Graduate Program Overview
The goal of the doctoral program is to train students to become both skilled scholars and conscientious teachers. Throughout the program students work with advisors and other faculty members as they engage in coursework, prepare for and take the general exam, work as teaching fellows, and research and write the dissertation. On average it takes seven years to receive the doctoral degree*. Most graduates have pursued academic careers at universities and colleges in the United States and abroad, while others have gone on to successful careers in law and in government.
As a large research university, Harvard offers many resources and opportunities for its students in the form of lectures, conferences, research centers, fellowships, and grants. Students have access to the more than 80 libraries and 15 million volumes that comprise the Harvard University Library, the largest university library in the world.
Additionally, students may take courses offered by other departments in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, or at other Harvard schools, such as Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Harvard Kennedy School.
In coordination with Harvard Law School, students may pursue both a PhD in history and a JD at the Law School. To learn more about this course of study consult the Coordinated JD/PhD program overview.
* The History Department does not offer a terminal master's program.