Program Category: PhD Programs
Chair: Pablo Piccato
Director of Graduate Studies: Catherine Evtuhov
Website: history.columbia.edu
Contact: [email protected]
Degree Programs: Full-Time: MA, MPhil, PhD

The Department of History offers a comprehensive PhD program in almost every area and period of world history. Its range of intellectual opportunities enables a student to pursue studies in depth in a special field of interest and at the same time gain comparative knowledge in related areas. Those who complete the PhD program teach in major universities throughout the world and work in related fields such as government service and publishing.

Fields of study include Africa, Ancient, Atlantic World, Early Modern Europe (1350-1750), East Asia, Sociomedical Sciences, International and Global History, Jewish History, Latin America, Medieval Europe, Middle East, Modern Europe, South Asia, and United States.

Students who work in those fields involving the study of comparative politics or international relations may find it desirable to combine their work in the History Department with an area studies program in one of the associated regional institutes. The department also participates in the JD/PhD program in cooperation with Columbia's School of Law.

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Teaching and research experience are considered an important aspect of the training of doctoral students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship.

The Curriculum

The curriculum varies considerably from one field to another. Normally, however, requirements for the PhD consist of the following:

  1. Completing eight to ten courses for credit in the first two years, including at least four graduate colloquia and a full year of work in a research seminar or seminars
  2. Fulfilling a foreign language requirement
  3. Passing an oral examination in a major and minor field
  4. Presenting and defending a dissertation prospectus
  5. Completing and defending a doctoral dissertation

Few students complete these requirements in less than five years; we strongly encourage all students to finish their degrees in no more than seven years.

Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) awards a certificate in Comparative Literature and Society. For more information, see the ICLS website.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample (a course paper, term paper, etc.), a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Application Requirements

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.