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We have 6 American History PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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American History PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 6 American History PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

PhD in American History

A PhD in American History enabled students to research into the interesting past of the American continent. A PhD in history can be refined by a specific location, period, theme or case study. With its rich past students may be interested in studying colonisation, political history, warfare or even economics. By the end of the PhD you should have produced a dissertation of unique research that contributes to the overall field of American History.

What’s it like to do a PhD in American History?

During the PhD you will be expected to actively engage in a range of primary sources and contextualise your conclusions in the wider secondary literature. Some popular research topics in American history include:

  • American literature
  • Civil rights
  • Colonisation
  • Criminal justice
  • Global perspectives on America
  • Indigenous culture
  • The Civil War
  • The Cold War

Students may also wish to focus on a specific state, indigenous society, or presidential period.

Most American History doctoral programmes require applicants to propose their own research project. This will form the basis for your PhD. By the end, you should have produced a thesis of around 75,000 words. This will then be assessed and critiqued in an oral viva exam.

Though less common, there are opportunities to apply for advertise PhD projects in American History. Often funded by a historical site or archive you will be asked to research a specific period and source base.

During the PhD you will spend most of your time analysing historical documents and discussing your progress with your supervisor. There will also be plenty of opportunities to share your research more widely in the academic community through conferences and publication opportunities. You may also have the opportunity to lead seminars for undergraduate students.

Depending on the availability of your sources you may be required to travel to America to access their historical archives. This will usually be in the form of at least one extended research trip during your studies.

Entry requirements

Most American History PhD programmes require applicants to have a Masters degree with Merit or Distinction in a relevant subject (such as History, Politics or Literature). Some courses may accept students without a postgraduate degree but you must have graduated from a Bachelors with at least a first and be able to demonstrate research experience.

Depending on where you choose to apply, you may also need to demonstrate a level of language proficiency in the country’s native tongue.

PhD in American History funding options

In the UK, American History PhDs are most commonly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The AHRC offers fully-funded studentships, including a tax-free stipend to cover living costs. You may also be awarded with a travel grant if you discussed the possibility of a research trip in your application. However, funding is not guaranteed and if you are applying for Research Council funding (such as from the AHRC), then you must already have an accepted place by a university. If you are applying for an advertised project, then funding will likely guaranteed, though make sure to check the details in the advertisement.

Many American History students choose to ‘self-fund’ their PhD. Often students are able to manage the financial demands of tuition through employment or the UK government’s doctoral loan scheme. Additionally, it is possible to secure grants from various sources to help cover one-off costs, such as travel.

PhD in American History careers

First and foremost a PhD in American History will prepare your for a career in research, academia and teaching. However, the transferable skills gains throughout a PhD can help you succeed in some less obvious industries. This might include civil service, project management, politics or editing. Some potential places of work may include archives, museums or publishing houses.

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Last chance to apply

Cumbria and Transatlantic Slavery, 1700-1833

Project Description. This full time, 3.5 year PhD studentship, starting in September 2024, is fully funded by the Economic & Social Sciences Research Council CASE studentship scheme (ESRC NWSSDTP), together with Keele University and Cumbria Archives. Read more

Scotland’s diaspora – was there social justice for the ‘failed’ immigrant in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

The creation of clubs and societies organised around ethnicity characterised the Scottish diasporic experience, both for those who received alms and for those who sought a means through which to meet and socialise with other Scots. Read more

‘Puppets and Clowns’? Celebrity and Political Activism in Historical Perspective

In a 1963 television interview, African American activist Malcolm X described as ‘puppets and clowns’ those Black entertainers – such as Lena Horne and Dick Gregory – who were widely touted as leading the way toward racial integration. Read more

History PhD (option of joint PhD with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

The Department of History at King's has a long and distinguished tradition in world leading, cutting-edge research. Our staff and research students are fully engaged in original historical scholarship, ranging from late antiquity to the present day. Read more
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