Graduate Study

A Ph.D. in History

Graduate students in Rice University's History Department summon all the advantages of a comprehensive research university in an intimate, collaborative setting. Our program is primarily devoted to training our Ph.D. candidates for careers as professional research scholars in academic institutions.

Key features that set us apart from other graduate programs:

Teaching Excellence

Our faculty values close research collaborations and mentorship, and their publications and awards are a testament to that.  Our students also have the opportunity to work with faculty outside of History, and our professors' work with students outside of the department.

Intimate and Collaborative Learning Environment

Unlike many other graduate history programs, Rice University does not require graduate students to serve as instructors; although there are many opportunities to teach, including courses the students have developed themselves.

Financial Support

The combination of a five year stipend, research funding and conference travel funding place Rice's graduate program in History at the top level of support for Ph.D. candidates.
Competitive universities may offer a larger stipend, but this may also entail years of teaching duties, strictly limited research funding or competition for stipends after year two. None of which apply to graduates attending the Department of History at Rice University.

Multiple Areas of Study

The Department of History welcomes applications from highly motivated undergraduates as well as Masters degree-holders. Our faculty members will direct dissertations in:

  • U.S. history - Within U.S. history, the department offers particular strengths in nineteenth-century U.S. history, missionary studies, early North America, slavery, race, and Southern history—a field enhanced by the presence of the Journal of Southern History on campus.

  • Atlantic World history

  • Latin American and Caribbean history - Our strengths are in the history of Brazil, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

  • The Dual Degree with UNICAMP - Qualified students may pursue a second Ph.D. in history from Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil.

  • The history of transnational Asia and the Middle East - Doctoral study in transnational Asia is enhanced by the faculty’s strengths in gender and intellectual history and by the presence of Rice University’s Chao Center for Asian Studies and the interdisciplinary journal positions: asia critique, which is housed in the History Department.

  • The history of the U.S. and the World

  • The department also offers examination fields in

    • African history

    • European history

    • World history

Numerous department faculty have expertise in early modern and modern colonialism.  All graduate students are trained with an emphasis on transnational approaches to the study of the past.  Programs such as the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research offer additional opportunities for interdisciplinary graduate work.

Rice University is located in the nationally recognized medical center area. Also within walking distance are the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Houston Museum of Natural Science. Only a few miles from downtown Houston, occupying an architecturally distinctive, 285-acre campus shaded by nearly 4,000 trees, Rice University is an optimal environment for learning and research. Take a glimpse of our beautiful campus via the campus virtual tour.

For more information, please download the graduate studies brochure.