Information for Applicants

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program in History at UCSD!

The Department of History offers graduate work leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with concentrations in Ancient history, East Asian history, European history, History of Science, Latin American history, Middle Eastern history, and United States history. A Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in history is also offered, with concentrations in Chinese Studies, European history, History of Science, Judaic Studies, and United States history.

About Admissions Process

The admissions committee reviews the applications and makes recommendations for admission or denial to the graduate dean. Admission decisions are based on the quality of the applicant's academic degrees and record, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation from professors or others familiar with the applicant's academic work, performance in aptitude and achievement tests as appropriate, relevant work experience, preparation in the proposed field of study, the fit between the applicant's goals and the program, and between the applicant's research interests and those of the program's faculty.

Another part of the admission process is looking at how your research might fit in to our graduate program.  Please take a look at our faculty web pages located on this site.  If you find a professor whose research interests you and is similar to your own research interests, please contact him/her directly.

Admissions FAQs

General Questions

When is the application deadline?

For Fall 2017 entry, online applications must be submitted by the end of the day January 5, 2017 (11:59pm PST). However, supporting materials will be accepted if received by January 10, 2017. Your application will not be complete if you are missing supporting documents.

Do I need a BA in History to apply to the Graduate Program?

You do not need a BA in History, but most of our students have a strong background in History, or in a similar discipline. It would be to your advantage to take classes in History before you apply. A Bachelors degree is required to apply to the graduate program. For international applicants, a baccalaureate degree with above average scholarship is required.

Where do I send supporting materials?

Application materials such as letters of recommendation and transcripts should be submitted electronically via the online application.  Hard copies should only be sent if there are extenuating circumstances wherein it is impossible to submit the materials electronically.  In these cases, hard-copy supporting materials should be mailed to:

UCSD Department of History
Graduate Admissions, HSS 5041
9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0104
La Jolla, CA 92093-0104

Does History have a supplemental application?

No, but applicants must submit a writing sample (7-15 pages long), preferably in a History course.  Please submit your writing sample via the online application for admission.

How do I get a Graduate Application fee waiver?

The fee waiver request is done online with the online graduate application. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents may request a waiver of the application fee. Waivers are provided to applicants who are: 1) currently receiving need-based financial assistance from an undergraduate or graduate institution; or 2) claiming financial hardship based on current federal tax return income data; or 3) participating in selected federal or state funded graduate school preparation programs. You must have the name and email of the program director. All fee waivers are granted provisionally and applicants may be required to provide supporting documentation to finalize the waiver.

How can I check to see if the department has received my application and supporting documents?

Since you are responsible for submitting your materials electronically, you will be able to monitor the status of said materials via the online application.

How many copies of official transcripts are required?

One transcript from each post-secondary institution you attended should be submitted via the online application.

What is the History GPA requirement?

The University of California minimum GPA average to apply is a B (3.0). The Department of History's graduate student average GPA ranges from 3.7-3.8.

Is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required?

Yes, the GRE must be taken by December 2016. There is no minimum score required.

Is the subject Graduate Record Examination 10RE) required?

No, we do not require the subject GRE.

What is a competitive GRE score?

The average score for the GRE General Test is 600-650 in each of the Verbal and Quantitative sections.  (The new revised GRE General Test, which replaced the old test as of August 1, 2011, will have a new score scale, but will also list score results according to the old scale.)  While GRE scores are important, the admissions committee will look at all the documents in the applicant's file.  Your entire file is considered, not just the GRE scores.

What is UCSD's GRE institution code?

UCSD institution code: 4836
History Department code: 2799

When is the last day I can take the GRE?

For Fall 2017 admission, GRE scores should be submitted to us by January 2, 2017. Test must be taken by December 2016. Your application will not be complete if you are missing GRE scores or any other supporting documents, and therefore, will not be considered by the admissions committee.

For more information on the GRE.

Do MA students get financial support?

We do not offer financial support for MA students. However, MA students can apply for Teaching Assistantship positions or for Readerships. If MA students secure a 25% (or greater) Teaching Assistantship, or a 25% (or greater) Readership, they will be eligible for a fee remission for the quarter for which they are employed.

What type of financial support does the department offer Ph.D. students?

Upon recommendation of the department, several types of financial aid are available to graduate students: full or partial remission of fees and tuition, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, readerships, and travel grants. Graduate students are eligible for one or a combination of the six forms of financial support.

