Thinking of Applying to Graduate School in History?

Here are some tips!

Applying for a Ph.D. program in History is different than applying for a Master’s degree. See the comments below for advice about Master’s Programs.

Applying to a Ph.D. Program in History

Applying for a Ph.D. is not simply a way of extending you education. Admission is very competitive and typically you spend five to seven years doing course work, research, and thesis writing before you can apply for a position in a college or university. Obtaining such a position is also competitive. The graduate program in history in New Brunswick, for example, gets between 300 and 500 applications and admits between a dozen and twenty students. Most of those students complete the program, but it often takes a student two years to find a permanent job. On the good news side, most programs have financial aid available for graduate studies–tuition remission and fellowships or teaching assistantships. Most programs train you both as research scholars and as teachers.

Detailed advice follows below, but here are three things to do once you become a major if you are thinking of applying to graduate school:

  1. Take at least two years of a foreign language (consider study abroad as well).
  2. Take the history seminar in your junior year.
  3. Plan to do an honors thesis in your senior year.

Also, see this link:

More generally, second semester juniors and seniors should do the following:

The following links will take you to some typical, quite competitive programs, and give you some idea of the type of requirement you’ll be asked to meet if you apply:

Applying to a Master’s Program in History

People apply for an M.A. in history for many different reasons: (1) to enrich their understanding of the field; (2) as high school teachers who want to keep up-to-date in their teaching field; (3) to gain specialized career skills in such areas as public history, museum work, and archives management; (4) to improve their credentials for and evaluate their interest in going on for a Ph.D. Many New Jersey universities offer History MA programs. Rutgers MA program in History is taught on the Newark campus, and is a truly outstanding program. In applying, be sure to distinguish between programs that offer a stand-alone MA and those in which the MA is either not a separate degree (only obtained when you complete a Ph.D.) or in a completely separate track.

The information about Ph.D. programs given above generally applies to the admissions process for a Master’s. These programs are generally not as competitive (although they may still be quite competitive), they usually offer an option of part-time studies, and they may not require language skills to obtain a degree or written work with the application. Specialized programs, such as the Winterthur-Delaware program, are among the most competitive in the country.

Some sample area programs:

Links to Other Programs