Application Process and Required Materials


Applications for admission are submitted electronically using the Graduate College online application system. All application materials are to be submitted electronically.

Letters of Reference

The application calls for three current (not more than one year old) letters of reference from persons who have direct knowledge of your academic performance and potential for graduate study. You will be required to enter three recommenders within the online application. They will be sent an automatic e-mail with instructions for submitting their recommendation. Recommenders can upload their recommendations as documents or type their recommendation directly into the system.

Graduate Records Examination score (GRE)

You’ll need to ask the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to submit official scores electronically to the university database. When ETS asks for destination codes, put 1836 for the institution and leave the department code blank. The department pays considerable attention to GRE verbal scores, which have proven to have a high correlation with long-term success in our program. The average GRE percentile score for domestic (U.S.) students accepted into the program in the last few years has been in the 80s. In all admissions cases, we examine the whole application package, and do not determine admission based solely on GRE scores. If you are currently in an MA program we will accept a copy of a GRE report regardless of when the exam was taken. In all other cases the exam scores must not be older than five years.


If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate your proficiency in the English language by submitting a TOEFL score of 600 or above on the paper test, or a score of 253 on the computer based test. We strongly recommend that you take the Test of Written English (TWE) section of the TOEFL, which is given on certain test dates; contact TOEFL Services (phone number 609-683-2091) for more detailed information. A copy of your score should be sent to the Department of History. All international students should refer to our special information for international students section for further information.

Sample of Written Work

Please submit a sample of your written work showing your ability as an historian to engage in historical debate using primary and secondary sources. This should be no more than 30 pages in length submitted electronically as part of the application under Program-specific Question 1.

Academic Statement of Purpose / Personal Statement

A 2-3 page single-spaced academic statement of purpose and personal statement—in a combined text—is required and submitted electronically. This is among the most important parts of the application. You may present these elements in any way you find useful. (1) Academic statement: please describe your intellectual interests, academic experience, career goals, anticipated fields of study (geographic/chronological and thematic/comparative), faculty you would like to work with, and ability to do research in relevant language(s) for your areas of study. (2) Personal statement: please indicate what experiences have shaped your thinking and motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree in history, and in the particular fields you are interested in.


Please submit an unofficial transcript with your application. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A=4.0), or comparable GPA for an international applicant, for last two years of undergraduate study is a minimum requirement for admission. If your undergraduate study is longer than 4 years, additional semesters may be used to calculate the admission GPA. Official transcripts are not a required component of the application.

Please note that successful applicants to the History grad program typically have a much higher GPA than the Grad College's minimum standard.

We ask for official transcripts after you receive a letter of admission from the Department of History. In the event that you are accepted into the graduate program, we require complete official transcripts for all previous academic training, both graduate and undergraduate. Each transcript must arrive in our office sealed in its original envelope. For domestic applicants: Transcripts must be sent directly to our office from the issuing institution. If the transcript does not show the degree earned, a separate certificate of degree must be provided at a later date. For international applicants: Each transcript must be in its original sealed envelope but the student may send it to our office in a packet with other materials. For applicants from China: In addition to the transcript, a separate certificate of degree is required, regardless of whether the degree earned is shown on the transcript.

These materials are to be sent to:
Graduate Secretary
309 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801