More Historians on the Way





History departments are experiencing an increase in doctoral applications, and anticipating a related increase in enrollments at a time that many programs have serious retention problems.

Those are conclusions from an American Historical Association study released this week in Perspectives. And the data come at a time that the job market for new historians is better than it has been in recent years – and that concern remains high about how long it takes to complete Ph.D. programs and their high rates of attrition.

The AHA study is based on a survey of 164 doctoral-granting departments in the United States and Canada (out of 184 total such programs). The programs in the United States received an average of 80.9 applications for admission during the academic year that is ending now, up from 74.1 the previous year. Programs anticipated enrolling 9.2 new students this year, up from 9.1 a year earlier. Canadian programs saw a decline in the number of applications, but also anticipated a modest increase in the number of students matriculating.

While the increases may appear modest for this year, they represent a significant growth over the last decade. The AHA report notes that in the 1997-8 academic year, the same programs were enrolling an average of 5.5 new students.


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list