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  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    To Students Seeking the PhD in History

    Credit Flickr/papalars.When at my advanced age one turns nostalgic it is time to beware. “Never look back” is an appropriate motto for the aged. It is an utterly inappropriate slogan for any historian to live with. In any case, I’m about to peer back at aspects of the profession of historian as I have observed it for over three quarters of a century.

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Robert Townsend: Be Skeptical of U.S. News and World Report Rankings

    Robert Townsend is the deputy director of the American Historical Association.The latest iteration of the U.S. News and World Report rankings of history graduate programs appeared yesterday, prompting fresh questions about their value for the discipline.As a measure of the relative merits of any particular department, the rankings should be viewed with considerable skepticism—especially by students applying to or selecting one program over another. For the prospective doctoral student, the primary considerations should be the fit between their intended area of research and faculty in the department, followed by the available levels of funding support. A few decimal points in a small survey should not sway your decision in one direction or another.

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