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Graduate Program

The Penn State Department of History has reinvented itself during the past decade. Today’s department is a dynamic one ranked among the top 35 history graduate programs in the nation. Our dedicated faculty have received multiple scholarly honors, including Guggenheims, Fulbrights and ACLS awards. In order to forge an intellectual community in which graduate students are valued participants, we offer small seminars with close interaction between faculty and students and provide many opportunities for mentoring and intellectual and professional development.

We also state openly what few other departments dare: the realities of the job market in higher education are extremely grim. Because of this, we believe that the traditional model of graduate education, in which departments accept large numbers of graduate students with little concern for their fate after graduation is outmoded and irresponsible. As a result our department has made the difficult decision to narrow our admissions to focus on only four areas of departmental strength: 19th-century US, Latin America, Early Modern Global and China. We offer coursework in five other fields and strongly encourage our students to enroll in the dual-title degree programs which strengthens the already interdisciplinary nature of our department. Above all, we seek intellectually curious, highly motivated students whose interests suggest a good fit with our departmental strengths.

We offer FULL funding for all students admitted to our program Every student admitted to the Department of History's graduate program is guaranteed funding for four years (five years if entering with a BA). Students who remain in good standing receive support as teaching assistants, editorial assistants, research assistants, or research fellows. In addition we offer generous summer funding and annual awards to support exceptional research and teaching.

We offer dual-title degrees that broadens the scope and marketability of a doctorate in history. Currently the Department of History is partnered with Women's Studies and Asian Studies to offer students interdisciplinary experience while maintaining a firm grounding in the field of History. The dual-title degrees encourage innovative scholarship unbounded by traditional disciplinary boundaries and greatly distinguish our students regardless of where they seek employment.

We have an excellent placement record.
Some 50 students have received their PhD from our department since 2000. Recent graduates (those who have graduated within the last three years) are tenure-track professors at Colorado State, Butler, Kansas State and SUNY New Paltz. Penn State PhDs in history also teach at such institutions as Iowa State University, University of Oklahoma, Michigan State, Lawrence University, George Mason University, University of West Florida, Texas Tech University, and SUNY-Geneseo.

Stay up-to-date with our graduate students:

News and Events
Graduate Student Bill Cossen: Jeopardy Champ!
Bill Cossen has been awarded the Bernard Bellush Prize
Rob Shafer has been awarded a fellowship opportunity
David G. Smith's book has been published
Rachel Moran was featured on BackStory with the American History Guys
Bill Cossen has been awarded a research travel grant
John Hoenig's article will be published in the Winter of 2013
Sean Trainor will be presenting his paper in Washington, DC
Jan Logemann's book has been published
Evan Rothera won the Outstanding Graduate Paper Award
Alfred Wallace was awarded the Rear Admiral Ernest M. Eller Graduate Research Grant
Hongyan Xiang was granted a research travel award by the Asian Institute
Hsin-fang Wu awarded a dissertation fellowship
Bill Cossen has been awarded the Dorothy Mohler Research Grant
Courtney Rong Fu's chapter has been published
Sean Trainor has been awarded a short-term fellowship
Deirdre Fulton has accepted a new position
Bill Cossen has won the 2012 George P. Hammond prize
History Majors win three thesis awards
Will Bryan has won an award
Katie Falvo has been granted a fellowship award
Andrea Gatzke has been appointed Assistant Professor
Bill Cossen's article appears in The South Carolina Historical Magazine
David Hensley accepts position at Queens University, Belfast
Tyler Sperrazza selected for the Filson MA Fellowship
Kenneth Ristau has accepted a position at MacEwan University
Courtney Rong Fu recently presented a paper at West Chester University
Michael Tuttle recently presented a paper at the R.S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology
Michael Gabriel has won an award
Jennifer J. Davis's book has been published
Christine Reese has accepted a tenure-track position with Louisiana College
Andrea Gatzke wins 2012 IAH Summer Residency
Evan Rothera receives Thomas Critchlow Award and Sigmund Strochlitz Travel Grant
John Hoenig studies quest for the 12-month tomato
Bill Cossen recently presented a paper
Hongyan Xiang's article has been published
Rachel Moran received a Postdoctoral Fellowship
Sean Trainor's articles have recently been featured
Sean Trainor was recently interviewed
Bill Cossen's article will be published
David Hensley's article will appear in the Journal of Belgian History
Bill Cossen has been awarded the Presidential Graduate Scholarship
Bill Cossen's article has been accepted for an upcoming issue
Evan Rothera received a Filson Fellowship
Utsa Ray, a 2009 PhD graduate, has been appointed
Bill Cossen's article has appeared in American Catholic Studies
Lauren Kaplow has accepted a visiting Assistant Professorship
Jeffrey Rop has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professorship
Tim Wesley has accepted a tenure-track position
Courtney Rong Fu has been named a 2014 Career Development Awardee
Antwain Hunter has accepted a tenure-track position
Sean Trainor's article has appeared in The Appendix
Eric Welch has been offered a Hill Dissertation Fellowship
Hsin-fang Wu has been named a 2014 Career Development Awardee
Sean Trainor was recently interviewed
William Cossen elected as GSA Representative
Sean Trainor awarded two fellowships
Hongyan Xiang receives USF Ricci Doctoral Research Fellowship
Three students awarded IAH Graduate Student Summer Residencies
Three students place in the Graduate School's Graduate Exhibition
Bill Cossen's paper has been accepted
Jason Strandquist has been selected as a participant
Sean Trainor was recently awarded
Mark Christensen's first book has been published
Michael Tuttle wins Clark G. Reynold Student Paper Award for his paper entitled "Women in Western Waters: Myth and Reality"
Evan Rothera presents paper entitled “Beyond Comparative Emancipation: Comparative Reconstructions as a Category of Analysis" at an international conference in Germany
Evan Rothera presents paper at interdisciplinary conference at Chestnut Hill College
Rachel Moran presents paper, awarded NSF travel grant
Chris Hayashida-Knight has received a research grant
Sean Trainor has been awarded a fellowship
The Richards Center and our graduate students were featured in an article
Hongyan Xiang recently gave a talk at the University of Toronto
Karen Younger (PhD, 2006) has accepted a position
Will Bryan has been selected as a nominee
Bill Cossen was recently interviewed
Will Bryan received a Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Paul Matzko has been awarded the LA External Funding Incentive Award
Sean Trainor's article appeared as this fall's cover article in Early American Studies
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