Doctor of Philosophy in History

Attainment of the Ph.D. requires mastery of selected historical fields and a demonstrated ability to conduct original research. The department expects all of its Ph.D. students to locate and classify historical evidence from historical sources, to interpret the evidence, and to present its synthesis in written and oral forms. Ph.D. students must be able to use research tools such as foreign languages and, in some cases, statistics.

Wayne State University is a leading research institution:

  • The WSU Library System ranks 48th of the top 100 research libraries in the nation
  • The Reuther Archives, established in 1960, is one of the premier archives of American labor history and affiliated social movements
  • The Burton Collection of the Detroit Public Library system is a nationally-recognized research center for the history of Michigan and the Midwest
  • The Louise Lovett Wright Research Library of the Wright Museum of African American History is a new and growing collection for scholars in the field of African American history, featuring a concentration on regional history and a growing collection of oral histories

The doctoral dissertation is the culmination of the historian's training and constitutes an enlargement of our knowledge and understanding of history.

  • Fulfillment of all requirements for the Ph.D. usually involves at least four years of full-time study and 90 credits, 30 of which are concentrated in dissertation research and writing
  • Students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years

Students often elect to earn graduate certificates in world historyarchival administration, and/or nonprofit management concurrently with their doctorate in history. Doing so expands career opportunities after graduation. 


For more information regarding this program, please email History Graduate Director Tracy Neumann at

Application deadline

  • January 15 for admission the following fall

Please review the admissions section of the graduate handbook (PDF) for instructions on how to prepare your application materials.

Career insights