About the Program
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, journalism, 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.
Admission to the program is highly selective. Its small size makes for a closely cooperative intellectual community, in which the faculty can devote individual attention to each student.
History and Culture is an M.A./Ph.D. degree program devoted to the study of ideas, knowledge, and culture in the modern world. Rooted in historical inquiry and issuing degrees in history, History and Culture draws on a variety of disciplinary approaches. Its students work with a distinguished faculty from departments in the humanities and social sciences and are encouraged to pursue projects that make innovative use of multiple modes of research and analysis.
History and Culture takes as its premise the enormous currency of knowledge and importance of ideas, broadly defined, in the modern and contemporary world, as well as the dramatic expansion of the cultural realm. Centered in intellectual and cultural history, its curriculum is based on a series of topics, problems, and discourses integral to the modern experience:
- the production, dissemination, and consumption of knowledge
- constructions of identity and social norms
- the construction and role of the intellectual
- literary and cultural modernism
- memory, narrative, and representations of the past
- science, technology, and information systems
- democratic theory and practice
- critical theory and social thought
To pursue these areas, the program engages history, literary studies, religious studies, anthropology, economics, sociology, political science, and the arts. Running through the program’s diverse inquiry are the central questions of how ideas and cultural forms develop, gain agency, and are implicated in systems of power and modes of critique.
History and Culture also aims to produce effective intellectual leaders in the global age. Toward this end, it instructs students in the diverse intellectual and cultural traditions of American and European society, as well as how those traditions have both shaped and been shaped by those in other societies. Whether as scholars and teachers in a university setting or public intellectuals in various roles, graduates of the History and Culture program will be equipped with the knowledge to productively engage with students, colleagues, decision-makers, and the larger public.
The History and Culture program, finally, recognizes that all knowledge is institutionally located, serving a variety of pragmatic ends; it seeks, by extension, that it students have a sense of knowledge at work in the world, beyond the realms of teaching and scholarship. As a result, it sponsors internship programs placing students in foundations, think tanks, cultural institutions, other non-profits, and university offices. From these, they receive additional perspective on cultural processes, the institutional organization of knowledge, the information economy, and ideas at work.
What makes us different?
History and Culture has a number of strengths that make it especially rewarding for its students and distinguish it from other graduate programs.
History and Culture draws on multiple disciplines, exploring the points of intersection between them and ways to integrate various modes of discourse and analysis. Its faculty is drawn from English Literature, Classics, Economics, German Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology, as well as Drew University’s History department. All H & C students are required to take courses in multiple fields and encouraged to pursue studies that cross disciplinary lines.
History and Culture is kept deliberately small, so as to afford students a high level of individualized attention and build intellectual community among the students and faculty. Intellectual intimacy is a hallmark of the H & C program and of Drew University more generally.
History and Culture students participate in a carefully designed pedagogic apprenticeship, in which they both learn and practice the essential skills of college teaching. As the culmination of this training, they teach their own courses at Drew University and/or other local colleges. They do not work as teaching assistants for large lecture courses.
Time to Degree
History and Culture both permits and encourages students to complete their Ph.D. degrees in five years. Toward this end, we provide five years of full financial support (tuition remission plus fellowship money) for doctoral students. Students who enter the Ph.D. program already with a Masters may receive advanced standing.
History and Culture sponsors various lectures and talks, as well as an interdisciplinary colloquium. In addition, the program serves as an editorial base for three major interdisciplinary journals, Modernism/Modernity, Book History, and The Sixties, with which students may be involved. The Caspersen School is also home to University Centers (The Center for Civic Engagement, the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies), in whose programming H & C students can participate. And Drew is only 30 miles from New York City, whose universities hold lectures, conferences, and colloquia open to Drew students. Finally, Drew will annually send one H & C student to the summer program of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University.
The History and Culture program, and Drew University more broadly, deeply believe both in the value of advanced forms of teaching, learning, and research to society as a whole, as well as in the obligation of universities to serve the local, national, and global communities. This conviction is reflected in the content and method of our instruction, in our programming, and in our aspiration that our students craft identities as “public intellectuals,” whatever their career paths.
