Jul 16, 2020  
2017-2018 Caspersen School of Graduate Studies 
2017-2018 Caspersen School of Graduate Studies [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History & Culture, M.A. / Ph.D.

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History and Culture is an interdisciplinary graduate program in modern intellectual and cultural history. While its geographic focus remains European and American, the course of study emphasizes the production and dissemination of knowledge in global contexts. Students are trained to consider a range of intellectual and cultural problems of pressing contemporary relevance from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The program also emphasizes preparation for non-academic as well as academic careers. Through internships, seminars and workshops, doctoral candidates receive hands-on training in various fields including publishing, digital media, museum curation, and  philanthropic organization.

The doctoral program is structured to allow students to complete the degree in five years during which time selected Fellowship recipients receive full financial support. In addition to their coursework and internships, Fellowship students also work as teaching assistants with a Drew professor and teach a few courses on their own.  Unlike many larger doctoral program in history, History & Culture does not require students to work as teaching assistants in large lecture classes.

The History and Culture program currently offers the following areas of specialization:

  • Modern European and American Intellectual History
  • Book History and Print Culture
  • British Intellectual History
  • Modern French Intellectual and Cultural History
  • Irish History and Irish-American Studies
  • American Cultural History
  • Literary and Artistic Modernism
  • History of Memory
  • Holocaust and Genocide Studies

This is not an exhaustive list. In consultation with their advisors and based on faculty availability, students may design individualized courses of study. Students may also request a tutorial with a faculty member whose areas of specialization coincide with the student’s interests.


The MA Program

The MA degree requires 27 credits (9 courses), including the Foundation Seminar. The ninth course should be the Research Tutorial, in which the student will write a publishable research paper that will qualify as an MA thesis.

The PhD Program

The requirements for the PhD include 36 credits (12 courses), a student portfolio, and a dissertation. Students admitted directly into the PhD program will receive an MA when they satisfactorily complete the Research Tutorial and eight other courses. MA students may apply to the PhD program after they have satisfactorily completed at least two courses.

Required Courses

  • All PhD and MA students are required to take the Foundation Seminar (HC 800), normally in their first semester. This seminar will introduce students to the history, methods, and philosophy of historical writing.
  • All PhD and MA students must take a Research Tutorial (HC 990), normally in their final semester of course work, where each student will produce an original and publishable scholarly paper. The tutorial introduces students to primary source research and the apparatus of scholarship. Students in this tutorial work mainly independently but under faculty supervision.
  • All PhD students must take at least two extra-disciplinary courses taught by faculty trained in fields other than history, including (but not limited to) literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, anthropology, music, art, and religion.  At least one extra-disciplinary course should be taken in the student’s first year. A student may satisfy this requirement with courses offered in other Drew graduate programs or upper-level undergraduate courses, with the approval of his/her faculty advisor and the course instructor.
  • In their third year all PhD students will participate in a noncredit Writing Workshop taught by a professional nonfiction writer, which teaches academics how to communicate topics in history and culture to a general audience.

Foreign Languages

PhD students specializing in Continental Europe must pass an examination in one foreign language. Normally the language will be French, German, or Spanish, but another language may be substituted if it is deemed useful to the student’s research. Foreign language examinations are not required for MA students or for PhD students specializing in the United States, Britain, or Ireland.

Student Portfolios

Each PhD student must, in the third academic year, demonstrate his/her preparation as a teacher and scholar by satisfactorily completing a portfolio which will consist of the following:

  • Three capstone essays.
  • A public lecture.
  • Two book reviews.
  • Two course syllabi.
  • An essay on an academic topic addressed to a nonacademic audience.
  • A dissertation prospectus.


In each of the capstone essays, the student will master, summarize, and criticize a body of historical literature.  The essays should address the following three fields:

Field 1: Intellectual and cultural history. 

Field 2: A specialized field in history other than intellectual/cultural history. Examples include political history, diplomatic history, disability history, social history, or any other subfield supported by the teaching and research expertise of the History and Culture faculty. 

Field 3: An interdisciplinary field that explores the intersections between history and another discipline, such as literary studies, classics, anthropology, political science, sociology, art history, or economics.


At the beginning of the third year, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, each doctoral student will form a dissertation committee consisting of three faculty, one of whom may be based at another university.  Each dissertation must ultimately undergo an oral defense and must be unanimously approved by the dissertation committee. When the student has prepared a final draft and is ready to defend, the committee will consult with the student to invite a fourth reader from another university.

Public Humanities

The History and Culture program prepares all its students for academic careers, but we also go beyond that to engage the larger world. All of our doctoral students take our Writing as a Public Intellectual Workshop, in which they are taught how to communicate sophisticated scholarship to a lay audience. In any semester a student can, for course credit, do a Public Humanities Internship, working with a cultural organization outside the university: for example, a museum, a publisher, a magazine, a foundation, or even a business corporation that can make use of a humanities scholar. Each internship must conclude with a paper, report, or a project the intern worked on, which should demonstrate a productive collaboration between humanities scholarship and a topic or venture of public concern. And every year we hold a Career Day in which representatives of humanities organizations discuss the work they do and the opportunities they can offer to our students.


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