University of Pennsylvania
Dept. of History
208 College Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6379
Atlantic World, Cultural, Diplomatic, Economic, Europe, Intellectual, Jewish, Legal, Trans-Regional, Urban, U.S., and Women and Gender
The purpose of our Ph.D. program is to train professional historians who are both scholars and teachers. During your years of study here you will acquire the scholarly tools you need for such an academic career: systematic knowledge of at least three broad historical fields, rigorous training and experience in scholarly research, easy familiarity with the most influential approaches to historical explanation, genuine awareness of what are truly significant historical problems, and deep interest in interdisciplinary approaches to history drawn from other social sciences. You will also receive in the course of your graduate study in History valuable teaching experience.
The Graduate History program at the University of Pennsylvania stresses flexibility and allows maximum choice to students in designing academic programs to fit particular interests and needs. Because of this, a close student-advisor relationship is essential. Thus, in the first year of study, considerable care should be taken in choosing, in consultation with the Graduate Chair, a primary academic advisor from the history faculty, as well as other members of your advisory committee. Ph.D. candidates should realize that they are undertaking a demanding program of graduate instruction. To make a success of graduate study such students should therefore be prepared to devote full time to their studies throughout the academic year and, during the summer.
Special Programs or Resources
The resources for historical study at Penn extend far beyond the boundaries of the history department. Historians of note can be found in most of the other eleven schools on campus, including the Law School, Graduate School of Education, Wharton School, and Annenberg School for Communication. Eminent scholars with strong historical interests can be found in other SAS departments such as anthropology, classical studies, economics, sociology, folklore, English, Germanic studies, political science, Romance languages, South Asian studies, Near Eastern cultures, East Asian studies, History and Sociology of Science and urban studies. Many faculty members from these departments take an active part in the graduate history program at Penn and regularly serve on student advisory committees. Both faculty and students can take advantage of the University's numerous libraries and special collections; moreover, the Penn history department maintains close cooperative ties with history faculty at nearby colleges and universities.
The History Department at Penn offers a generous program of financial aid to the great majority of its graduate students. All History Ph.D. students (except a few with external funding) receive five year fellowships awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences upon admission. Those fellowships include tuition, fees, health insurance, and an annual stipend ($23,700 for 2012-13 plus 3 summer stipends currently $3,800 each). Application for fellowship and scholarship awards (except where otherwise specified) is made simply by checking the appropriate box on the first page of the application for admission. Students in the terminal M.A. program are usually not eligible for departmental fellowships, but may fund their studies through a combination of loans, work-study, Foreign Language Area Studies grants, and outside funding.
Candidates for the Ph.D. degree complete fourteen course units over a three-year period. General examinations are taken at some point between the end of the second year to May of the third year of study in three areas of inquiry: a general regional/national concentration; a specialty carved from the regional/national concentration; and a field that has a theoretical, methodological, or comparative emphasis. Examination areas are defined by students in consultation with members of their faculty advisory committees, who serve as examiners. In addition, Ph.D. candidates must also satisfy language and technical competency requirements appropriate to their particular fields of study. Successful completion of these requirements and the general exams allows candidates to pursue dissertation research and writing, normally a two to three year process.
Students actually begin their dissertation work at the end of the second year of study through participation in a special summer workshop aimed at the writing of a dissertation proposal. The Ph.D. is awarded upon successful completion of the dissertation. Applicants with Master's degrees in history of allied disciplines may receive up to six units of credit toward the Penn Ph.D. degree, and take their exams a year earlier.
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: 45
Relative Size based on Number of Full-time Faculty: Large [Explain]
Student Demographics (Fall 2011):
Number of Doctoral Students in Program: 95
New Doctoral Students Entering Program: 13
Proportion of Doctoral Students Receiving Financial Aid: 98%
Number of Graduate Students Enrolled: 118
Relative Size Based on Graduate Student Enrollment: Large [Explain]
First PhD conferred: 1891
History PhDs conferred to Date: 787
Number of PhDs Conferred (2011–12): 7
Relative Size Based on PhDs Conferred: Large [Explain]
Last Updated: October 19, 2012