Areas of Study

The Department of History offers four major fields and two partner programs. Students can also develop expertise in a wide range of minor and subfields, geographic, temporal, and thematic. For example, a number of students have recently developed significant expertise in the history of gender, religion, the environment, and in world history.

United States History

The study of American history at Notre Dame combines the traditions of a long established program with the vitality of a growing faculty. The Department is noted for its strength in American cultural, Early American, intellectual, and religious history. Other areas of concentration for advanced study include environmental history, political, women’s, African American, Latino/a, and social history. Graduate work is often supported by the Department of Africana Studies, the Program in Gender Studies, the Cushwa Institute for the Study of American Catholicism, and the Institute for Latino Studies.

European History

Notre Dame offers a well-established program in early modern and modern European History. Students are introduced to the major issues and sources in their specialty through colloquia and seminars. Because we have a large and diverse faculty of Europeanists, students have great flexibility in designing their course of study. They may also pursue fields that bridge the trans-Atlantic world, or that look back to the medieval period in Europe. Students often take advantage of the resources offered by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Keough Institute for Irish Studies

Latin American History

The program in Latin American history builds on Notre Dame’s long and distinguished tradition of scholarship and teaching on Latin America, a tradition that has expanded notably over the last decade. The program’s principle strengths lie in the colonial and early republican history of the Andean republics, and in modern Mexico, although we support research across a range of nations and topics in the region, where the connection with early modern Europe is particularly strong. Notre Dame has extensive relations with Latin America, many centered in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Medieval History

The program in Medieval History extends beyond the borders of Latin Europe to embrace both the Islamic World and the Byzantine East. The program’s strength lies in the cultural and religious history of early Christendom, from the Carolingian period to the late Middle Ages, and the Mediterranean World  Beyond the History Department, Notre Dame has more than a dozen other medievalists in departments affiliated with the Medieval Institute, which offers renowned library resources and complimentary fields in theology, philosophy, art, literature and music. 

Joint Degree with the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science

The HPS program, affiliated with the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, offers its own Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science, but students on the history track complete full course work for the History Ph.D. They may choose to concentrate in any of the major Ph.D. fields in history. The HPS program emphasizes the cultural history of science and technology, the historical relations of science and religion, and medieval science. 

Joint Degree with the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

The Kroc Institute offers a Ph.D. in peace studies in partnership with several of Notre Dame’s departments, including history. The program emphasizes the rigorous, interdisciplinary study of peace and conflict with an emphasis on better understanding how peacebuilding can address political, ethnic, and religious violence.  Students take a range of courses offered through the peace studies program while satisfying the full requirements for a history Ph.D.