Welcome to the Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative History

Program level : Post-graduate (Doctoral)
Degree awarded: PhD
Official title:  Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative History 
Host unit(s): 
Department of History
Nationalism Studies Program
Type of degree: CEU
Program accreditation: Program approved and registered by the New York State Education Department and also accredited in Austria and Hungary
Program length : 3 - 6 years
Program affiliations :  Department of History / Nationalism Studies Program
Program Director : Constantin Iordachi
Program Description: 

The department especially welcomes students with PhD dissertation research that contributes to:

  • the integration of the study of different layers of historical processes (social, cultural, economic, political)
  • the integration of history and theory (conscious reflection of the basic approaches of research)
  • comparative approaches in historiography (Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe being neither "different" and "incomparable," nor a "belated copy" of developments elsewhere)

The advantages of the CEU doctoral program are the classes and discussions among students specializing in different topics, different periods, and different geographical regions whereby new research questions can be formulated, even about one’s own national history.  The research being undertaken by our current PhD students and the successful dissertations already defended give the best idea of what is possible at the CEU History doctoral program.


Doctoral students receive tuition and a living stipend for three years, with opportunities to apply for additional research funds.  Students can extend the funded period of their PhD studies by applying for CEU Doctoral Research Support, which funds study abroad. The department also supports this additional study abroad in the form of exchange agreements with other universities and through supporting students applying for external scholarships in European and American universities and research centers for non-degree study. Students from the Department of History have been awarded competitive grants from outstanding institutions, such as the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Columbia, Maryland, Michigan and Toronto.

Entry Requirements

In addition to meeting the general CEU admissions requirements, applicants should submit letters of recommendation from three professors familiar with their post-graduate work and a three-page research proposal 

 The topic of the proposal should fall within the broad thematic focus of the program as described above, and should address issues of method and substance, as well as previous work done in the field, in appropriate detail. Applications are welcome from candidates with a Master’s degree that includes a Master’s thesis. 

Applicants interested in Nationalism Studies or Jewish Studies at the doctoral level can apply for a Ph.D. in History and should follow the general admissions requirements for the History doctoral program; a joint committee reviews applications.  The degree received will be a Ph.D. in History.

Program Structure

The first year of the program concentrates on coursework and preparation for the comprehensive examination, which focuses on major topics in the comparative history of two of the three regions mentioned above. A detailed, extensive research dissertation proposal is also prepared, and discussed as part of the comprehensive examination. The second year is devoted to research in relevant archives and libraries. Students are encouraged to seek support for spending at least six months during the third year of their studies at one of the leading Western universities or research centers. The final year is spent in residence at CEU presenting research results in the PhD research seminar, writing the thesis, and fulfilling teaching assistantship duties.

Professional Training and Graduate Student Conferences

From the moment of entering the doctoral program, PhD students are involved in professional research projects organized by the faculty and by external institutions.  Pasts, Inc., is the research institute associated with the History Department and it sponsors several annual conferences and a journal to which our students have contributed in the past.  In addition, student conferences are held in cooperation with the European University Institute in Florence, the Berliner Kolleg für Vergleichende Geschichte Europas, and at CEU.   

For further questions write to history@ceu.edu

The Doctoral Support Program (for non-CEU students)

The Doctoral Support Program (DSP) is available to graduate students registered in an accredited PhD program at another institution of higher education. During their term at CEU, students receive consultation and supervision from CEU faculty and possibilities for presenting and discussing their work.

Committee of the Program: 
Constantin Iordachi 
László Kontler
Balázs Trencsényi
Carsten Wilke