Graduate Studies

Before You Apply

Should I apply to the MA or PhD program?

To be eligible for the PhD program in history, you MUST have an MA in history, earned within the last six years. MA degrees in other related fields do not satisfy this requirement, and there is no direct admission into the PhD program for applicants with only a BA.

If you already have an MA in history (earned in the last six years) and wish to apply for the PhD program, please see our PhD program page.

All other applicants should visit our MA program page for further details.

Can I apply for admission to begin my studies in the spring semester?

No, we only accept new students to begin in the fall.

How does the Graduate Committee assess applicants?

Admission decisions for all graduate history programs at UA are based on a composite of subjective and quantitative information, including GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, writing sample, and the ability of our current faculty and resources to fit applicants’ interests. We look for applicants with strong academic records, who demonstrate an interest in research and the critical analysis of scholarship. Each application is considered in the context of other applications to the program, with due consideration given to the availability of space in the program, the need to maintain a pool of students of superior potential, and the need to encourage minority applicants. Application to the program is competitive. Not every student whose credentials meet stated quantitative standards is admitted.

What are the minimum GPA and GRE scores UA requires for admission?

The applicant must have a grade point average, based on a 4.0 system, of 3.0 overall, or 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program. GRE scores must reach at least 300 on the combined verbal and quantitative portions of the exam, and at least a 4 on the analytical writing section.

What if my GRE scores are less than the required minimum?

Applicants who score under 300 on the GRE or who have a GPA that is below 3.0 will not be considered for normal admission. However, under certain circumstances, such an applicant may be considered for conditional admission. Conditional admission is rare and requires a special recommendation by the Graduate Committee. Applicants who are admitted conditionally must maintain a 3.0 GPA for the first 12 semester hours in the program or face dismissal.

Is the GRE required?

GRE scores are not required for applicants who already hold a graduate degree, or who are applying to the Accelerated Master’s Program. All other applicants are required to submit GRE scores that are no more than five years old.

When should I take GRE?

You should take the GRE in the late summer or early fall before you apply for admission. Taking the exam early allows time for the scores to be reported to us, and it also gives you an opportunity to take the test again before the application deadline if you want to try and improve your score.

Should I retake the GRE?

First, you need to assess whether taking the time and money to repeat the test will result in an improved result. Study and preparation can significantly raise GRE scores, so taking the exam after a disappointing result might be advisable depending on how prepared you were the first time you took the test. Another factor to consider here is that GRE scores are used by the Graduate School and the history department for more than admissions — GRE scores can factor into funding decisions too.

Should I send additional application materials other than those specified in the Graduate School and history department requirements?

Please do not send extra materials to the department as part of your formal application package as these cannot, in fairness to other applicants, be weighed into the deliberation about admission. Individual faculty members with whom you hope to work may be interested in looking at additional papers or other relevant materials. You should feel free to ask any professor with whom you are corresponding whether he or she would like to see more work. However, please do not send unsolicited work to professors.

Is it a good idea to write to professors with whom I’m interested in working?

Yes, contacting professors is a good idea and is strongly encouraged, especially if you are applying to the PhD program. You should consult the faculty profiles on this website to find professors whose interests complement your own. You should look at their CVs and publications and locate and read some of their published work. Remember that experienced professors have more expertise in supervision. You should also consider that, although your interests and those of the professor whose work you admire do not have to be a complete match, a professor cannot supervise students in fields or periods that diverge significantly from those in which they work themselves.

Once you have identified some professors with whom you would like to work, you should contact them via email. Explain your interests and why you would like to work with them. Be specific, but keep your first piece of communication short. You might want to attach a copy of your CV to your first email, but you should offer to send a writing sample or other materials if they would like to see more. Identifying professors to work with will also help you to write an effective statement of purpose because you will be able to explain with specificity why you want to study at UA.

Do I have to submit a separate application for funding?

No. All applicants to the MA and PhD programs are considered for funding.

What kinds of funding can history graduate students at UA receive?

The Department of History awards graduate teaching assistantships that include a stipend and tuition waiver and cover a variety of fees. These are renewable positions, based upon a satisfactory record of scholarship, teaching, and conduct, and are renewable for up to four years in the case of PhD students, and two years for MA students.

The history department and the Graduate School also award non-teaching fellowships in varying amounts that include a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend and cover a variety of fees.

The University is committed to being competitive in subsidizing the education of excellent graduate students. History graduate students have traditionally been awarded a significant share of Graduate School fellowships in a very competitive environment across the University community.

In addition to these fellowships, there are a number of other funding sources available to incoming students. For more information about Graduate School Fellowships, visit the Graduate School’s financial support page.