The PhD program in History offers a broad-based, humanistic education that equips you with the research, analytical, and communication skills critical for meaningful careers in the field of History.

The PhD program in History enables you to conduct research at the highest level and begin your career as an academic historian or prepare for a wide range of academic and professional careers. You’ll work alongside CGU faculty-scholars who specialize in U.S. and European history and draw on expert faculty from the highly ranked Claremont Colleges as well. With abundant opportunities to traverse disciplines and bring diverse ideas together, you will engage in first-rate historical scholarship. The result: an in-depth education in history with a breadth of expertise and an instructional environment unmatched by most larger universities.

Program Highlights
  • The Libraries of the Claremont Colleges are among the largest collections in California, and the Huntington Library, one of the world’s finest research libraries for English and American history, is nearby.
  • You can pursue a PhD in History in conjunction with another degree program at CGU. You receive a diploma for each degree and “double count” some units from one program to the other to decrease your required total units.

Program at a Glance

72 units

4-7 years

*Actual completion times will vary and may be higher, depending on full- or part-time course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.

Fall | Spring


PhD in History

Featured Courses

HIST 315
Museums, History & Story Telling

Explores the theory, methods, and politics of museum exhibitions through a partnership between the Autry Museum of the American West and Claremont Graduate University.

HIST 367
Nuclear America

Studies the powerful and pervasive effects of nuclear energy—military, commercial, and civilian—on the U.S. from 1945 to the present with an additional focus on such global events as Chernobyl and Fukushima.

HIST 323
Reformation Europe

Explores the Protestant Reformation and its aftermaths and backlashes in Europe and the British Isles, as presented in recent and classic historiography.

HIST 321
Texts & Context: America to 1776

Undertakes a close reading of such primary texts as sermons, diaries, and cartographic records, within the context of recent historiography of Colonial/British America.

HIST 390
The Spanish Civil War & Interwar Crisis

Explores how the Spanish Civil War pre-figured the greater ideological confrontation that dominated Europe in the 1930s between fascism, communism, and democracy.

HIST 380
Survey of 19th & 20th Century Europe

Focuses on the profound political, cultural, intellectual, social and economic changes that defined this period, its revolutions, democratization, World Wars, and more.



  • History 300 (4 units)
  • One Transdisciplinary course (4 units)
  • Ten History elective courses (40 units)
  • Six elective courses (24 units)

Up to 24 units transfer credit from previous graduate work in History may be substituted for the elective coursework requirements.

Research Tools Requirement

  • Two foreign languages (or one foreign language and one research tool)

Research Papers

  • Two substantive research papers

PhD Completion

  • PhD qualifying exams
  • Dissertation proposal
  • Written dissertation and oral defense
Oral History Program

Inaugurated in 1962, the Claremont Graduate University Oral History Program has amassed an impressive collection of interviews with persons whose life experiences merited preservation and special projects, such as China Missionaries Oral History Project, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. It is a premier resource for research into the history of The Claremont Colleges and California state government and politics.


Faculty & Research

Matthew Bowman profile image

Matthew Bowman

Associate Professor of Religion and History
Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies

Research Interests

Mormonism, new religious movements, evangelicalism, religion and American politics

Joshua Goode profile image

Joshua Goode

Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and History
Chair, Cultural Studies (Fall 2022)

Research Interests

Modern Spain, 19th- and 20th-century Europe, Genocide and racial thought, Museums and commemoration, Memory

JoAnna Poblete profile image

JoAnna Poblete

Professor of History
John D. and Lillian Maguire Distinguished Professor in the Humanities
Chair, History Department

Research Interests

Colonialism and empire, unincorporated territories, migration and labor, comparative ethnic studies, Asian-American and Pacific Islander studies, 20th-century United States, indigenous issues, environmental history, oral history, U.S. expansionism


Extended Faculty

Shane Bjornlie

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Late Antique history, Roman history

Myriam Chancy

Scripps College

Research Interests

African diaspora with specialization in its literature

Lily Geismer

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

20th century liberalism in the United States, Fair housing, Liberal religion and politics

George Gorse

Pomona College

Research Interests

Italian Renaissance art and architecture, Italian Baroque art and architecture, Medieval art history, History of cities, palaces, villas, and gardens, History of Genoa

Daniel Livesay

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Early American and Atlantic history; Race, family, and slavery in North America and the Caribbean

Charles Lofgren

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

American Constitutionalism, American founding, Constitutional law, Military history, War and foreign relations

Char Miller

Pomona College

Research Interests

U.S. environmental policy, U.S. public-lands management, Western water politics, Immigration and border security, Urban politics and development, U.S. intellectual and cultural history

Harmony O’Rourke

Pitzer College

Research Interests

Cultural and social history of early modern and modern Africa, Global diasporas, Gender and sexuality, West Africa, Slavery, Colonialism, Oral history

Albert Park

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

Design & architecture, East Asian history & political economy, Korean history, Modern Japanese history

Ralph Rossum

Claremont McKenna College

Research Interests

American Constitutionalism, American Founding, Constitutional Law, Crime and Criminal Justice, Indian Gaming Issues, Redistricting, Supreme Court, Voting Rights

Victor Silverman

Pomona College

Research Interests

U.S. History, Alcohol and Drug Studies, History of Sexual/Gender Minorities, The Cold War, Labor Unions, International Labor Movements, U.S. and Britain, San Francisco Bay Area History, California History, Sustainable Development Policy

Current Student

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Interdisciplinary Concentrations

As a student in the School of Arts & Humanities, you have the option of completing one of five interdisciplinary concentrations.

American Studies

The American Studies concentration takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of United States culture, society, civilization, and identity through the curricular lenses of history, literature, critical theory, and more.

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Early Modern Studies

The Early Modern Studies concentration undertakes interdisciplinary examination of history, culture, politics, and society within the transitional and transformative period that stretched between Medieval and modern societies, marked especially by the advent of print, Christian confessional war, and the rise of the modern state.

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Hemispheric & Transnational Studies

A comparative analysis of culture in the Americas, the concentration in Hemispheric & Transnational Studies explores how scholarship on the Atlantic, borderlands, and diaspora have reshaped U.S. American Studies, Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Studies, emphasizing the topics of empire, race, religion, and revolution.

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Media Studies

Situated at the bustling intersection of cultural studies, new media, critical theory, and popular culture, the burgeoning field of Media Studies examines the creative and critical practices of media consumers, producers, artists, and scholars, focusing on questions of representation, power, technology, politics, and economy.

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Museum Studies

The Museum Studies concentration investigates the history and political role of museums in society, the interpretation and display of a wide variety of cultural productions, and topics of special concern to museums as cultural organizations, using a multidisciplinary, practice-based approach to understand the historical development of this evolving field.

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These concentrations are available for students pursuing the following degree programs:

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Jill Steggall

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-1186