Ph.D. in History
The department offers graduate programs in two broad areas:
- America, with tracks in the history of the United States and in the history of the Atlantic World, and
- Modern Europe, with tracks in the history of the Holocaust and in Genocide Studies. (Please note that applicants to the modern Europe program must intend to pursue one of these two specialized tracks.)
Both of these areas of study are augmented by instruction in non-Western areas. The department has particular depth in women's history (European, American, and Chinese), American diplomatic history, and Holocaust and Genocide history. Our close ties with the American Antiquarian Society and Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge are wonderful assets for graduate students studying in United States history. The department offers a graduate internship for credit at Old Sturbridge Village.
The Clark University History Department is small, and of unusually high quality, activity, and visibility in the field. Because of our size and activity, and because we consider it vital to give proper mentoring and attention to each of our graduate students, we admit only a few graduate students each year. This close mentoring has resulted in some of our students having articles and conference papers accepted by professional journals and organizations before they have even begun their dissertations. At the same time, we admit a sufficient number of students to form a critical mass for the social and intellectual fellowship vital to a healthy learning environment. In addition, the requirement that students take some courses outside of history enlarges the graduate community as well as the intellectual horizons of our students.
The small size of the program allows us to be flexible. Our students' programs are individually designed, enhanced by taking individual research or readings courses with our faculty.
Smallness has obvious disadvantages as well as advantages. We expect our applicants to have considered our areas of specialization in their decision to apply, but in special cases, the department does make ad hoc arrangements for access to the expertise that it lacks, for example by arranging a directed reading with a scholar at another institution.
Graduate course work includes reading seminars (colloquia), research seminars, and individual tutorials for both reading and research purposes. Graduate students may also register in upper-division undergraduate courses at a graduate level that requires more intensive work. First- and second-year students in the doctoral program take three courses each semester, one of which must be expressly devoted to the production of a research paper. Faculty advisors help incoming students design their programs, which may include courses in other departments or colleges in the Worcester Consortium. In addition to meeting the 12-course requirement, a student who enters without an M.A. degree usually spends at least two full-time years at Clark, must satisfy the language requirement, teach at the college level, pass the preliminary examination, and write a doctoral dissertation within seven years of matriculation. (Residency for part-time Ph.D. students is defined in terms of courses taken.)