Ph.D. in History

At Wayne State, you can earn a doctorate in American or European history while working with faculty who conduct pathbreaking research in a broad range of geographical and topical fields. We have a small, vibrant doctoral program, which means you will benefit from small class sizes and engaged mentoring from faculty as you develop an independent research project. Most doctoral students receive tuition scholarships for all or part of their program; some also receive funding packages that include a stipend and medical benefits and provide teaching experience.

Historically, doctoral programs prepared the next generation of scholars. Students typically sought doctorates in history to become researchers and teachers, most commonly as tenure-track and, eventually, tenured faculty members at four-year colleges and universities. In recent decades, changes to the structure of higher education mean that there are fewer permanent faculty positions. At the same time, our discipline has begun to recognize that the exceptional research, communication, and analytical skills of history Ph.Ds. are transferable skills valued in many professions.

Wayne State's doctoral program provides rigorous preparation in historical methodologies, imparts field-specific historical knowledge, offers pedagogical training and emphasizes professional development to support our students as they pursue a range of careers suited to their interests, aspirations, and personal circumstances. Our recent graduates teach at research universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and secondary schools, and work in publishing, academic administration and at nonprofit organizations.

Students often elect to earn Graduate Certificates in World History, Archival Administration, and/or Nonprofit Management concurrently with their doctorate in history. Doing so expands career opportunities after graduation.

Learn more about graduate career outcomes


All doctoral programs at Wayne State require students to complete 90 credits: 60 of these are in regular coursework, and 30 are spent researching and writing the dissertation. While most of our students enter the doctoral program with a master's in history, we do admit applicants who show exceptional promise directly from a bachelor's program. Students entering with a master's degree may transfer up to 30 credits of coursework from their M.A. toward their Ph.D., which allows them to complete their credit requirements in three-and-a-half years of full-time study. Students entering with a bachelor's degree complete their credit requirements in five years of full-time study.

View requirements


See history graduate admissions for more information.

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.

Contact 💬

Karen Marrero, history graduate director