The University of Michigan History Graduate Program engages students and faculty in individual and collective interdisciplinary investigations of historical thought, and in research on the historical experiences of humanity in different times and places. As one of the largest departments of history in the United States, with more than 80 faculty members, Michigan offers its students unique breadth and depth of study. Our students represent a diverse community of experience and thought from across the U.S. and around the world. They are bright, intellectually curious, and deeply committed to the study of history and its impact on people and societies. Graduates become outstanding teachers at universities and colleges throughout the world and make innovative and enlightened contributions to the study of history as teachers, researchers, public historians, or independent scholars.

We invite you to consider Michigan.

General Graduate Program FAQ

In what fields do you offer a PhD?

U-M History graduate students specialize in a wide variety of fields. Our faculty and students are organized into seven geographic groupings and over a dozen intellectual clusters. In addition History students can initiate a custom program through the graduate school’s Student Initiated Degree Program. Consequently, we have students who are pursuing a joint PhD in History and Sociology, and a joint PhD/JD. Lastly, we are associated with several joint programs which produce their own PhD degrees: History and Women’s Studies, Greek and Roman History, Anthropology and History.

Do you offer a separate MA?

No. Students are only admitted to a PhD program. Our own students may apply for and "embedded" MA on the way to the PhD but no students are admitted to a stand-alone MA program in the department.

What do U-M History graduates do with their degrees?

The majority of our students become college professors. Some of our recent graduates have been placed at the following college and universities: College of William and Mary, James Madison University, University of California Davis, University of Rochester, University of Illinois, University of Connecticut, University of Cincinnati, California State University Northridge, Simon Frasier University, University of Arizona, Dartmouth College, Drury College.

What is your placement rate?

From 2000 to 2010, the U-M History PhD Program graduated 152 students. Of the 131 graduates whose whereabouts are known to us, 95% have positions in academic institutions (68%  tenure-track, 27% non-tenure-track), 3% are employed in business or non-profit organizations, 2% are not employed (in school or raising families). Please refer to Recent Graduates and Placement for additional details and updates of students since 2010.

Do I need an MA to apply?

An MA is not necessary to apply. Roughly half of our incoming students have a Masters, many in History but not all. In fact, a BA in History is not necessary either. Students come to us from many academic disciplines including for example: Political Science, English, Women’s Studies, Law, Asian Studies, Art History, Russian Studies, Linguistics, and Sociology.

Do you have a special policy for international students?

The admissions policies and procedures are the same for everyone, no matter their origin. If an international student accepts an offer of admission, there are visa requirements for travel to the US. These are described in detail on the Rackham Graduate School and U-M International Center websites.

What is the Rackham Graduate School?

The Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies (Rackham Graduate School), otherwise known as Rackham) is a community of scholars, researchers, and students in over 130 graduate programs at the University of Michigan. Joined together by the rigors of academic pursuit, the Rackham Graduate School works in conjunction with 17 schools and colleges to recruit applicants, administer the admissions process, and serve students through the final stages of degree attainment. On average, more than 4,000 graduate degrees are awarded per year.

Can I contact professors in your department directly?

Yes. In fact, we encourage prospective students to contact the faculty who work in their area(s) of interest. You want to apply to a program that is a good fit and the only way you will be able to tell is to contact the pertinent faculty. Please consult our faculty list for contact information. Email is usually a better option than phone calls.

Can I visit the campus?

You are very welcome to visit the University of Michigan campus at any time. Campus tours are available and the U-M History Office is open year-round (except for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day). Please be sure to make appointments directly with faculty members with whom you might like to work. And remember that many of our members have joint appointments in affiliated programs that might be of interest to you. Don't hesitate to contact our students who work in areas of interest to you. They will tell you what to expect as a student in our program. One final note: faculty and students tend to be more available in the Fall and Winter terms.