Carnegie Mellon University

The Carnegie Mellon Doctoral Program in History is small by design, enabling an exceptional level of individual attention from faculty.

We strongly emphasize research training while also facilitating a range of opportunities for skill-building, not only through our coursework but also through a funded internship program, teaching experiences and training, and workshops. Students are able to take advantage of Carnegie Mellon University and its diverse strengths in the sciences, public policy, technology, and the arts. They are also able to take advantage of a tuition exchange program, which enables them to enroll in other local universities; and more broadly, take advantage of the archival, cultural, and historical resources of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Mellon's program is based around two particular areas of faculty strength:

  • History of Science, Technology and the Environment

  • Social and Political Movements

We are particularly interested in applicants who have research and teaching interests in one of these areas. Though these are not separate programs or formal tracks within the department, these areas do pay homage to the department's longstanding areas of innovation, including as a founding institution of social history and applied history. Despite our small size, the department has at least one faculty member specializing in each of the areas of history of science, technology, health, and the environment which enables students to draw on Carnegie Mellon's research strengths in these areas.

The curriculum itself is designed to foster a broad base of historical expertise, with thematic courses offered in Race, Nation, and Empire; Environment and Technology; Social and Revolutionary Movements; Labor and Work. These areas, which cut across national and temporal boundaries, form a common basis for graduate courses. Students also take intensive seminars on research and historical methods, which include funded archival research trips, in the first two years. Because the program is small, we also build in four electives to ensure students have a chance to take courses more tailored to their specific interests.

Although our curriculum is based in part on these thematic courses, students specialize in a national or regional field. In addition to strong national/regional training, our program aims to provide students with broad exposure to transnational and comparative issues. Many of our students serve as teaching assistants in a large Global Histories course.

Our financial package includes tuition, health insurance, fees, and a living stipend. In addition, we offer several additional scholarships and research grants that make it possible for our students to attend conferences and to conduct research across the United States and abroad.

In applying to the program, it is important that prospective students seek out and find a possible advisor or advisors from the field(s) in which they wish to specialize. We strongly encourage applicants to explore the resources here including Admissions InformationAbout the Program, and Information on Current and Recent Graduate Students.

If you are unfamiliar with the process for choosing and applying to doctoral programs in history, the American Historical Association has posted a useful guide on their website.

The department’s Ph.D. program bestows a Master’s degree en route to the Ph.D. after the successful completion of four semesters of course work (with passing grades in all courses) and the production of a research paper. We do not require a Master's degree of applicants and all students complete the same course of study regardless of prior preparation.

If you have questions about our program, or would like additional information, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Christopher Phillips.

Meet our Alumni


Deirdre Clemente, Ph.D., 2010

Deirdre Clemente is a scholar of the American clothing industry and studies dress as social and cultural change.

Read more about Deirdre


Jiacheng Liu, Ph.D., 2016

Jiacheng teaches Asian history and is working on her first book manuscript on actresses and urban publics in early 20th century Beijing.

Read more about Jiacheng


Brian Robick, Ph.D., 2011

Brian has worked at the nexus of research, public education, political strategy, data analysis, and technology.

Read more about Brian

Read more about our Alumni