PhD in History

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 four major fields of study in the doctoral program are:

  • American Cultures and Societies
  • Empire and Decolonization
  • Race/Ethnicity/Gender
  • Historical Memory

Program Information

Expand all   |   Collapse all  

PhD Learning Outcomes

  1. Comprehend the content, literature, and methodologies of three distinct subfields of history.
    The measure used was the Doctoral Qualifying Examination (DQE) in three subfields: In consultation with their major supervising professor and the Director of Graduate Studies, students design subfields within the four specializations listed above. These subfields necessarily will be transnational in scope, but will likely have a basis in the historiography of a specific region and time period. DQEs will include nine hours of written examinations and up to three hours of oral examination, covering the three subfields.
  2. Complete a program of career diversity discernment that includes both coursework within the department and a diversity internship placement selected in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. Demonstrate reading proficiency in a language other than English in order to do historical research.
    Students may demonstrate proficiency through six credits of college-level coursework prior to admission to the program; earning a B or higher grade in a reading proficiency course at Marquette; or passing a language exam dealing with translating sources in consultation with the doctoral candidate’s dissertation director and the Director of Graduate Studies.
  4. 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.

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


  • Request Information
  • Admission Requirements
  • Application Details
  • Application Deadline
  • Financial Aid & Fellowships

Submit the form below and our admissions expert will respond to you shortly.

*required field 


To be eligible for admission to the Graduate School at Marquette University, applicants must meet the following requirements:

Prospective applicants must possess a master of arts in history in order to apply. Students should have an idea of what specialization or direction they would like to pursue prior to applying for admission. 

Application Requirements

Read all application instructions prior to beginning an application.

1Upon 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. 

2Upon admission, an official course-by-course transcript/academic record evaluation 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.

January 15: Application and application materials should be received to be considered for the fall term.

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.