For more student financial support visit the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) website: http://ogs.ucsd.edu/FinancialSupport/Pages/ProspectiveStudentFinancialSupport.aspx

How to qualify for the San Diego Fellowship?

To be considered for the San Diego Fellowship applicants must either:

  • increase the diversity of campus by bringing special perspectives, experiences, research interests or talents to your graduate program

      OR

  • have successfully overcome an educational, social, economic or other significant barrier in the pursuit of your education, and as as result, would contribute in a positive manner to the academic and social environment of the campus.

How long does it take to complete the Ph.D. program?

Normally, Ph.D. students complete their degree in 6-7 years.

How can I visit the campus and talk to the graduate adviser or a particular professor?

Prospective students who would like to meet with faculty will need to contact the faculty member directly to arrange an appointment. Please keep in mind that there may be times when faculty members are not available to meet with prospective students. Student Affairs advising hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-11:30 am, 1:30-3:30pm, and by appointment.

Should I contact faculty members whose research matches my interest before I apply?

Yes, it is highly recommended that you contact faculty whose research is of interest to you, prior to applying or during the applicaiton process, to develop relationships with those faculty and to find out if they are currently accpeting students.  Please make sure you introduce yourself properly, be specific about what you are interested in, and attach a CV.   Please also be respectful of their time.

Can I contact some of your current students? I would like to ask them some questions.

The Graduate Advisor will connect you to a graduate student representative. Email history-gradadvising@ucsd.edu with the following information:

Your name, Area of interest (East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, History of Science, U.S.), possible faculty mentor

Please be respectful of the students' time.

How do I arrange a campus tour?

Student-led walking tours are available Monday-Saturday, excluding holidays and holiday weekends, at 11:00 a.m. for prospective students and their families. Tours depart from the lower level of the Price Center in the Theater lobby. Please arrive at departing location by 10:45 a.m.

See Campus Tour website for more information.

How to get a campus map

Here

Can you please send me a catalogue?

You may view it online. You may also purchase a catalogue from the University bookstore.

Can you send me some brochures?

All our information is on our website.

Admissions

When is the application deadline?

For Fall 2017 entry, online applications must be submitted by the end of the day January 5, 2017 (11:59pm PST). We are not accepting late applications. However, supporting materials will be accepted if received by January 10, 2017. Your application will not be complete if you are missing supporting documents.

Do I need a BA in History to apply to the Graduate Program?

You do not need a BA in History, but most of our students have a strong background in History, or in a similar discipline. It would be to your advantage to take classes in History before you apply. A Bachelors degree is required to apply to the graduate program. For international applicants, a baccalaureate degree with above average scholarship is required.

Where do I send supporting materials?

Application materials such as letters of recommendation, transcripts, writing samples, etc. should be submitted electronically via the online application.  Hard copies should only be sent if there are extenuating circumstances wherein it is impossible to submit the materials electronically.  In these cases, hard-copy supporting materials should be mailed to:

UCSD Department of History
Graduate Admissions, HSS 5027
9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0104
La Jolla, CA 92093-0104

Does History have a supplemental application?

No, but applicants must submit a writing sample (7-15 pages long), preferably in a History course.  Please submit your writing sample via the online application.

How do I get a Graduate Application fee waiver?

The fee waiver request is done online with the graduate application for admission. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents may request a waiver of the application fee. Waivers are provided to applicants who are: 1) currently receiving need-based financial assistance from an undergraduate or graduate institution; or 2) claiming financial hardship based on current federal tax return income data; or 3) participating in selected federal or state funded graduate school preparation programs. You must have the name and email of the program director. All fee waivers are granted provisionally and applicants may be required to provide supporting documentation to finalize the waiver.

How can I check to see if the department has received my application and supporting documents?

Since you are responsible for submitting your materials electronically, you will be able to monitor the status of said materials via the online application.

How many copies of official transcripts are required?

One transcript from each post-secondary institution you attended should be submitted via the online application.

What is the History GPA requirement?

The University of California minimum GPA average to apply is a B (3.0). The Department of History's graduate student average GPA ranges from 3.7-3.8.

