Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog LXXIX (79): Hail to the Victor

In April 2011 an independent, online resource web site, ranked the twenty best Ph.D. programs in history in the United States. did not list its criteria or giving rankings to the schools, I think (it is a very confusing website); so I simply repeat the list as provided. While we can all quibble with the list, I am going to push that inclination aside for the moment.

All of the schools on this list have good academic reputations and there is some nice diversity. They are spread all over the country. California has four schools. Texas, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all have two. Some of them are well-established programs and others have been making strong concerted efforts over the past few years to improve their professional standing. There are also some interesting omissions: three Ivy League schools are absent. There are also no schools from the Southeast.

In Blog IV, I recommend against anyone starting a Ph.D. in history. I still stick to that advice, but if you are going to ignore me, I cannot think of a better list of schools to consider. (Maybe because I am an alumnus of two of these institutions).

In the meantime, allow me to say congratulation to the faculty staff, students, alumni, and administrators that built these programs into impressive institutions. The top twenty history departments are:


  1. I live in Canada and cringe at these kinds of lists. We have our own and they are about a credible as any other "research" crafted for promotional purposes.

    Exactly what are the criteria being used? I bet my school of graduation would rank highly in a graduate program ranking, likely since they have a large student body, decent completion rates, and lots of external award recipients. Never mind the fact that not a single graduate of the last 8 years there has landed a tenure track job.

  2. The criteria question is a good one. I have no idea; like I said, it is a confusing website. These lists are fallacies. It is like trying to rank the greatest running in history. (Which is a silly exercise because we all know it is the great Earl Campbell). We can disupte this list, but for now I am going to push that incilination aside, and just say congratulations to the twenty.