Prospective Students: Welcome and Overview

As Director of Graduate Studies, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce you to the Graduate Program of the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With an accomplished and innovative faculty of diverse backgrounds and interests, a wide range of course offerings and professional development programs, the resources of one of the world’s great research libraries, an active and supportive intellectual community, and students from a wide variety of backgrounds (countries of birth and education, work experience, age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability--and rich diversity of experience highly we value), we believe that we have a great deal to offer. You will discover much information about our program and the university on this website. The pages below include a current listing of our fields of study, degree requirements, financial aid information, details on the application process, and information for international students.

If you are interested in applying to our program, I would encourage you to contact members of the faculty with whom you might want to work. You can find out which faculty work in which fields by clicking on the fields of study link in the menu to the right. To learn more about individuals and how to contact them, look in the Directory above. The application itself is submitted to the Graduate College:

We encourage you to visit, if possible, and meet with faculty and current graduate students.

I would highlight a few points:

The History Department is home to dozens of scholars offering over thirty fields of study. A rich array of courses allows students to familiarize themselves with current scholarship and engaged in active research and analytical writing.

In designing a program of graduate studies, we encourage a combination of geographic-chronological and thematic-comparative fields, including fields involving faculty outside the department. We also offer the possibility of creating a constructed field tailored to individual interests.

We now offer a MA/MS Degree in History and Information Science (dual degree). We do not have an independent MA degree in History.

Intellectual community: Colloquia, reading groups, lectures by visiting scholars, and other events--in the department and across the university--are a key feature of our academic life.

Professional development and career diversity: Throughout the year, department-sponsored workshops provide fora for students to develop dissertation topics, prepare grant proposals, polish thesis chapters, practice job talks, and sharpen interview skills. We are committed to on-going professional development and to the recognition that a history PhD develops knowledge and skills applicable to a wide variety of careers. Our department is closely involved with the American Historical Association’s Career Diverstiy project and in 2019, was selected as one of five history departments for participation in the American Association of University's PhD Education Initiative

Teaching: The department offers graduate students the opportunity to enter the classroom as teaching assistants, and on occasion as lead instructors, allowing them to develop a competitive teaching portfolio.

Graduate advising and mentoring includes diverse faculty beyond the primary advisor and a regular process of annual meetings and reporting.

Diversity: Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds--in countries of birth and education, work experience, age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability--and  we value the rich diversity of experience they bring to the community and their studies. See the University's Diversity Values Statement.

An active History Graduate Student Association also provides workshops and a chance for students to forge networks across cohorts and research interests as well as its own peer mentoring relationships. The History Department is also supportive of the work of the Graduate Employees Organization, in which many history students are active.

Career accomplishments: Many of our students have won national and international fellowships and grants and have an excellent record of employment after the PhD.

The department promotes active intellectual exchange with the many cross-disciplinary units at the university. These centers include but are not limited to the following:

For more information contact Prof. Carol Symes, Director of Graduate Studies,