A PhD in history, the highest degree in the field, prepares students for careers as educators, researchers, analysts, and writers. The history PhD program emphasizes both depth and breadth of study and encourages advanced students to apply for research grants and present their work at conferences and in publications.
Department of History faculty offer course work and guidance in political history, social and cultural history, diplomatic history, history of gender and sexuality, comparative history, history of imperialism and post-colonialism, intellectual history, history of medicine, African American culture and history, ethnic history, and public history.
The doctoral program's greatest strengths and course coverage are in American history and modern European history, including Britain and Russia. History PhD students can choose to develop minor fields of study (outside fields) other than American and modern European history, as well as (major or minor) cross national and cross disciplinary fields. Students interested in other areas of the world and other time periods will find relevant courses in the department, in other university programs, and through the resources of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of Washington, DC, resources to complement course work.
PhD alumni hold positions at Claremont McKenna College, Illinois State University, Delaware State University, the University of Arkansas, University of West Florida, Towson University, Villanova University, Seminole State College, Bridgewater State University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Library of Congress, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Archives, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the American Historical Association, the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Robert Kagan, a history PhD alumnus and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, appeared on the Colbert Report to discuss his book, The World America Made. Kagan is also an adviser to Mitt Romney on foreign policy.