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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in History

University requirements for the Ph.D. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Students planning to work for the doctorate in history should be familiar with the general degree requirements of the University outlined in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. Those interested in applying for admission to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs should contact the graduate program coordinator in the History department. Online applications are available in September of the year prior to intended enrollment. The application filing deadline is December 7, 2011. Applicants must file a report of their general scores on the Graduate Record Examination and submit a writing sample of 10-25 pages on a historical topic. Successful applicants for the M.A. and Ph.D. programs may enter only in Autumn Quarter.

Upon enrollment in the graduate program in History, the student has a member of the department designated as an adviser with whom to plan the Ph.D. program. Much of the first two years of graduate study is spent taking courses, and, from the outset, the student should be aware that the ultimate objective is not merely the completion of courses but preparation for general examinations and for writing a dissertation.

Admission to the Department of History in the graduate division does not establish any rights respecting candidacy for an advanced degree. At the end of the first year of graduate study, students are evaluated by the faculty and given a progress report. A decision as to whether the student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. is normally made by the start of the student's third year.

After the completion of certain further requirements, students must apply for acceptance for candidacy for the doctorate in the graduate division of the University.


Applicants for admission to graduate work must take the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination. It may be taken at most American colleges and in nearly all foreign countries. For details, see

Students admitted to graduate standing do not automatically become candidates for a graduate degree. With the exception of students in the terminal M.A. program, they are admitted with the expectation that they will be working toward the Ph.D. degree and may become candidates to receive the M.A. degree after completing three quarters of work.

The application filing deadline is December 7, 2011.


Required Courses—

Other Graduate Core Colloquia required for Ph.D. students studying in fields other than the above are listed in the Department of History's Graduate Handbook.

University Oral Examinations—The student is expected to take the University oral examination in the major concentration in the third graduate year.

Dissertation—The student must complete and submit a dissertation which is the result of independent work and is a contribution to knowledge. It should evidence the command of approved techniques of research, ability to organize findings, and competence in expression. For details and procedural information, inquire in the department.

Dissertation Committee—The reading committee consists of the principal dissertation adviser (first reader), and two additional members of the Department (second and third readers) agreed upon by the adviser and the student.


Students who are admitted with financial support are provided multiple years of support through fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, and tuition grants. Applicants should indicate on the admissions application whether they wish to be considered for such support. No separate application for financial aid is required.

U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens who are interested in area language studies in East Asia, Africa, and the republics of the former Soviet Union may request a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship application from the FLAS coordinator of the respective programs offering the FLAS (CEAS, CAS, CREEES). The FLAS application deadlines are in January and February (CAS).


The degree requirements section relates to formal requirements, but the success of a student's graduate program depends in large part on the quality of the guidance received from faculty and on the library resources available. Prospective graduate applicants are advised to study the list of History faculty and the courses this faculty offers. As to library resources, no detailed statement is possible in this bulletin, but areas in which library resources are unusually strong are described following.

The University Library maintains strong general collections in almost all fields of history. It has a very large microtext collection, including, for instance, all items listed in Charles Evans' American Bibliography, and in the Short-Title Catalogues of English publications, 1474-1700, and virtually complete microfilmed documents of the Department of State to 1906. It also has a number of valuable special collections including the Borel Collection on the History of California; many rare items on early American and early modern European history; the Brasch Collection on Sir Isaac Newton and scientific thought during his time; the Gimon Collection on French political economy, and other such materials.

The rich collection of the Hoover Institution on the causes, conduct, and results of WW I and WW II are being augmented for the post-1945 period. The materials include government documents, newspaper and serial files, and organization and party publications (especially the British and German Socialist parties). There are also important manuscript collections, including unpublished records of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the Herbert Hoover archives, which contain the records of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the American Relief Administration, the various technical commissions established at the close of WW I for reconstruction in Central and Eastern Europe, the personal papers of Herbert Hoover as United States Food Administrator, and other important personal papers. Other materials for the period since 1914 relate to revolutions and political ideologies of international importance; colonial and minority problems; propaganda and public opinion; military occupation; peace plans and movements; international relations; international organizations and administration including the publications of the United Nations, as well as principal international conferences. The Hoover Institution also possesses some of the richest collections available anywhere on the British labor movement; Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union; East Asia (runs of important newspapers and serials and extensive documentary collections, especially for the period of WW II); and Africa since 1860, especially French-speaking Africa, the former British colonies, and South Africa.


