for a more global perspective in defining and investigating a range of problems. As part of their preparation for the Ph.D. in History, Penn students may choose to obtain a certificate in world history, designed to help them meet the growing demand for teachers of world or cross-cultural history courses at the college level. The program aims  to introduce world history as a field of study and to provide grounding for the teaching of integrative and broadly comparative courses. 


Students interested in the certificate should discuss with their advisory committee ways in which they might integrate world history into their program of study. Students may make world history their third field or they may design a broadly comparative third field that incorporates the requirements for the certificate. They are encouraged to consult with faculty on the world history committee to help them  develop 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.




Five courses at the graduate level:


  • Two (2) courses in comparative history or transregional/transnational history (e.g., comparative nationalism, colonialism, capitalism, slavery, or women's history; world economic history,  international politics, empires and migration, intra-Asian, intra-African exchanges and connections).
  • 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 on "problems of global history/approaches to cross-regional history."  Such methodological courses tailored towards the global history certificate are offered by different faculty on a rotating basis.
  • Over the course of their studies, students should audit a broadly comparative or transregional introductory lecture course. Depending on faculty availabilities and course offerings, ideally this should be HIST 001 or HIST012

 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.


World History Certificate