Dept. of History
140 Commonwealth Ave.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3806
Boston, Britain and Ireland, Medieval/Early Modern/Modern Europe, South Asia, U.S. and Latin America
The Boston College History Department attracts talented graduate students from around the nation and around the world. We offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees with training in a number of regional and thematic specialties. The success of our Preparing Future Faculty program has positioned us among the leaders in restructuring graduate education in history.
The department has long had particular strength in British & Irish history, medieval history, U.S. history, and modern European history. Emerging areas of faculty expertise and graduate student interest include South Asian history, East Asian history, Latin American history, and African history. In addition, the department trains in a range of comparative and transnational areas, with particular interest in the history of religion, empires and legacies, and the Atlantic world.
The History Department matriculates a small class of new graduate students each September; our program's size ensures individualized attention and considerable flexibility in designing one's plan of study. All PhD students are guaranteed funding through their fifth year in the program assuming successful completion of requirements. Graduate students gain experience teaching in the university's two-semester core history sequence, first as teaching assistants and later as teaching fellows in charge of their own classes. Faculty and graduate students come together regularly for conversations about the craft of teaching history.
Historians at Boston College benefit from our location in one of the world's great centers of academic life. A range of neighboring universities, libraries, and cultural institutions enrich all of our work. In particular, ongoing collaboration with graduate programs at Boston University, Brandeis University, and Tufts University allows our graduate students to tap into a remarkable network of world-class scholars. Several students and faculty also take part in the Center for European Studies, the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and the South Asia Initiative at Harvard, as well as the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies at M.I.T. Ongoing seminars and lecture series at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts bring together lively communities of scholars interested in a range of subfields and other disciplines. Historians at Boston College have access to the collections of the Boston Library Consortium, a network of 19 academic and research libraries around New England. In all, Boston offers an unparalleled site for pursuing advanced study in history.
Special Programs or Resources
Boston College doctoral students have access to many resources that will be useful for research. O'Neill Library, the main library on campus, has extensive hours for studying purposes. The John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections, also at Boston College, houses the University's rare books, special collections and archives. It is home to more than 150,000 volumes, some 15,000,000 manuscripts and important collections of architectural records, maps, art works, newspapers, photographs, films, prints, artifacts and ephemera.
Furthermore, the Boston College Libraries are a cooperating member of the Boston Library Consortium. Because of this membership, Boston College faculty and students qualify for borrowing privileges at the member libraries.
Due to its proximity to Boston, doctoral students may also take advantage of seminars offered through the Massachusetts Historical Society.
The Ph.D. program guarantees five full years of funding to incoming Ph.D. students, meaning that doctoral students receive tuition remission as well as a stipend. This funding is contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and progress towards the degree. Beginning in their second year of study, doctoral students serve as Teaching Assistants in the History department.
Students entering directly into the Ph.D. program are required to complete 39 credits, 36 of which are to be taken prior to an oral comprehensive exam. All students in the Ph.D. program are required to pursue two semesters of full-time study during the first year and must, in the course of their studies, complete at least two research seminars (one of which may be the Dissertation Seminar) and two intensive readings colloquia (one in the major and one in a minor area). Ph.D. candidates, with the exception of medievalists, must also pass two foreign language reading exams (but some Americanists can petition to substitute competency in a field of particular methodological or theoretical relevance to their program of study). Medievalists must pass three language exams, one of which must be Latin or Greek.
Information from Department of Education
(Includes information on the size, location, and general characteristics of faculty and student body)
Information from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
(Includes rating of the institution's rating of the graduate instructional program and size and setting)
Full-time Faculty: 33
Relative Size based on Number of Full-time Faculty: Medium [Explain]
Student Demographics (Fall 2011):
Number of Doctoral Students in Program: 53
New Doctoral Students Entering Program: 8
Proportion of Doctoral Students Receiving Financial Aid: 100%
Number of Graduate Students Enrolled: 80
Relative Size Based on Graduate Student Enrollment: Medium [Explain]
First PhD conferred: 1933
History PhDs conferred to Date: 161
Number of PhDs Conferred (2011–12): 6
Relative Size Based on PhDs Conferred: Medium [Explain]
Last Updated: October 19, 2012