The Department of History offers broad training in history, in combination with depth in a research specialty. The Doctor of Philosophy is the degree objective for students, and the Master's degree an interim stage towards that goal. The program is designed to provide students with research training leading to the doctoral degree, pedagogical training and instructional opportunities in preparation for teaching at a range of post-secondary institutions, and a broader array of skills and professional development training to provide students with the versatility required to use their historical training in non-academic as well as academic settings. Students specializing in public historical studies receive training that prepares them for careers in the community at large, working in a variety of historical institutions (museums, preservation firms, oral history projects) or as private consultants. Graduates of our program are also prepared to teach public history at the college and university level, and often pursue careers combining opportunities in both academic and non-academic areas.

The Department offers doctoral study in seventeen general fields, from which students typically choose three areas of training (supplemented by a fourth field in an outside discipline):

  • Africa
  • Ancient History
  • Cold War Studies and International History*
  • Comparative Gender and Sexualities History
  • Comparative History of Race and Ethnicity
  • Early Modern Europe
  • East Asia
  • History of Public Policy
  • History of Science
  • Latin America
  • Medieval Studies
  • Middle East
  • Modern Europe
  • Public History
  • South Asia
  • United States
  • World History

*Cold War Studies and International History are offered only as secondary fields, and not as a possible primary field.

Doctoral students may add an interdisciplinary emphasis in Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Black Studies, Environment and Society, Feminist Studies, Global Studies, Medieval Studies, and Technology and Society. In addition to formal coursework, students are introduced to professional scholarship, resources, and activities through venues such as the Department's Center for Cold War and International Studies, the Comparative Gender and Sexualities Colloquium, the Institute for the Study of Race, Religion, and Revolution, the History of Science Colloquium, the Medieval Studies Program, and the Public History Colloquium. In addition, students may participate in activities facilitated by the Africa Center, the Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy, the Center for Middle East Studies, the East Asian Center, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program, and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies.

Mailing Address

Department of History
University of California, Santa Barbara
Humanities & Social Sciences Building, Room 4001
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410

Degree icon Degrees Offered

Address iconDeadlines

Fall Only:

  • December 11, 2023 (by 11:59 PM PST)

Requirements Icon


  • Online application:
  • In the Degree Program section of the online application, in ORDER of PREFERENCE, indicate your area(s) of research interest from the following list: Africa, Ancient History, Cold War Studies and International History*, Comparative Gender and Sexualities History, Comparative Race and Ethnicity, Early Modern Europe, East Asia, History of Public Policy, History of Science, Latin America, Medieval Europe, Middle East, Modern Europe, Public History, United States, World History (*Note: Cold War Studies and International History are offered only as a secondary field, and not as a possible primary field).
  • Statement of Purpose, Personal History and Diversity Statement, and Resume or CV (submitted in the online application)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)
  • English Language Exam Scores (if applicable): TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT) total score of 80, or TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT) total score of 550, or IELTS Overall Band score of 7, or Duolingo English Test total score of 120, or higher
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (submitted in the online application)
  • Writing Sample (submitted in the online application)
  • History Department supplemental information form:
  • Final/Official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UC Santa Barbara by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). UC Santa Barbara reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found.

Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Black Studies, Environment and Society, Feminist Studies, Global Studies, Medieval Studies, and Technology and Society (All Ph.D. only)