How Do I Get a PhD in American History?

Getting a PhD in American history can be an exciting and rewarding journey for those who are passionate about the subject. Pursuing a PhD requires dedication, hard work, and a strong academic background. Below are some steps to follow if you are interested in getting a PhD in American history.

Step 1: Choose a Specialization

The first step to getting a PhD in American history is to choose a specialization. American history is a vast field with many different areas of study. Some popular specializations include colonial America, the Civil War era, modern America, and the history of politics or social movements.

Step 2: Research Graduate Programs

Once you have chosen your specialization, it’s time to research graduate programs that offer PhDs in American history. Look for schools that have a strong reputation for their history departments and have professors who specialize in your chosen area of study.

Tip: Use online resources such as U.S News & World Report’s ranking of graduate programs to help narrow down your search.

Step 3: Prepare Your Application

Preparing your application will be crucial to getting accepted into the program of your choice. Most graduate programs require transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and writing samples. Be sure to pay close attention to each school’s specific requirements.


  • Start preparing early so you have plenty of time to gather all necessary documents.
  • Edit and proofread your personal statement and writing samples carefully.
  • Ask professors or other professionals who know you well for letters of recommendation.

Step 4: Complete Coursework

Once accepted into a program, you will need to complete coursework before moving on to research and dissertation writing. Coursework will typically cover a broad range of topics related to American history, as well as courses specific to your chosen specialization.

Tip: Work closely with your advisor to choose the courses that will best prepare you for your research and dissertation.

Step 5: Conduct Research and Write Your Dissertation

The final step in earning a PhD in American history is conducting research and writing your dissertation. Your dissertation should be a significant contribution to the field of American history and should demonstrate your expertise in your chosen area of study.

Tip: Start thinking about your dissertation early on in the program and work closely with your advisor throughout the research and writing process.

In Conclusion

Getting a PhD in American history requires dedication, hard work, and a strong academic background. By choosing a specialization, researching graduate programs, preparing your application, completing coursework, conducting research, and writing your dissertation, you can earn a PhD that will prepare you for a career in academia or other areas where expertise in American history is valued.