Welcome to the graduate program in History, ranked in 2020 by US News and World Report in the top-30 nationwide (and the top-14 among public universities). A distinctive feature of the program is its strong emphasis on transnational and world history. While faculty and graduate students usually work in a regional field—North America, Latin America, East Asia, South Asia, Europe, Middle East, or Africa—they approach their areas with a commitment to transnational and interdisciplinary approaches.
The makeup of our faculty and graduate program fosters dialogue and collaboration across national and regional borders. Students entering the doctoral program usually complete fifteen courses prior to taking their comprehensive exams in their third year, including two quarters of History and Theory. While allowing for region-specific specialization, our courses emphasize broader themes relevant beyond national and regional borders, including the study of empire and colonialism; environment, science, and medicine; gender and sexuality; global migrations, slavery, and diasporas; and cultural and religious history. Students choose two main historical fields, which can be either geographic or thematic (or a combination of both); fields can also be individualized by students in consultation with their advisor.
All incoming Ph.D. students receive six year funding packages, including tuition, stipend, and health insurance. All packages include teaching assistantships, helping students to gain teaching experience. Additional funding opportunities exist for conference and research travel in the School of Humanities and in various programs and centers across the university.
The department offers a one-year Master’s program in History. All students admitted into the M.A. are assigned a faculty advisor who guides them through the program. Students take a total of nine courses over three quarters and complete their degree either with a Master’s thesis or a comprehensive exam.
The small size of the graduate program ensures a close relationship with faculty mentors and peers across different regional and thematic fields. Our students also benefit from close cooperation with other departments, programs, and research centers at UCI. UC Irvine is home to an excellent research library and, as part of the University of California library network, students have easy access to one of the best research collections in the world.
Students and faculty are also able to take advantage of the proximity of major research collections, including the Huntington Library, the Getty Museum and Research Institute, the Clark Library, the National Archives and Records depository in Laguna Beach, the Nixon Presidential Library, and UCI Special Collections, which has significant holdings in the Southeast Asian Archive, the Critical Theory Archive, and Orange County and California history.
The Department takes seriously the need to prepare students for a diverse set of future careers, including but not limited to academic employment in higher education, and has been a partner in the American Historical Association’s Career Diversity for Historians initiative.