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World History, Doctor of Philosophy

The innovative Ph.D. in World History at St. John’s redefines and reclaims the vital roles that professionals with advanced humanities training play in our complex, global society.

Earn a Ph.D. in World History at St. John's University in New York City!

The innovative Ph.D. in World History at St. John’s redefines and reclaims the vital roles that professionals with advanced humanities training play in our complex, global society. It combines traditional academic rigor in research with an emphasis on new pedagogies, interdisciplinary study, technology, collaborative work, community engagement, and a unique approach to internship training.

Our program distinguishes itself with internship rotations that allow you to apply your knowledge and training in history to practice in the community. You have the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience in fields such as:

  • Film-making and digital media
  • Libraries and archives
  • Museums and galleries
  • Non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies
  • Parks and heritage tourism
  • Publishing, editing, and production
  • Secondary and post-secondary teaching

The Department of History’s full-time faculty members are active scholars with fields of expertise that include African, American, Asian, European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern studies. As a doctoral student at St. John’s, you will benefit from close mentoring relationships with these professors and be part of our vibrant and diverse intellectual community. We also offer flexibility to accommodate both traditional full-time doctoral students and working professionals seeking a degree part-time.

Department Faculty

Please see a list of our History faculty.

Department Contact

Philip Misevich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Graduate Director
[email protected]

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Degree Type
Area of Interest
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours


To apply to the Ph.D. in World History, you must submit official transcripts showing conferral of your bachelor’s degree and at least 24 credits in history. You must also possess at least a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the undergraduate level, with a 3.5 or higher in history courses.

In light of the impact of COVID-19, the GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2023-2024 admission cycle.

You must submit three letters of recommendation, at least one of which attests to your research ability. You must also submit a recent sample of written work, as well as a personal statement detailing your research agenda, professional goals, and experience.

Applicants who already hold a master’s degree in history may qualify for up to 18 credits of advanced standing with approval from the graduate director and the Dean’s office.

The deadlines for admission to the Ph.D. World History program are as follows:

  • Fall: April 1 for admission and January 15 for fellowship/assistantship consideration
  • Spring: November 1

Office of Graduate Admission
[email protected]

Tuition and Financial Aid

Fellowships and Assistantships

The University awards a limited number of graduate assistantships and doctoral fellowships to highly-qualified students each year. These positions provide tuition remission and a stipend and involve assisting faculty with their research. The University also awards a limited number of University Doctoral Fellowships that offer tuition remission for students who work full-time and attend the Ph.D. program part-time. For more information, please visit Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships and Tuition and Financial Aid.

The Nickolas Davatzes Scholarship

The Department of History offers the Nickolas Davatzes Scholarship to qualified graduate students who are committed to teaching History in high school or community college, and who demonstrate high financial need. The scholarship fund was established in 2007 by Nickolas Davatzes ’62C, ’64G, ’95Hon, who established the A&E Network and the History Channel, and Dorothea Hayes Davatzes ’66Ed. Scholarships are granted by the department on a competitive basis and provide $5,000 for summer research or tuition assistance.


The Ph.D. requirements include 60 credits of coursework, internship, and dissertation research. The breakdown of program requirements is as follows:

HIS 401 Modern Historical Research (3 credits)

This course, which you will complete in your first semester of coursework, provides a general background in theory, historiography, research skills, and methodology.

Seminars (choose four, 12 credits):

  • HIS 701 World History Seminar in Gender and Sexuality
  • HIS 702 World History Seminar in War, Peace, and Revolution
  • HIS 703 World History Seminar in State and Society
  • HIS 704 World History Seminar in Historical Identities
  • HIS 705 World History Seminar in Technology and Science
  • HIS 706 World History Seminar in Production, Consumption, and Trade
  • HIS 707 World History Seminar in Cities and Countryside
  • HIS 708 World History Seminar in Diasporas, Migrations, and Borders
  • HIS 709 World History Seminar in Ideas and Culture

Electives (15 credits)

You may choose your elective credits from a wide range of thematic and geographically-based offerings. You may also apply additional world history seminars as electives.

