Department of History
The Ph. D. Program - A Small, Selective Program
Bowling Green State University
The Ph.D. program at Bowling Green is a small, selective program in which students work closely with faculty mentors who are leaders in their fields to become outstanding teachers as well as scholars.
The Department has focused the Ph.D. program on Policy History, a broad and exciting field that examines the origins, implementation, and consequences of decision-making by government and private institutions. Because it examines the social context of policymaking and the consequences of policies, policy history integrates scholarship in political and institutional history with cutting edge work in social and cultural history.
By assembling a highly productive group of scholars whose work focuses on policy issues, the Department has made itself a national leader in the field of Policy History. Dr. William Rosenberg, a former Vice President of the Research Division of the American Historical Association, has concluded, “Research and training in policy history is pursued by individual scholars at a number of major research universities, but there are few if any national programs designed, supported, and implemented as comprehensively as the one at Bowling Green.”
The program is attractive because of its breadth as well as its depth. Policy History students can specialize in European, Russian, Latin American, and Asian history, as well as in history of North America. This offers exciting opportunities for comparative study and enables students to develop teaching fields in non-Western history, often giving them a competitive edge in the job market.
Policy History integrates the work of political and institutional historians (whose work focuses on the state) and social historians (whose work often examines the effects of state policy). It therefore offers students unique opportunities to explore the interrelationships among politics, institutions, and society and to examine the contexts in which important decisions have been made, the ways in which policies have often been dramatically transformed when put in place, and the fact that most policies have unintended consequences.
Students of Policy History, like their counterparts in public policy graduate programs, often utilize social science theory as well as statistical and analytical models in their work. At the same time, they possess crucial strengths less often found in the work of other social scientists: an understanding of historical context and change over time, as well as the ability to draw on the rich resources of archives, media, and oral history.
Within the Policy History Program, the Department has developed five areas of special strength. These include:
- Women, Gender, and Policy
- Social Policy
- Foreign Policy/International Security
- Economic Policy
- The State and State Formation
Bowling Green historians have developed an imaginative curriculum that offers students a careful introduction to Policy History as well as a variety of courses that address a wide range of policy issues:
- Two required courses – Introduction to Policy History and a Seminar in Policy History– introduce students to the issues, literature, and methodology in the field.
- A variety of colloquia address specific policy issues. These include Gender and the State in Modern Europe, U.S.-Canadian Indian Policy, U.S. National Security Policy, U.S. Civil Rights Policy, and Comparative Industrial Policy, European Economic Policy, American Immigration Policy, Comparative Social Policy, and Drug and Alcohol Policy.
- Graduate seminars are offered regularly with varying topics, depending on student interests and demand. Recent seminars have explored the state-economy relationship in Russia and East Europe; health, disease, nutrition, and public policy; borders, boundaries, and frontiers in American cultural history; law, race, and public policy in the United States; U.S.-Asian relations; and U.S. Latin American relations.
- An Internship in Policy History offers students the opportunity to receive academic credit for hands-on experience in a government or private agency and is designed to develop non-academic career options for students.
- Policy History classes are regularly enriched by distinguished scholars in the field who regularly come to campus to speak to classes and meet individually with students.