History, M.A., Ph.D.

Saint Louis University graduate programs in history familiarize you with the richness of the thought, culture, and society of the past. By studying the history of civilization, you’ll become acquainted with all fields in the humanities, as well as with developments in other disciplines such as law, medicine, business and technology.

About the Program

Masters students choose a specialized area of study from the following concentrations:

  • American
  • Byzantine
  • Early Modern European
  • Late Antique
  • Medieval European
  • Modern European
  • World History

Doctoral candidates can choose to specialize in medieval European, early modern European and U.S. history.

A M.A. to Ph.D. option is available. Students with a B.A. seeking admission directly to the Ph.D. program will be considered for the combined M.A./Ph.D. program.

Program Highlights

SLU’s graduate program in history is one of the oldest in the country, granting its first Ph.D. in 1919. Today we continue that tradition of excellence in graduate education, training students in a variety of historical fields. Our program's reputation is based, above all, on the strength of our faculty, whose research and publications have won national and international recognition.

Master's Curriculum and Program Details

The Master of Arts program in history requires 30 hours of coursework. Twelve hours of the coursework must be in your major field. As part of the 30 hours of coursework, you are required to take “HIST 5000,” a three-hour introductory course, and at least one research seminar. You may take other introductory courses with the approval of your adviser. A maximum of six credit hours may be taken in academic fields other than history.

A two-hour written examination in the major field is required of all M.A. students upon completion of the 30 hours of coursework.  Six hours of the total coursework may be in the form of a thesis directed by a member of the Department of History. You will be permitted to take no more than six hours advanced undergraduate courses as part of your overall program.  

Ph.D. Curriculum and Program Details

For the Ph.D. in history, 27 hours of coursework beyond the M.A. are required, or 36 hours if pursuing the combined M.A./Ph.D. A minimum of 12 hours in the primary field and six hours in the secondary field are required.

At least one research seminar must be taken in both the major and minor fields. The remaining hours are flexible. None of the doctoral courses may be at the undergraduate level and no more than six hours may be taken in a related department without the permission of the director of graduate studies.

Following the completion of your coursework, you must complete and pass a comprehensive examination which has both written and oral components.

The written examination consists of two four-hour written examinations, one each in the major and minor fields. The examinations are based on the texts on the preparatory reading list and selected by you from a set of choices developed by the examiners. The oral examination committee is comprised of the three faculty members on your dissertation committee and two other faculty agreed upon by you and your adviser in consultation with the graduate director and the department chair. The oral examination lasts two hours and is taken the week following the written examinations. The examination committee will ask you about your written examination, as well as texts on the preparatory reading list.

Following successful completion of the oral examination, you will meet with your adviser and the chair of the history department to discuss and give final approval to the prospectus. You will then file an approved copy of the dissertation prospectus with the College of Arts and Sciences and proceed to write the dissertation. Twelve credit hours are given for the writing of the dissertation. Completed dissertations are assessed by the committee and are formally accepted after a public defense.

  • Douglas Boin, Ph.D.
  • Flannery Burke, Ph.D.
  • Thomas J. Finan, Ph.D.
  • Philip R. Gavitt, Ph.D.
  • Claire Gilbert, Ph.D.
  • Lorri Glover, Ph.D.
  • Torrie Hester, Ph.D.
  • Thomas F. Madden, Ph.D.
  • Filippo Marsili, Ph.D.
  • Nathaniel Millett, Ph.D.
  • George O. Ndege, Ph.D.
  • Jennifer J. Popiel, Ph.D.
  • Michal Jan Rozbicki, Ph.D. (habil)
  • Mark E. Ruff, Ph.D.:
  • Daniel L. Schlafly Jr., Ph.D.
  • Steven A. Schoenig, S.J., Ph.D.
  • Silvana R. Siddali, Ph.D.
  • Damian J. Smith, Ph.D.
  • Katrina D. Thompson, Ph.D.
  • Warren Treadgold, Ph.D.
  • Luke Yarbrough, Ph.D.
After graduating, you might pursue a career as a history teacher, congressional aide, foreign service officer or historic site director.  
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2017-2018 Tuition and Fees
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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Saint Louis University’s history department offers a number of teaching and research assistantships as well as fellowships to assist graduate students: two years of funding for master's students (merit-based and renewed with demonstrative advancement of thesis/research) and three years of funding for Ph.D. students (merit-based and renewed with demonstrative advancement of dissertation/research).

Students holding teaching assistantships will be assigned to lead weekly discussion sections in introductory history classes. Advanced students will also be offered opportunities to teach their own undergraduate courses. 

Applicant Criteria

Standardized test scores are considered as well as GPA and English proficiency (if applicable). Each item in the application package is required for an applicant to be reviewed.

For the M.A. program, the ordinary prerequisite is a B.A. in history (or at least 18 hours of successful work in upper-division courses in history), though students from other fields with strong backgrounds in history will also receive consideration. Applicants with different majors who possess strong backgrounds in history will be considered.

Language Requirements

Proof of competency in one foreign language is required through a written examination administered by the department or successful completion of graduate translation courses.

Doctoral students in medieval and early modern European history are required to display reading proficiency in Latin as well as one additional foreign language. All other Ph.D. students must demonstrate proficiency in two foreign languages. For doctoral students in U.S. history, approved courses in research methods may replace the second language.

You’ll need the following items to apply:


Application Requirements

Three letters of recommendation
GRE score
Professional goal statement
Writing sample

Requirements for International Students

Application and Assistantship Deadline

Submit your application for the following fall semester by Jan. 15.

Review Process

A standing graduate applicant review committee meets just after the expiration of the application deadline. The committee reviews each item of every complete application. The committee makes its applicant selections by the beginning of March.


U.S. News & World Report

Saint Louis University’s Ph.D. in history is ranked as one of the top 100 doctoral history programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.