The Program

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has a long-standing commitment to teaching and research in the African-American experience, which is exemplified by its creation more than a quarter-century ago of the Martin Luther King, Jr., University Professorship. The graduate program of the Department of History at Rutgers, where the King professorship now resides, is among the nation’s leading programs in African-American history. Publications by the faculty specializing in this field have won the Bancroft, Parkman, and Pulitzer prizes. The faculty’s expertise ranges across the major time-periods and subdisciplines. Post- Civil War strengths include biography, class, gender, and civil rights. Pre-Civil War strengths of the faculty center in studies of the African Diaspora and Atlantic Cultures.

The department’s outstanding reputation (it has a wealth of offerings not only in African  American history but in political, women’s, cultural, African, comparative, and Latin American history as well), augmented by a variety of competitive departmental and university fellowship, has attracted outstanding graduate students. Students find a challenging, friendly environment in which small classes, independent research, accessible professors, and superb facilities optimize success in course work and prospects for employment. Students and faculty are all provided with modern computer facilities.

Graduate students are expected to become involved in teaching and to participate in the vigorous graduate-student organization’s scholarly and social programs. The Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis is also a vital feature of the graduate student experience and offers cutting-edge lectures and panels by world-class scholars in temporary residence.

Degree Options

The Ph.D. degree program is primarily intended for full-time students. Requirements include 48 credits of approved course work, including those earned for the master’s degree; applicants already holding a master’s degree may have substantial number of their credits counted towards the Ph.D. requirement.

Career Placement

The graduate history program makes every effort to place students in positions either in teaching or in alternative employment requiring the research and analytical skills acquired through graduate study. In recent years we have been very successful in placing our graduates in tenure-track teaching positions at the college level.

The University

As a university strongly committed to graduate education and research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, provides graduate programs of exceptional academic quality taught by a distinguished faculty. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers is now one of the nation’s premier research institutions and a member of the select Association of American Universities.

The Graduate School-New Brunswick offers master’s degrees in 58 disciplines and doctoral degrees in 54. The large graduate student community (almost 4,900 in the Graduate School-New Brunswick of whom more than half are in residence at any given time) is engaged in the larger national research community through active lecture and seminar of student-run journals, and cooperative endeavors with nearby institutions, especially Princeton University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Rutgers’ proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia is a notable asset for the cultural and academic opportunities these cities afford.

Interdisciplinary Study

On campus, the university encourages interdisciplinary and comparative study. Frequent conferences, speakers, films and cultural events are devoted to issues of African American experience:

Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis

Funded by the University under the direction of the Department of History, the RCHA brings together internationally distinguished scholars with the university community and New Jersey public. 

The department has now established a new graduate major in African Diaspora/Atlantic Cultures which builds upon the success of the History Center’s “Black Atlantic” project. It aims to examine not only the varieties of the black experience, but, more generally, the points of historical intersection between Africa, Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America. As a subject with internal coherence and integrity, this new field holds rich possibilities for historians preparing to teach and publish in the 21st century.

The Center for African Studies (CAS) is the major institution for African studies in the state of New Jersey. CAS is committed to promoting scholarly research on Africa while increasing public understanding of the continent. The Center consists of faculty and staff throughout the three campuses of Rutgers. Faculty members conduct research in many African countries and in a variety of fields, and also teach a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses at Rutgers.

African Studies Association (ASA) was founded in 1957 as a nonprofit organization open to all individuals and institutions interested in African affairs. Its mission is to bring together people with a scholarly and professional interest in Africa. The ASA also provides useful services to the Africanist community. Currently four periodicals and several occasional publications are produced annually. With 3,000 individual and 600 institutional members, the Association is the leading North American organization which promotes African Studies.

Financial Aid

The department of History and the Graduate School-New Brunswick offers assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships to qualified graduate students with strong records of academic achievement and scholarly promise. Stipends vary up to $24,000 and are granted with tuition remission. Students who have completed their first year of study may be considered for teaching assistantships. Requests for financial aid must accompany the application for admission and be received by December 15.

Minority Advancement Program

Prospective graduate students are eligible to apply for MAC (Minority Academic Career Program) Fellowship. The fellowship was created to increase doctoral study opportunities for minority individuals who are committed to academic teaching and research careers. This support comes through fellowship stipends and loan redemptions. The MAC fellowship is designed to increase the presence of minorities on the faculty of New Jersey’s colleges and universities.