About the Program
The Department of History offers a PhD program in History. The program prepares the student in four selected fields of study: Three fields of history (called the first, second, and third field) and one field in another discipline (called the outside field). Students indicate their choice of the first field at the time of application to the program, and they decide upon the second, third, and outside fields by the end of the first year of study.
The department represents a rich spectrum of research interests, collaborations, and approaches spanning 16 established fields of history: Africa, Ancient Greece and Rome, Byzantine, Early Modern Europe, East Asia: China, East Asia: Japan, Global, Jewish, Late Modern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Medieval Europe, Middle East, North America, Science, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The depth and breadth of our program and the strengths of our faculty members, students, and other professionals provide an especially stimulating and congenial setting for graduate training.
Admission to the University
Applying for Graduate Admission
Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. A complete list of graduate academic departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.
Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application can be found on the Graduate Division website.
The minimum graduate admission requirements are:
A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and
Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.
Where to apply?
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
PhD Program Requirements at a Glance
Students should make progress toward completing graduate coursework and language requirements as outlined in the History Graduate Program Guide. Students must pass a third-semester examination concentrating on their first field2 prior to the start of their fourth semester. Before taking the doctoral qualifying examination, students must satisfy all course and language requirements. Students must take the PhD qualifying examination no later than the end of the spring semester of the third year, for students in a six-year field, and by the end of the spring semester of the fourth year, for students in a seven-year field. Advancement to doctoral candidacy immediately follows the qualifying exam upon approval of a dissertation committee and written dissertation prospectus. After advancing, students will continue to be enrolled and submit annual progress reports. Final completion of the PhD requires submission and approval of the dissertation.
Program Fields of Concentration
The program prepares the student in four selected fields of study: three fields of History (called the first, second, and third field) and one field in another discipline (called the fourth or outside field). Students indicate their choice of the first field at the time of application to the program and they decide upon the second, third, and outside fields by the end of the second year of study. Students are bound by normative time requirements of the first field. The graduate advisers committee must formally approve the selection of these fields, normally by the end of the second year.
2. Ancient Greece and Rome
4. Early Modern Europe
5. East Asia: China
6. East Asia: Japan
8. Jewish History
9. Late Modern Europe
10. Latin America and the Caribbean
11. Medieval Europe
12. Middle East
13. North America
15. South Asia
16. Southeast Asia
PhD Coursework Requirements
Students complete a minimum of 34 course units, not including language, and maintain a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 (3.5 or above in history graduate courses). Courses that are being applied to the program must be taken for a letter grade. The program of study must conform to the following guidelines:
A. 16 units in the first field: two graduate seminars in any combination of 275s and 280s (both must be completed by the end of the first year) and two 285s (one should be completed by the end of the first year if possible).
Students in the fields of East Asia: China and East Asia: Japan have one additional required 4 unit seminar. Students in East Asia: China must take a reading seminar (280) or a survey seminar (275) in Japanese history. Students in East Asia: Japan must take a reading or survey seminar in Chinese history. Exceptions require the approval of the graduate advisor committee.
Students in the field of History of Science must take, in addition to other required coursework, the historical colloquium (290) in each semester of their first two years. The 290 is worth 1 unit and is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.
B. 4 units in the second (thematic) and 4 units in the third (limited regional/temporal) fields: graduate seminars in any combination of 275s and 280s.
C. 3 to 4 units in the fourth/outside field: one graduate-level graded course in a field and department other than history.
D. 4 units of methodology: Historical Method and Theory (283). Students are required to take this in their first semester.
E. 2 units of pedagogy: Teaching History Pedagogy Seminar (375). A pedagogy course is required of all first-time graduate student instructors (GSIs). Students are required to take the Department of History’s 375 during their second semester.