Concentration (12 credits)

With the approval of your advisor and the program director, you may complete an interdisciplinary area of concentration in the complementary fields of public history, library and information science, museum administration, or education. You may also use these credits to take additional history electives in a thematic or regional concentration.

Internship (two semesters, six credits)

In your first semester of internship, you’ll engage in six rotations in each of the following areas:

  • Libraries and archives
  • Parks and heritage tourism
  • Publishing, editing, and production
  • Teaching high school and college history
  • Museums and galleries
  • Non-profit, non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies

In the second semester, you’ll commit to one of these areas for another semester of supervised practical experience that may include teaching an undergraduate history course; working in a public history setting such as a museum, archive, or restoration project; a film-making, editing, or digital media project; or another approved activity that appropriately reflects your professional interests.

Foreign Language (non- credit requirement)

You must demonstrate reading proficiency in at least one foreign language appropriate to your dissertation research by translating a faculty-approved passage. You must complete the foreign language requirement before registering for dissertation research.

Annual Portfolio (non-credit requirement)

To help the faculty assess your progress toward degree candidacy and the dissertation, you will maintain an annual portfolio of departmentally-approved examples of your work, as well as evidence of your progress in developing professional skills and experiences. You will present the portfolio, along with a summary essay discussing your evolving body of work and professional interests, for annual review while in the program, and the final summary essay and oral presentation of your portfolio will constitute your dissertation prospectus.

Dissertation (12 credits)

Once you’ve met the above requirements, you’ll register for a three-credit, semester-long dissertation proposal workshop to develop a research project best suited to your professional aspirations, in collaboration with peers and faculty mentors from across and outside the department.

Unique to our program is the ability to combine a research specialization with teaching, public history, or other appropriate professional applications in the dissertation. We encourage a variety of original, high-quality dissertation formats, including: a digital media project; a museum exhibit and catalog; an archival project and guide; a website; a curriculum guide; and an oral history project. While the format of the project is flexible, we expect the dissertation to provide original in-depth research and demonstrate mastery of the field.


As a student in the Ph.D. World History program at St. John's, you have the opportunity to gain valuable internship experience with the following prestigious and dynamic institutions:

Bowne House Historical SocietyBrooklyn Historical SocietyBrooklyn Museum
Children's Museum of ManhattanFire Island Pines Historical Preservation SocietyIntrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
King Manor MuseumLefferts Historic HouseLewis H. Latimer House
Louis Armstrong House MuseumMorgan Library & MuseumMuseum of Chinese in American (MOCA)
Museum of the City of New YorkMuseum of Jewish HeritageMuseum of the Moving Image
National Jazz Museum in HarlemNew-York Historical SocietyNew York Transit Museum
Queens County Farm MuseumQueens Historical Society - Kingsland HomesteadQueens Library
Queens MuseumVoelker Orth Museum 


Career Outcomes

The communication skills, analytical thinking, and historical perspectives you gain through the Ph.D. program in World History will prepare you for tenure-track faculty positions in history as well as careers in museums, libraries, cultural agencies and institutions, consulting firms, and digital and traditional media companies. The distinctive socially-aware, problem-solving, and service-oriented education you receive at St. John’s will help you excel in the areas of teaching, public history, and public service. Thanks to the internship experience built in to the program, you will be entering the job market with not only an advanced degree and body of original research, but also professional experience in a field that suits your interests and goals.

You will meet once a month in our doctoral colloquium to present research and publications and gather for workshops and roundtable discussions. You’ll also be able to gain professional training through planning the History department's international World History Theory and Practice conference and through joining the World History Group that discusses teaching history in the core curriculum. For teaching experience, you may shadow faculty members teaching undergraduate courses. Through St. John’s Center for Teaching and Learning, you have access to professional development workshops in grant writing, fundraising, digital humanities, web and social media marketing, and organizational leadership. And you will always have the individual attention of the faculty members in the Department of History who will work with you on articulating and developing your career aspirations.

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