How to Apply to the Graduate Program

Parts of the Application

Applications are due NO LATER THAN December 31. For information on the application process please visit the Graduate School website.

As part of the on-line application, candidates will provide:

  • Three letters of recommendation from current or past instructors/professionals acquainted with your accomplishments to date (ideally in your proposed area of specialization). Letters must be uploaded to the application website; recommenders who have problems with the site may contact us at history@wustl.edu for help.
  • Transcripts of the student's academic record.
  • A statement of purpose that explains why you wish to do graduate work in History. The statement should also describe your ultimate academic and career objectives. Suggested length: 800 - 1200 words.
  • A writing sample of up to 100 pages, which should demonstrate that a student is capable of using primary historical sources to develop a strong argumentative and analytical thesis.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is WAIVED FOR 2021 - 2022 ADMISSIONS due to the pandemic.
  • TOEFL scores, if you are not a native speaker of English. These must be no older than two years and must arrive by the application deadline. Waivers for applicants who have earned degrees at English-speaking institutions may be requested.
  • The application fee for programs in Arts & Sciences is $45. You may inquire about an application fee waiver by emailing graduateschool@wustl.edu. More information on fee waivers is available at the Graduate School website.
     

applying to the program

The deadline for applying to the PhD program is December 31 for the following academic year. Supported by a relatively small research-focused department, the graduate program admits a limited number of graduate students each year. This low faculty to student ratio allows for a close working relationship between graduate students and their faculty advisors. Prospective students can reach out to faculty in their areas of interest for more information about studying that field at WashU.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the strengths of the Department of History's graduate program?

Supported by a relatively small research-focused department, the graduate program admits only a small number of graduate students each year. This low faculty to student ratio allows for a close working relationship between graduate students and their faculty advisors. The graduate program also encourages students to develop innovative and self-tailored programs of doctoral study that cross conventional historical fields and employ interdisciplinary methodologies. Finally, the Department of History and the Graduate School are committed to providing students with the resources and financial support to realize their ambitious research plans.

How can I tell if the program is right for me?

Prospective students should contact the history faculty members who best match their research interests. E-mail is the best way to initiate this dialogue. Please see a list of faculty under the People tab on this website.

Can I earn a terminal master's degree in History at Washington University?

Doctoral students earn a master's degree after passing their qualifying exams. As a rule, however, the graduate program does not offer a terminal master's degree.

How do I apply to the Department of History's doctoral program?

Use the Graduate School's on-line application. Writing samples in pdf format can be emailed to the department.

What is the most important part of the application?

The department's graduate admissions committee assigns the greatest weight to writing samples. Ideally, a writing sample of up to 100 pages, should demonstrate that a student is capable of using primary historical sources to develop a strong argumentative and analytical thesis.

Does the department have a minimum GPA and GRE requirements for admission to the doctoral program?

The graduate program does not have a minimum GPA and GRE requirements for its applicants. Nor does it compile the average GPA and GRE scores of its current graduate students. However, the graduate admissions committee expects successful applicants to have high test scores and grades. Students with slightly weaker grades and exam results may still be admitted to the program on the basis of exceptionally strong writing samples and letters of recommendation.

How does the Department of History award financial support to graduate students?

The department currently provides financial support to all students making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. At present, the department funds most students for six years.

How can I inquire about an application fee waiver?

Applicants can inquire about a waiver for the $45 application fee by emailing graduateschool@wustl.edu.

How do I submit my official transcript?

Unofficial copies of transcripts should be uploaded at the time of application. A transcript should be uploaded for each institution you have attended. Copies of transcripts should include the applicant's name, the institution's name, and all grades received. Transcripts from foreign institutions should be translated by the issuing institution and uploaded with the original transcript. Translations must bear an original ink signature and seal.  If your institution does not provide an English translation, we also accept translations of transcripts by services such as WES and ECE. After accepting an offer of admission, official transcripts must be submitted from your degree-granting institution(s) for all undergraduate and graduate coursework. Transcripts must be in English and list the applicant name, the institution name, and all grades received. Official transcripts should be sent directly to the Graduate School from the issuing institution, or delivered by hand in a stamped, sealed, institutional envelope. If your official transcript does not show receipt of the degree earned you must also send a certificate of graduation (with translation if needed). Transcripts may be mailed to:

The Graduate School
Attention: Admissions
1 Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1187
Cupples II, Suite 204
St. Louis, MO 63130

If your institution issues electronic transcripts, your institution should send the electronic transcripts graduateschool@wustl.edu.

When are the applications due?

December 21, 2020

For more questions about the application process, please visit the Graduate School's FAQ page.

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