Life Beyond the Academy
While History and Culture trains its students primarily for careers in academia, it also provides hands-on training in skills that are relevant to the broader world. Through the H & C Internship Program and the PhD@Work program, students may hold internships in foundations, think tanks, cultural institutions, other non-profits, and university offices, giving them experience in these other kinds of environments and work
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
- The History of Science and Medicine
- The History of Gender and Sexuality
- American Cultural History
- Literary and Artistic Modernism
- History of Memory
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 History and Culture program offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History. At the end of their first year terminal M.A. students may apply to translate to the Ph.D. program, but we will accept only a few candidates who have achieved an exceptional academic record.
The M.A. degree provides a solid foundation for careers in education, for nonacademic work, or for further graduate education. The degree requires 27 credits (9 courses), including the Foundation Seminar and the Interdisciplinary Seminar. The ninth course should be the Research Tutorial, in which the student will write a publishable research paper that will qualify as an M.A. thesis.
The requirements for the Ph.D. include 36 credits (12 courses), a student portfolio, and a dissertation, all of which should be completed in five years. Students admitted directly into the Ph.D. program will receive an M.A. when they satisfactorily complete the Research Tutorial and eight other courses. Doctoral students will normally be expected to teach undergraduate courses and participate in the Ph.D.@Work internship program.
- All Ph.D. and M.A. students are required to take the Foundation Seminar, normally in their first semester. This seminar will introduce students to the history, methods, and philosophy of historical writing.
- All Ph.D. students will take an Interdisciplinary Seminar, which is team-taught by two instructors from different departments. The instructors and the course topics change from year to year.
- All Ph.D. and M.A. students must take a Research Tutorial; normally in their final semester of course work, where each student will produce an original and publishable scholarly paper. The tutorial introduces students to archival research, the apparatus of scholarship, and the art of presenting papers at conferences and publishing them. Students in this tutorial work mainly independently but under faculty supervision.
- All Ph.D. students must take at least two courses outside of the History department. These may be graduate courses, courses in the Arts and Letters program, or upper-level undergraduate courses with augmented reading and research assignments.
- All Ph.D. students will take part in a Writing Workshop, offered annually and taught by a professional nonfiction writer, which will teach academics how to communicate topics in history and culture to a general audience.
Ph.D. students specializing in Continental Europe must pass an examination in one foreign language. Normally the language will be either 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 M.A. students or for Ph.D. students specializing in the United States, Britain, or Ireland.
Each Ph.D. 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.
The capstone essays will each survey and analyze a large body of academic literature. One will deal with general American or European history, one with American or European intellectual/cultural history, and one with an interdisciplinary field. The reading lists for the essays will be suggested by faculty advisors, who will also assess the finished essays. While reading for and writing their essays, third-year students will consult regularly with their faculty advisors. Any student who does not satisfactorily complete all parts of the portfolio by the end of his/her sixth semester must leave the program.
At the beginning of the third year each student will select a dissertation committee consisting of three faculty, one of whom may be based at another university. The prospectus will consist of a ten-page research plan plus a detailed bibliography, and it must be approved by all three members of the dissertation committee.
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.
Requirements for Application
Applicants to the M.A./Ph.D. in History and Culture must possess a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
All applicants must present the following:
- The completed application form
- Official transcripts of all academic records, whether at the college or graduate level
- A personal statement
- An academic writing sample
- Graduate Record Exam scores no more than five years old
- International students whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores no more than two years old in place of the GRE
- Three letters of recommendation
- $45 application fee
Applications to the M.A./Ph.D. are accepted for the fall semester only. Completed applications must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by February 1. Applications may be accepted after this date on a space available basis. Merit scholarship funds may be limited for those who apply after February 1. The Admission Office will contact applicants to schedule an interview with a History and Culture faculty member (either in person or by phone). Notification of admission and merit scholarship will be mailed to applicants in late March.
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Students admitted to the Ph.D. program with fellowship support will receive full tuition remission plus an annual stipend for five years. Teaching and internship responsibilities for students receiving a stipend will include experiences in a university office, as a classroom apprentice, and teaching courses. These experiences will also be available to students not receiving a stipend if they elect to participate in them.
At the end of each academic year, students receiving stipends will be reviewed by the faculty, and they may lose their financial support if their academic work is found to be unsatisfactory.
Learn more about financial aid in the graduate school.