About the PhD Program

Program details

IHUM confers a joint doctoral degree, with applications accepted in the third year of study from students enrolled in the Ph.D. programs in the following departments and schools:

  • Anthropology*
  • Architecture
  • Art and Archaeology
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • East Asian Studies
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • German
  • History
  • Music
  • Near Eastern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy in Politics
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Sociology*
  • Spanish and Portuguese 

*Owing to the fieldwork schedule, students in Anthropology and Sociology may choose to apply either in their second or third year but may apply only once.

HUM583 is a pre-requisite for admission to the program. Applicants should discuss a plan to complete the seminar with the Director if they cannot take HUM583 when they enter the program.  All applicants should be able to demonstrate a record of interdisciplinary exploration and make the case that the time and resources afforded by the fellowship will substantively expand the interdisciplinary nature of the dissertation project. For more detailed information about the application process, see the FAQs below.  The next application cycle will be due on March 1, 2024.

Students who join the Ph.D. Program become core members of a community of interdisciplinary research and exchange that convenes for seminars, workshops, and other events. They are required to present work in progress in the fourth or fifth year, in addition to attending the graduate workshops of their community members, held two to three times a year. Together with other students in their cohort, students in the Program conceptualize and organize a series of lunch talks around a theme in the fourth and fifth years and choose the annual Faber Lecturer in the sixth year.

After presenting a detailed plan for their IHUM fellowship year to the Director, ordinarily in the spring of the third year, students spend their fourth year on research and exploration in areas beyond the boundaries of their fundamental disciplinary training. Students then receive an additional year of university fellowship support to be used in their sixth year as a DCE1 student.  Enrollment into a DCE1 year is not guaranteed to IHUM students; central Graduate School eligibility rules for entering DCE status apply here as they do for all doctoral students. Upon review of the dissertation by a member of the Executive Committee or the Program Committee and fulfilling all the requirements for the degree in their home departments, IHUM students graduate with a joint degree from their home department and from the Council of the Humanities.


Graduate students are eligible to apply to IHUM in their third year of graduate study. HUM583 will be a required course for IHUM students, who may take it before or after applying for the program. Applicants should discuss a plan to complete the seminar with the Director once they are admitted. The next round of applications should be emailed to Barbara Leavey, by the end of the day on March 3, 2025.

The application should consist of the following elements:

  • A completed application form, signed by your departmental Director of Graduate Studies.
    Download the form
  • A five-hundred-word description of your interdisciplinary interests as they bear on your prospective dissertation work: in particular, the research or experience, outside of your departmental training, that would warrant an additional year of support. The overriding criteria are intellectual seriousness and adventurousness.
  • A twenty-page, double-spaced writing sample representative of your interests.

You should also arrange for a one-paragraph recommendation from an advisor in your department, ordinarily one of your dissertation advisors, to be emailed directly to Barbara Leavey by the March 3rd deadline.

Please email the electronic copy (as a .doc or .pdf file) of the description of your interests and of the writing sample to Barbara Leavey.

Finalists will be invited for a brief interview in late March, and notifications will be made shortly after.

Consult our frequently asked questions (FAQs) below for more details.