Top History Schools in the U.S.

Interested in a graduate degree in History from a top program within the United States? We offer rankings of best U.S. History graduate programs. Review the following schools to see requirements for Master and Doctoral degrees in the area of History.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Browse our list of all acronyms and abbreviations related to History with their full meanings and definitions. Sorted by popularity and categorized within History.


History in the broadest sense denotes both what has happened, the account of what has happened and the scientific study of what has happened. In practice we mean by history the evolution of mankind and the various eras therein.


The prehistoric times belong to archeology, and a number of special fields such as literary history or war history form the sciences. But there is no clear boundary between the various branches of historical science, nor between this and sociology and forensic science. The historian must also make use of other sciences such as cultural history and idea history. They deal with all human problems and therefore no specialization is possible.

Norwegian historian Ottar Dahl defines the subject area of ​​history research as “socially relevant human behavior and such non-human conditions relevant to social human behavior”.


History research material is called historical sources. Historians usually use written sources, but they can also use oral sources or archaeological material. The sources can be used in two ways. All types of sources can be used as remains, that is, as documentation of their own origin situation. Written sources are used as stories when examining the content of the narrative that has been written down. Stories can differ greatly from reality and therefore require accurate testing and assessment. Source criticism is therefore one of the most important links in historical research.

In close connection with the constant tightening of the methodological requirements, a number of historical auxiliary sciences have been developed, such as chronology (the doctrine of the time account), palaeography (about the scripts and their development), diplomacy (the study of diplomas ; older documents, especially letters) and questionnaires. (the doctrine of seal ).


As a methodological working science, the subject of history goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. The historical writing, on the other hand, which represents the literary and artistic depiction of the past, has traditions back to ancient Greece with the historians Herodot and Thukydid.

From the Greek and Roman historians of antiquity through medieval historians as Gregor of Tours, Snorri Sturluson and Jean Froissart and until the Enlightenment, where among other things Voltaire, Henry Thomas Buckle and William Lecky tried to find the “laws” in history, one can speak of an unbroken line up to modern critical research. Within modern history research, a number of different directions and schools have been developed, which have both ideological and methodological differences.

From romance on, history research is closely linked to national currents. In Norway, such tendencies are clearly evident with Rudolf Keyser and Peter Andreas Munch, who from the 1830s tried to establish a Norwegian historical school with emphasis on Norway’s oldest history. Ernst Sars conducted a continuous analysis of Norway’s history based on a holistic view. In the 20th century, interest in economic history and social history has been represented by, among others, Halvdan Koht and Edvard Bull, who builds on Marx ‘smaterialist view of history.

In the post- World War II period, historians have taken up several new themes and approaches. Important new areas of study have been demographics (from the 1960s), international history (from the 1970s) and history of mentality (from the 1980s). In response to older history writing’s focus on the state and society’s top strata, many historians have written history from below, such as agricultural history, labor history, women’s history, minority history and the like.

In recent decades, economic, political and philosophical theories such as liberalism, dialectical materialism and, to some extent, postmodernism, have provided rich impetus for the study of history. Moreover, the influence of the social sciences has been considerable. In parallel with the development of historical research, there has been a strong expansion of the archives, which have now become widely available for historical research.

World history overview

The overview provides important data from world history. The main emphasis is on territorial-political history. There are separate articles on the history of most countries.

Philosophy of history

Philosophy of history is the philosophy of history, its acting powers and possible goals, and the philosophy of what history science is (or should be) in terms of methods and concepts.

The philosophy of history

In this sense, the philosophy of history is in a sense as old as both philosophy and history science itself, since the thinkers of antiquity had a view of history as cyclical, that is, something that repeats itself indefinitely.

Augustine laid the foundation for modern, linear history understanding. For Augustine, the story takes place between a beginning (the fall ) and an end (the day of judgment ), and he viewed the whole story as a prelude to the realization of God’s kingdom on earth. This idea is later found in secularized forms, for example with Hegel and Marx. Marx argued an idealistic thesis that history is driven by the class struggle and moving towards the classless society.

In our century, Arnold Joseph Toynbee’s and Oswald Spengler’s theories of the flourishing, development and downfall of cultures have been the subject of much attention.

The philosophy of history science

In this sense, philosophy of history is a relatively new discipline, and Wilhelm Dilthey and Heinrich Rickert are regarded as its founders. Much of the discussion has consisted of a criticism of the more speculative views of history. A key question has been whether history constitutes an independent research area with its own methods, separate from the natural sciences requirements of lawfulness and predictability.

Carl Gustav Hempel has argued that in principle there is no difference in the explanatory models of history and the natural sciences, while Robin Georg Collingwood, William H. Dray and Georg Henrik von Wright have argued on different grounds that the objects of history science require a different kind of understanding that does not allow catch themselves by the methodology of natural science.

Please click the links below to find a list of best colleges and universities of history in the U.S..

Top History Schools

  • Alabama (2)
  • Alaska (0)
  • Arizona (3)
  • Arkansas (1)
  • California (12)
  • Colorado (1)
  • Connecticut (2)
  • Delaware (1)
  • Florida (4)
  • Georgia (3)
  • Hawaii (1)
  • Idaho (1)
  • Illinois (8)
  • Indiana (3)
  • Iowa (2)
  • Kansas (2)
  • Kentucky (2)
  • Louisiana (2)
  • Maine (1)
  • Maryland (2)
  • Massachusetts (9)
  • Michigan (4)
  • Minnesota (1)
  • Mississippi (3)
  • Missouri (4)
  • Montana (0)
  • Nebraska (1)
  • Nevada (1)
  • New Hampshire (1)
  • New Jersey (4)
  • New Mexico (1)
  • New York (14)
  • North Carolina (2)
  • North Dakota (0)
  • Ohio (9)
  • Oklahoma (2)
  • Oregon (1)
  • Pennsylvania (6)
  • Rhode Island (1)
  • South Carolina (1)
  • South Dakota (0)
  • Tennessee (4)
  • Texas (9)
  • Utah (1)
  • Vermont (0)
  • Virginia (3)
  • Washington (2)
  • Washington DC (5)
  • West Virginia (1)
  • Wisconsin (2)
  • Wyoming (0)

Top 10 History in the United States

Rank College Name Location
1 Princeton University Princeton, NJ
2 Stanford University Stanford, CA
3 University of California–Berkeley Berkeley, CA
4 Yale University New Haven, CT
5 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
6 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
7 Columbia University New York, NY
8 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
9 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
10 University of California–Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA

About the author