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

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, History Department

    Research Interests

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

  • JoAnna Poblete profile image

    JoAnna Poblete

    Associate Professor of History

    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

  • Janet Farrell Brodie profile image

    Janet Farrell Brodie

    Professor of History
    Professor Emerita

    Research Interests

    Cold War, War and American history, Women and gender, nuclear and radiation history, nuclear secrecy

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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David Altman

Associate Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-1706 (Direct)
T: 909-607-7811 (Central Admissions)