PhD Foreign Language Requirements
The language requirements for the PhD vary by field between one and four. Students whose field requires two or more languages are advised to come to the program with significant preparation in the languages most critical to the field (e.g., students in medieval history should have intermediate Latin at the time of application). Students should attempt to complete one foreign language applicable to the selected field by the end of the first year. Please see history.berkeley.edu for a list of language requirements by field and for options for fulfilling the language requirements. Students must satisfy all language requirements before taking the doctoral qualifying examination. Faculty in the field can help students make a plan for completing the requirements.
|Seminars Available - all fields 1|
|These are the graduate seminars. Topics and offerings vary by semester.|
|HISTORY 200X||Special Topics: Short Course||1-2|
|HISTORY C231||Japanese Studies: Past, Present... and Future?||2|
|HISTORY C250||Topics in Science and Technology Studies||3|
|HISTORY C251||Science and Technology Studies Research Seminar||3|
|HISTORY 275A||Core Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: Ancient||4|
|HISTORY 275B||Core Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: Europe||4|
|HISTORY 275D||Core Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: United States||4|
|HISTORY 275E||Core Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: Latin America||4|
|HISTORY 275F||Core Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: Asia||4|
|HISTORY 275S||Core Courses in the Literature of the Several Fields of History: History of Science||4|
|HISTORY 280A||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Ancient||4|
|HISTORY 280B||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Europe||4|
|HISTORY 280D||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: United States||4|
|HISTORY 280E||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Latin America||4|
|HISTORY 280F||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Asia||4|
|HISTORY 280G||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Asia (For Ph.D. Candidates)||4|
|HISTORY 280H||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Africa||4|
|HISTORY 280N||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Canada||4|
|HISTORY 280S||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: History of Science||4|
|HISTORY 280U||Advanced Studies: Sources/General Literature of the Several Fields: Studies in Comparative History||4|
|HISTORY 285A||Research Seminars: Ancient||4|
|HISTORY 285B||Research Seminars: Europe||4|
|HISTORY 285D||Research Seminars: United States||4|
|HISTORY 285E||Research Seminars: Latin America||4|
|HISTORY 285F||Research Seminars: Asia||4|
|HISTORY 285H||Research Seminars: Africa||4|
|HISTORY 285L||Research Seminars: Legal History||4|
|HISTORY 285S||Research Seminars: History of Science||4|
|HISTORY 285U||Research Seminars: Studies in Comparative History||4|
|HISTORY 281||Paleography and Other Auxiliary Sciences||4|
|HISTORY 283||Historical Method and Theory||4|
|HISTORY 290||Historical Colloquium||1|
|HISTORY 375||Teaching History at the University||2|
|Independent Study Units:|
|HISTORY 296||Directed Dissertation Research||3-12|
|HISTORY 299||Directed Reading||1-4|
|HISTORY 601||Individual Study for Master's Students||1-8|
|HISTORY 602||Individual Study for Doctoral Students||1-8|
Africa; Ancient Greece and Rome; Byzantine; Early Modern Europe; East Asia-China; East Asia-Japan; Global; Jewish History; Late Modern Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; Medieval Europe; Middle East; North America; Science; South Asia; Southeast Asia.
In the third semester, all students are examined for general command of the history and scholarship in their first field. Students taking the exam will be expected to display, at minimum, textbook-level knowledge of their fields and/or a thorough mastery of the materials covered in the courses they have taken at Berkeley. A minimum program of three seminars or its equivalent (275s, 280s, and/or 285s), two of which must be in the first field, is a prerequisite to the examination. Examinations may be oral or written or both (depending on the field) and are graded pass/fail.
MA students in Ancient Greece and Rome define their field as either Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome; PhD students define their field as Ancient Greece and Rome or Rome and Late Antiquity.
Department of History
3229 Dwinelle Hall
Cathryn Carson, PhD
3303 Dwinelle Hall
Graduate Student Affairs Officer
3310 Dwinelle Hall
Graduate Admissions & Career Development Advisor
3312 Dwinelle Hall