PhD in History

Thank you for your interest. This program has temporarily suspended doctoral admissions through Fall 2022. The master of arts in History graduate program continues to be offered.

Make a career in history your future

History includes politics, economics, and aesthetics, as well as social, spiritual and cultural relations—our past, our present and our potential as human beings. The history graduate program, mindful of the discipline’s manifold importance and application, offers master of arts and doctoral degree programs in breadth and depth.

Graduate study in history allows students to increase their knowledge of the past and the processes that have shaped the human experience. Such study may prepare students for careers in scholarship, teaching or certain public service fields.

The two major areas in the doctoral program and subfields are:

  • European History - Early Modern or Modern
  • United States History - Early U.S. or Modern U.S.

Program Information

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PhD Learning Outcomes

1. Comprehend the content, literature, and methodologies of four distinct fields of history.

  • The measure used was the Doctoral Qualifying Examination (DQE) in four fields—twelve hours of written exams and a three-hour oral exam

2. Complete a book-length work on an original historical topic.

  • The measure is a defense of dissertation that meets department and professional standards for research, argument, and writing

3. Demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English in order to do research in non-American, non-British topics (where appropriate).

  • A language exam dealing with translating sources is arranged by the doctoral candidate’s director in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies

History Graduate Students

Our doctoral students similarly have found success in education. Historically, roughly three-fourths of our PhD alumni have earned tenure track jobs. The decline in Humanities hiring has resulted in fewer of those positions but our recent graduates still hold tenure track positions as well as those of research faculty, work steadily as visiting assistant professors, lecturers and adjunct instructors, and teach in private high school programs.

See where our other graduate students have been placed since Graduate School. 

Recognized Faculty

Current members of the department have been awarded grants in the following areas: 

  • Fulbright-Hays
  • Mellon Foundation
  • Fulbright
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • ACLS
  • NEH
  • American Philosophical Society grants
  • Marquette University Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence,
  • College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Award for Advising

Our faculty have also published books by top university presses like Cambridge, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, California, NYU, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Kansas, and by academic presses like Routledge, Berg, Brill, Bedford-St. Martin’s. 

Career Opportunities

While maintaining a focus on academic excellence and continuing to anchor our program in the intellectual rigors of historical inquiry, we also actively support those planning for careers outside of the academy.

Career planning begins in our orientation program and continues in discussions through our coursework and workshops, often in conjunction with Marquette’s Center for Teaching and Learning, the Preparing Future Faculty and Professionals program, and Career Services.

Take the next step towards your future


  • Contact Us
  • Application Details
  • Financial Aid & Fellowships

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Application Deadline

Students typically begin their studies in the fall of each academic year.

Admission deadline - January 15


Application Requirements

Read all application instructions prior to beginning an application.

  • Copies of all current and previous college/university transcripts except Marquette.*
  • A one-page statement of purpose specifying proposed areas of study and academic interests.
  • Three letters of recommendation from former teachers.
  • GRE scores (general test only).
  • For doctoral applicants only: a writing sample. Ideally, the sample should be the master’s thesis, but, for graduates of non-thesis programs, it may consist of a formal seminar paper.
  • For international applicants only: TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

*Upon admission, final official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, with certified English translations if original language is not English, must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

Financial Aid

The department offers fourteen teaching assistantships and five research assistantships to incoming and continuing students. Senior Ph.D. students are eligible for full-year research fellowships awarded by the graduate school (history students typically receive 3-4 each year). Most Ph.D. students receive five years of financial aid, ranging from teaching or research assistantships to teaching fellowships to research fellowships. Ph.D. students' classroom training is topped off by teaching an undergraduate seminar in their research field. Many students also receive crucial teaching experience as instructors at area colleges, including Alverno, Carroll, Cardinal Stritch, UW-Parkside, and UW-Milwaukee.

Private scholarships may also be available. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be eligible to apply for student loans to help fund their educational expenses as well.

Trinity Fellows Program

Students interested in the History master's program may want to consider applying for the Trinity Fellows Program as well. Trinity Fellows is a graduate fellowship program dedicated to developing urban leaders with a commitment to social and economic justice. Trinity Fellows participate in a 21-month study/ work program while earning a master's degree. Those who have completed a full-time service program (minimum 10 months), and/or have worked for 2+ years in the nonprofit sector are eligible to apply. Details and instructions to apply are found on the Trinity Fellows website.