Areas of Study

The Department of History offers Ph.D. study in four major fields: the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the medieval world. We also encourage prospective students to explore other fields such as Atlantic and global history that cross and connect these fields.

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, political, women’s, African American, Latino/a, and social history.

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. Much support for research and study may be found through the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.

Latin American History

The program in Latin American history builds on Notre Dame’s distinguished tradition of scholarship and teaching on Latin America, a tradition that has expanded notably over the last decade. The program’s principal 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 Department of History, Notre Dame has more than a dozen other medievalists in departments affiliated with the Medieval Institute, which offers renowned library resources and complementary fields in theology, philosophy, art, literature, and music.

Joint Program in 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 Program in History and 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.