Most applicants to the MA and PhD programs have the equivalent of an undergraduate degree and/or an MA in history, but the department welcomes qualified students who previously had specialized in other related disciplines and show clear promise of excellent work in history.

The department does not set a minimum grade point average for admission. However, our experience shows that anyone with less than an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.5 in history courses rarely qualifies for admission.

Successful applicants are those whose interests fit well with the work of our current faculty. Applicants should indicate with whom they would like to work and the projects that they might want to undertake to fulfill their graduate program requirements. Students are not bound by their declaration and may change their topics after matriculation.

It is highly recommended that applicants contact their prospective advisor during the application process. Not all faculty accept students each year, please check their faculty page to verify if they are accepting new students.

Application Materials

Applicants must upload the following materials to our online application:

  • A statement of purpose (please state the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work)
  • All BA and, if relevant, MA transcripts
  • At least three letters of recommendation, preferably from history faculty
  • A writing sample from a history course (preferably one involving independent research), or from a BA or MA thesis
  • All AS&E Graduate applications have a Diversity Statement requirement (uploaded document of no more than 500 words)
    • The University of Rochester motto of Meliora- or "ever better" - deeply integrates core values into all that we do. These core values of equity, leadership, openness, respect and accountability define not only who we are, but also who we want to become. Based on our motto please share something about your background, lived experience, or viewpoint(s) that speaks to how you can contribute to your intended field of study, your community or the University of Rochester to make it "ever better". 
  • Optional: GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical)

The application fee for the 2024-25 cycle is $60 for both MA and PhD applicants.

The deadline for PhD applications is January 15; all materials must be received by that date. The department reviews MA applications on a rolling basis between September 1 and May 1, for admission the following academic year.

Recommenders will be prompted to upload their letter of recommendation directly and do not need to submit a physical copy. Students will only be required to submit official transcripts if they are offered admission. The University of Rochester provides equal opportunity in admissions and financial aid.

All portions of the application must be done online. We no longer accept physical application materials.

Please see our FAQ page for answers to more specific questions about the application process. If you have additional questions, send us an email at