  1. In consultation with the adviser, students select an area of study from the list below in which to concentrate their study and later take the University oral examination. The major concentrations are:
    • Europe, 300-1500
    • Europe, 1400-1800
    • Europe since 1700
    • Jewish History
    • Russia
    • Eastern Europe
    • Middle East and Central Asia
    • South Asia
    • East Asia before 1600
    • China since 1600
    • Japan since 1600
    • Africa
    • Britain and the British Empire since 1460
    • Latin America
    • The United States (including colonial America)
    • The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology
    • Transnational, International, and Global
  2. The department seeks to provide a core colloquium in every major concentration. Students normally enroll in this colloquium during the first year of graduate study.
  3. Students are required to take two research seminars, at least one in the major concentration. Normally, research seminars are taken in the first and second years.
  4. Each student, in consultation with the adviser, defines a secondary concentration. This concentration should represent a total of four graduate courses or their equivalents, and it may be fulfilled by working in a historical concentration or an interdisciplinary concentration. The historical concentrations include:
    1. One of the concentrations listed above (other than the student's major concentration).
    2. One of the concentrations listed below, which falls largely outside the student's major concentration:
      • The Ancient Greek World
      • The Roman World
      • Europe, 300-1000
      • Europe, 1000-1400
      • Europe, 1400-1600
      • Europe, 1600-1789
      • Europe, 1700-1871
      • Europe since 1848
      • England, 450-1460
      • Britain and the British Empire, 1460-1714
      • Britain and the British Empire since 1714
      • Russia to 1800
      • Russia since 1800
      • Eastern Europe to 1800
      • Eastern Europe since 1800
      • Jewish History
      • Middle East and Central Asia to 1800
      • Middle East and Central Asia since 1800
      • Africa
      • South Asia
      • China before 1600
      • China since 1600
      • Japan before 1600
      • Japan since 1600
      • Latin America to 1825
      • Latin America since 1810
      • The United States (including Colonial America) to 1865
      • The United States since 1850
      • The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology
      • Transnational, International, and Global
    3. Work in a national history of sufficiently long time to span chronologically two or more major concentrations. For example, a student with Europe since 1700 as a major concentration may take France from 1000 to the present as a secondary concentration.
    4. A comparative study of a substantial subject across countries or periods. The secondary concentration requirement may also be satisfied in an interdisciplinary concentration. Students plan these concentrations in consultation with their advisers. Interconcentrations require course work outside the Department of History which is related to the student's training as a historian. Interdisciplinary course work can either add to a student's technical competence or broaden his or her approach to the problems of the research concentration.
  5. Each student, before conferral of the Ph.D., is required to satisfy the department's teaching requirement.
  6. There is no University or department foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree. A reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages is required in concentrations where appropriate. The faculty in the major concentration prescribes the necessary languages. In no concentration is a student required to take examinations in more than two foreign languages. Certification of competence in commonly taught languages (that is, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) for candidates seeking to fulfill the language requirement in this fashion is done by the appropriate language department of the University. Certification of competence in other languages is determined in a manner decided on by faculty in the major concentration. In either case, certification of language competence must be accomplished before a student takes the University oral examination.
  7. The student is expected to take the University oral examination in the major concentration in the third graduate year.
  8. The student must complete and submit a dissertation which is the result of independent work and is a contribution to knowledge. It should evidence the command of approved techniques of research, ability to organize findings, and competence in expression. For details and procedural information, inquire in the department.

Ph.D. in History and Humanities

The department of History participated in the Graduate Program in Humanities leading to a Ph.D. degree in History and Humanities. At this time, the option is available only to students already enrolled in the Graduate Program in Humanities; no new students are being accepted. The University remains committed to a broad-based graduate education in the humanities; the courses, colloquium, and symposium continue to be offered, and the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages provides advising for students already enrolled who may contact DLCL Student Affairs at 650-724-1333 or for further information. Courses are listed under the subject code HUMNTIES and may be viewed on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

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