Areas of Study

Students in the MA and PhD programs are admitted into divisions, which are broadly defined chronological/geographical/topical categories.  Departmental divisions are: Africa & the Middle East; Ancient Mediterranean & Late Antique Near East; Asia – Pre-History to Present; Comparative History; Europe – Medieval to Modern Times; History of Science; Latin America; Russia & Central Asia; United States. More about these fields, and the faculty who supervise them, can be found by consulting the links at the left side of this page.

When applying, students indicate desired fields and proposed faculty to supervise each field.  This helps the admissions committee understand the student's interest and expertise, but it is does not formally establish a committee, which is formed once the students are in the program.  

All students preparing fields should consult closely with the relevant faculty to ensure a mutual understanding of how their fields are to be defined for the purposes of examination.  Each of the student's two MA or four PhD fields must be different in content.  A single faculty member cannot supervise more than one field.  At both the MA and PhD level, adjunct faculty members do not normally supervise primary fields.  Fields within the Comparative History division (Comparative Colonialisms, Comparative Gender, Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism, and Historiography) cannot constitute a student's primary field at the MA or PhD level.

MA students can choose either two fields from a single division, or a cross-divisional MA with two fields from two different divisions.  PhD students choose four fields drawn from at least two divisions.  PhD students should ensure that at least one of their four fields offers genuine diversity from their primary area of concentration.  A PhD student may choose to present one other field involving work in another department of the University, and supervised by faculty from that other department.  An outside field should be of particular methodological and/or comparative value to the student's doctoral program and should contribute to the program's intellectual coherence.