The primary goal of Stanford's Department of History's graduate program is the training of scholars. Most students who receive doctorates in the program will go on to teach at colleges or universities. Other students have positions in university administration and research. Please see our placements for more detailed information.

Admission to the graduate program in history is highly selective. About 10-15 students, admitted from a large pool of applicants, matriculate in the program each year. The small cohort size allows more individual work with faculty than most graduate programs. This helps to make funding in one form or another more available to most students admitted to the Ph.D. program.

History has 14 Major fields for satisfying the Ph.D. in Africa, Britain, Early Modern Europe, East Asia (China/Japan/Korea), Eastern Europe/Russia, History of Science, Jewish History, Latin America, Medieval Europe, Middle East and Central Asia, Modern Europe, South Asia, TIG (Transnational, International, and Global), and the United States. The department expects most graduate students to spend no less than four and no more than six years completing the work for the Ph.D. degree. Individual students' time to degree will vary with the strength of their undergraduate preparation as well as with the particular language and research requirements of their respective Major fields.