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Admissions Process


Requirements for Admission

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and must have achieved a minimum, overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as well as a minimum GPA of 3.0 in history courses taken as an undergraduate. Occasionally the History Department admits superior students who have not had the equivalent of a history major or students whose grades in history courses are exceptional but whose other grades do not meet the minimum GPA.

When students are admitted to the graduate program in History they are admitted to a specific study program.  Select your field carefully and submit the Selection of Study Program Form (pdf) for details.  Take careful note of any language requirements for admission to a program.  Admission to a specific study program commits you to work toward an M.A. or Ph.D. in that particular area of specialization.

Application Procedure

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose or reasons for graduate study (perhaps the hardest part of the application to write) should run 2‑3 typed pages.  While it may well include some autobiographical information, its real purpose is to acquaint us with how your mind works.  We want to know, for example, what kinds of intellectual problems and issues interest you, whose stories intrigue you, what sorts of analytical or narrative approaches you like to pursue, which historical writings you admire – and your reasons for these various preferences.  Please help us understand your decision to enter the historical profession and how you see your own role in it.  There is no single right way to approach this part of the application, but you may want to bear in mind the usual cautions for personal writing: speak in your own voice, simply and straightforwardly, so that we can hear that voice clearly, and write as well as you know how.

  • Upload a campus copy of your transcripts in GWIS and send two original official transcripts from all institutions attended showing all undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded to the Department of History at the following address:

Department of History
3211 Mosse Humanities Building
455 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706-1483

  • Submit three letters of recommendation online.

  • Submit a sample of written work (usually 15-20 pages - single- or double-spaced. This can be uploaded in GWIS).

  • Have your GRE scores sent to the Graduate School. 

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for admission. The test must be taken within the last five years. Students requesting a waiver [e.g. International applicants] should contact the Department.  Please note that GREs are required for fellowship competitions.

Designate UW‑Madison as a recipient when you take the examination; your scores will be reported to us.  Our institution code is 1846.

International Students

Official TOEFL scores are required  from countries in which the language of the country is not English. A Financial Statement will be requested upon a positive admission recommendation the department.

Application Deadline

In order to receive full consideration for admissions and priority consideration for fellowships, your application and all of the supporting materials listed above must reach the Graduate School and our office by December 1. 

Decisions are made on these applications in late December and early January, and applicants will be notified of the results in February.  Applications completed after December 1 will be reviewed only if the program is not already full.  We accept no applications after January 15. 

The Graduate School will notify you when it has received your application. It is your responsibility to make certain that all the materials have been supplied. Please check the status of your application online.

Continuing Students

For continuing UW-Madison students doing a change or addition of major, please submit the form  http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/forms/changemajorform.html and a statement of purpose

Submit the following materials:

Send these materials to Jane Williams, Graduate Admissions Coordinator, at 4217 Mosse Humanities Building.

Other information

You may be interested in these other sites.

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Inquiries regarding off‑campus housing may be made to the Campus Assistance Center http://housing.civc.wisc.edu or for student housing on campus see http://www.housing.wisc.edu

We look forward to receiving your application.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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