Many history majors pursue graduate study in a wide variety of fields and disciplines, including the humanities, education, business, law, and medicine. Helpful guidelines and advice about how to apply to graduate programs is available through the Office of Personal and Career Development.
Students intending to apply to graduate programs in history should plan their course of study carefully and consult early on with faculty members who share a student’s particular research interest.
All graduate programs in history require evidence of good critical thinking skills and research experience; a writing sample will be an integral part of your application. Students should be able to demonstrate familiarity with their proposed field of study, as well as an awareness of the various different theories and methods that historians bring to bear upon their evidence. Students should think seriously about the advantages of writing an honors thesis, especially in the field they intend to pursue. Finally, most graduate programs require the ability to read and translate at least one foreign language for U.S. fields, and at least two foreign languages for non-U.S. ones.
There are a number of useful resources and websites if you are thinking of applying to graduate school in history or other fields.
Should You Go To Graduate School in the Humanities?
- John King and Andrew McMichael offer advice on transitioning from undergraduate to graduate school.
- Daniel R. Schwartz, Presidential Fellow and Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature at Cornell University, examines the pros and cons of pursuing graduate education in the humanities.
- Joshua Rothman, journalist at The New Yorker, considers the risks and rewards of graduate school in the humanities.
Which Graduate Program is Right for You?
- The Office of Personal and Career Development offers resources and assistance for students applying to graduate school. They are able to help you research graduate programs, revise your personal statement, and practice for interviews.
- Peterson’s Graduate Schools allows you to search for schools and programs by major, location, and keyword, and the site includes helpful resources about deciding to purse an advanced degree.
- Gradschools.com allows you to search or browse for graduate schools and programs.
- PhDs.org ranks doctoral programs, especially in the sciences, based upon the National Research Council’s assessment.
- The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University hosts a database of history departments with graduate programs around the world.