The Boston College History Department’s M.A. and Ph.D. programs attract talented students from the United States and around the world. The M.A. program prepares students for a broad range of careers in public history, education, publishing, and elsewhere. The goal of the Ph.D. program is to produce historians who are both leading scholars and distinguished teachers. While most graduates of the doctoral program become academic historians, the department is committed to assisting students who are interested in positions in university administration, museums, archives, and research institutes.
The department has long had strengths in European and U.S. history, but emerging areas of faculty expertise and graduate student interest include South and East Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. The department offers training in a range of comparative and global fields, with particular interest in the history of religion, global and international history, the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic world.
The History Department matriculates a small group of masters’ and doctoral students each September and the small size of the program ensures individualized attention and flexibility in the plan of study. All Ph.D. students are guaranteed funding through the fifth year of the program, assuming satisfactory progress towards the degree. Doctoral students first gain teaching experience as teaching assistants in the university’s core history sequence and later teach their own core courses as well as classes in their area of expertise.
Historians at Boston College benefit from our location in one of the world’s great centers of academic life. A range of neighboring universities, libraries, and cultural institutions enrich all of our work. Ongoing collaborations with Brandeis, Tufts and Boston Universities allow our students to tap into a remarkable network of world-class scholars. Several students and faculty also participate in seminars and conferences at the Center for European Studies, the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and the South Asia Center at Harvard, as well as the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies at M.I.T.
Seminars and lectures at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts bring together lively communities of scholars interested in history as well as neighboring disciplines. Historians at Boston College have access to the collections of the Boston Library Consortium, a network of 19 academic and research libraries in New England. In sum, Boston is unparalleled for pursuing advanced study in history.
Upon completion of the Ph.D. graduates should be able to:
- Develop their own historical questions and hypotheses and carry out an historical research project.
- Write academic articles and reviews at the scholarly level in informed, intelligible prose.
- Publish their research in peer-reviewed journals and present papers at conferences.
- Possess research competency in two languages (three in the case of medievalists).
- Teach effectively courses in History, both at the introductory and advanced level, in the community college, 4-year college, or university setting.
- Uphold the professional and ethical standards of the discipline.
Upon completion of the M.A. graduates should be able to:
- Have broad knowledge of theory and research across two concentrations or subfields.
- Demonstrate deeper knowledge of one major historical concentration or subfield.
- Communicate research findings effectively in written and spoken presentations.
- Possess research competency in one language.
- Uphold professional and ethical standards in the discipline.