History, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in History

About the Degree

The doctoral history program seeks, through a structured program of seminars, individual tutelage, examinations, research, and writing, to assist qualified students toward the goal of becoming mature, independent historians in the fields of history where the faculty has the expertise to guide them. The special strength of the graduate training in the University of Akron-Kent State University consortium is the close interaction between faculty members and graduate students. Full-time students may apply to become teaching assistants, where they will be guided and mentored in the fine art of teaching college-level courses, a vital preparation for those intending to pursue careers in higher education.

Doctoral degree recipients may pursue academic careers in teaching. Other Ph.D. recipients may prefer to pursue careers as public historians in archives, museums, and libraries; may become academic administrators; may provide their expertise to businesses; or may pursue the degree primarily for personal enrichment.

History Ph.D. students need to demonstrate high scholarly achievement in four fields of specialization from the following list:

  • Ancient: History of the ancient world.
  • Medieval: Social, cultural, and political history of Medieval Europe until 1500.
  • Europe, Renaissance to 1750: Social, cultural, and political history of Early Modern Europe.
  • Europe, 1750 to present: Social, cultural, and political history of Europe from 1750 to the present.
  • America to 1877: Colonial American History.
  • United States since 1877: Modern American History.
  • History of Science: A field focusing on the historicaldevelopment of science and scientific knowledge, including natural and social sciences. 
  • Public History: A field that focuses on coursework, research and internships that prepare students to work outside of academic settings, in venues such as museums, historical societies, public policy organizations and media.
  • World History: A field that emphasizes connections in global events, ideas, political and artistic trends since 1300.
  • Latin America: Social, cultural, and political history of Latin America and its connections to the United States, Europe and Asia.
  • Middle East: Social, cultural and political history of the Middle East and its connections to European, Asian, and American history.
  • South Asia: Social, cultural and political history of South Asia and its global connections.
  • Africa: Social, cultural and political history of Africa and its global connections.
  • East Asia: Social, cultural and political history of East Asia and its global connections.

These four fields must include at least one each in American, European, and non-Western history. Fulfillment of one field requires a minimum of 14 credits for the first and second fields and 7 credits for the third and fourth fields.

During the course of the Ph.D. program, students take courses on Historiography (methods and theories of historical interpretation), research seminars, as well as seminars and slash courses in four fields of History, as detailed in the previous item.

Salary and Career Outlook

Most of our Ph.D. graduates are successful in pursuing academic careers in teaching and research, either as full-time, tenure track university professors or part-time instructors in colleges and universities across the United States.

Other Ph.D. graduates also pursue careers as educators in the public school system or in private schools, careers as researchers in cultural organizations and policy think tanks, careers as archivists in museums, libraries and historical societies, and careers in business.

The salaries start at $50,000-$60,000 for entry level, full-time, tenure track professors.

Why Akron?

  • Our graduate program’s small size ensures individualized attention and considerable flexibility in designing students’ plan of study.
  • The requirement that students specialize in four different fields allows students to develop a well-rounded education and to be exposed to a variety of historical fields. Due to the wide-range of field specializations of our faculty, our students focus their studies on a combination of thematic and geographical/temporal fields. 
  • The four-field requirement also allows students to explore a variety of regions/geographical fields, which provides a more global focus for their career/academic training. In fact, it is because our students are prepared to teach broadly on a variety of fields that they are successful in securing academic positions that increasingly require the ability to teach history in a global/transnational perspective.
  • Our students have the opportunity to study, research abroad, and develop contacts with faculty at our partner university in Le Mans, France, l’Université du Maine.
  • Our students have the opportunity to include interdisciplinary training in their Ph.D. studies, by taking courses and developing professional contacts with other departments, such as the Law School and the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art.
  • Because we strive to fund as many full-time Ph.D. students as we can through teaching assistantships, this program provides teaching experience, which places students at an advantage in their future careers in teaching.
  • The University of Akron’s History faculty has the highest rate of book and article publications of any public university in northern Ohio.

Contact Information

            Graduate Coordinator:           Dr. Martha Santos

                                                            College of Arts and Sciences, Room 207A


                                                            (330) 972-2686

            Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                                            Polsky Building, Room 467


                                                            (330) 972-7664