Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any questions we haven't answered? Contact Robin and she will be happy to assist you.

What is a competitive GPA for applicants?

On average, new students have an overall college GPA of 3.7 or above. We also look at prospective student GRE scores, faculty recommendations, personal statements, and research papers as part of the selection process.

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What kind of GRE scores are you looking for?

Average GRE scores:

  • Verbal – 165
  • Quantitative – 150
  • Written – 4.5

NOTE: We do not require the subject test. Foreign applicants speaking English as a second language must have taken the TOEFL exam within the last 2 years.

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When should I take the GRE?

GRE testing must take place within the 5 years prior to your application to our department. An official report of the scores, sent directly from Educational Testing Service, must be provided as part of your application.

NOTE: Students applying to the Juris Doctor/Master of Arts program are not required to take the GRE.

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What kind of writing sample should I send?

Candidates must submit a sample of recent writing, preferably a research paper of at least 10-15 pages in length. You may submit your undergraduate senior thesis or master's thesis. Submit writing samples electronically with your application to the Office of Admissions.

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How selective is the process of being admitted?

We admit very few students each year (fewer than 10), so our program is quite competitive. This small size, however, creates an intimate atmosphere for learning and a unique opportunity for teaching experience. Your GPA, GRE scores, faculty recommendations, personal statement, and writing sample are weighed by several professors in our department, including persons knowledgeable in your area of interest.

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What are the language requirements for the Ph.D.?

All candidates for graduate degrees in history are required to demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language. Each student should devise the strategy that will best suit him or her in the long run, shifting language training from a burden to a meaningful opportunity.

At present, the way of certifying competency in a foreign language is to pass a translation test in which you render one or more passages into English, with the use of a dictionary, within a set time of two hours. These tests will be administered and graded by a qualified individual (within or outside the department) as appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies.

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What kind of teaching assistant (TA) opportunities are available?

  • Year 1: Departmental fellows can work as a grader or research assistant for 9.5 hours/week, or occasionally as a teaching assistant for one semester for 19 hours/week.
  • Years 2 and 3: A holder of a departmental fellowship is usually designated as a TA in one undergrad course during one semester each year. Work includes teaching a section of a large class, grading papers and exams, or even giving an occasional lecture, depending upon the nature of the class (roughly 19 hours/week).
  • Years 4 and 5: A holder of a departmental fellowship is usually designated as a TA in one undergrad course during one semester each year. Work includes teaching a section of a large class, grading papers and exams, or even giving an occasional lecture, depending upon the nature of the class (roughly 19 hours/week), or they will be given another work assignment.
  • Years 6 and 7: Individuals are often given the opportunity to teach classes of their own design, or may be given an additional TA position.

There will continue to be flexibility within these general guidelines, depending upon the needs of each student and of the department in a given year.

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