Statement of Purpose Guidelines

Focus your Statement of Purpose on the reasons you are interested in attending the PhD or MA program in History at UCSD. The statement should be limited to 2500 words and must be submitted via the online application. The statement should be well organized, concise, and completely free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Before submitting the statement, seek constructive comments and criticism from friends and advisors.

Five primary topics to cover in your statement of purpose:

  • How did you become interested in this field? Establish that you have had a long-term interest in the field and that you have taken positive steps in pursuing your interest. Give the committee members a sense of your particular talents and abilities and their relevance to your academic interests.
  • What experiences have contributed toward your preparation for further study in this field? Demonstrate your interest by providing examples of research experiences, internships, work experience, community service, publications, or life experiences. Briefly describe what you did in each experience. Also, make sure to articulate what you have learned about the field and how those lessons stimulated you to pursue an advanced degree.
  • What are your future goals? Specifically state your degree objective (Master's or Ph.D.) and specify what subdisciplines you are interested in pursuing. The committee needs to know your regional (ie., U.S., Europe, Latin America, East Asia, Africa, etc.) and topical focus (ie., legal history, cultural history, transnational history, gender studies in history, comparative racial and ethnic histories, etc.). Let the reader know that you are planning a future career as a university professor, researcher, consultant...or whatever your goal happens to be.
  • What are your research interests? Within your subdiscipline, you should be able to identify one or two topics that are of interest to you. When possible, be specific about your research agenda. Remember that you will be working with professors in research; therefore, your research interests should parallel those of the faculty. (You will usually not be expected to know exactly what you want to research; faculty know that initial interests often change.)
  • How are you a "match" for the program to which you are applying? Explain what attracts you most to the institution/program to which you are applying. Align your research interests with those of one or more of the affiliated professors. The better the "match" with the program/professors, the better the chance that you will be admitted.

Other factors to weave in (remember these are secondary factors):

  1. Give examples of personal attributes or qualities that would help you complete graduate study successfully.
  2. Describe your determination to achieve your goals, your initiative and ability to develop ideas, and your ability to work independently.
  3. Describe background characteristics that may have placed you at an educational disadvantage (English language learner, family economic history, lack of educational opportunity, disability, etc.).
  4. Leave the reader believing that you are prepared for advanced academic work and will be successful in graduate school.

Financial Aid

Do MA students get financial support?

We do not offer financial support for MA students. However, MA students can apply for Teaching Assistantship positions or for Readerships. If MA students secure a 25% (or greater) Teaching Assistantship, or a 25% (or greater) Readership, they will be eligible for a fee remission at the end of the quarter they worked.

What type of financial support does the department offer Ph.D. students?

Upon recommendation of the department, several types of financial aid are available to graduate students: full or partial remission of fees and tuition, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, readerships, and travel grants. Graduate students are eligible for one or a combination of the six forms of financial support.

For more student financial support visit the OGS website:

How to qualify for the San Diego Fellowship?

To be considered for the San Diego Fellowship applicants must either:

  • increase the diversity of campus by bringing special perspectives, experiences, research interests or talents to your graduate program

      OR

  • have successfully overcome an educational, social, economic or other significant barrier in the pursuit of your education, and as as result, would contribute in a positive manner to the academic and social environment of the campus.

Program

How long does it take to complete the Ph.D. program?

Normally, Ph.D. students complete their degree in 5-7 years.

How can I visit the campus and talk to the graduate adviser or a particular professor?

Prospective students who would like to meet with faculty will need to contact the faculty member directly to arrange an appointment. Please keep in mind that there may be times when faculty members are not available to meet with prospective students. Student Affairs advising hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-11:30 am, 1:30-3:30pm, and by appointment.

Can I contact some of your current students? I would like to ask them some questions.

The Graduate Advisor will connect you to a graduate student representative. Email history-gradadvising@ucsd.edu with the following information:

Your name,  Area of interest (East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, History of Science, U.S.), possible faculty mentor

Please be respectful of the students' time.

Campus

How do I arrange a campus tour?

Student-led walking tours are available Monday-Saturday, excluding holidays and holiday weekends, at 11:00 a.m. for prospective students and their families. Tours depart from the lower level of the Price Center in the Theater lobby. Please arrive at departing location by 10:45 a.m.

See Campus Tour website for more information.

How to get a campus map

Here

Can you please send me a catalogue?

You may view it online. You may also purchase a catalogue from the University bookstore.

Can you send me some brochures?

All our information is on our website.