Highlights of our Graduate Program

Our program has a strong commitment to excellence in research, inclusivity, and pedagogy. Our small program provides more opportunity for students to work closely with nationally- and internationally- recognized scholars, which makes CU-Boulder an exciting and rewarding place to earn an M.A. or Ph.D.

Financial Support

We offer full financial support (tuition, fees, and stipend) to all our graduate students, both at the M.A. and the PhD levels.  

Collegiality and Inclusivity

Our department prides itself on its collegiality. We foster an atmosphere that is not just intellectually challenging, but also supportive and inclusive. We believe that our community and our profession require and benefit from the participation and leadership of students, faculty, and staff who come from a wide array of backgrounds and see the world through a wide range of perspectives. We include graduate student representatives in our Graduate Studies Committee, and we have a vibrant graduate student leadership (History Graduate Student Association) that works as a liaison between graduate students and the department leadership. Please also check out our Statement of Inclusive Excellence.

Innovative Training

Two hallmarks of our graduate curriculum help to differentiate our program from many of our competitors. First, we require students to pursue a two-field degree. This means that you will divide your time between a major field (the U.S., Europe, or Asia) and what we call a Global/Thematic field. This approach helps our students to develop a breadth of historical and methodological expertise, as well as a fuller understanding of how transnational dynamics and comparative contexts have shaped national and regional histories.

Second, we require our graduate students to submit and defend a portfolio in lieu of the conventional comprehensive exam that history graduate programs have traditionally required. The basic mission of the portfolio is:

  • to give students a chance to connect the different kind of coursework that the students have taken;
  • to train students in the art and craft of revision;
  • to prepare students to teach courses of their own;
  • and to set up students for success in their Ph.D. dissertation and/or post-graduate career.

Developing Alternative Career Paths

The CU-Boulder History Department recognizes that tenure-track academic employment has become increasingly difficult to secure, but also that graduate study in our discipline offers excellent preparation for a variety of rewarding and socially valuable careers. We have therefore begun to devote additional time and resources to preparing our graduate students for non-academic professions. We have striven in recent years to strengthen our pedagogy at every level. Graduate students, who serve as teaching assistants as well as instructors-of-record in our department, have been integral to these efforts. Several of our students have brought the skills thus acquired to K-12 classrooms in both public and private schools.

More recently, we have also launched the Roaring Fork Public Engagement and Professional Development Internships, which support students to develop internship opportunities with stipends of $5,000 each. With departmental funding and support, our graduate students have the opportunity to explore careers in academic publishing, archives, and museum work; they also enable our students to bring their knowledge to bear—and, in turn, to learn from—experiences in local historical societies, as well as libraries in Boulder and on the Navajo Nation. Both the Roaring Fork Internships and our involvement in historical pedagogy demonstrate our departments commitment to contributing to communities throughout Colorado and beyond.

Please consult our FAQ page for more details. Please also consult our Graduate Handbook, which lays out all of our programs requirements and rules.

For questions about our Graduate program which are not answered by a careful reading of the material on this and the Graduate School websites, contact us at histgrad@Colorado.EDU

Looking for a PhD Dissertation written for the History Department at the University of Colorado Boulder?  You can find many of them at ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.