Application Process

Beginning in Fall 2017-18, the graduate program in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology will become part of the Department of History. We will continue to offer separate graduate degrees in History and in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. 

The application for Fall 2017-2018 admissions has closed. The application to apply for entry in Fall 2018 will open on September 6, 2017. 

Application Deadline: December 1st

To apply for admission to our graduate program, you will need to complete the Graduate School’s online application. The online application has two parts: the Graduate School portion and a Supplemental Application specific to our department. The following information will walk you through the process and answer other questions you may have. Once you have read carefully the information below, go to the Graduate School’s “Apply Now” page.

STEP 1: In the Graduate School portion of the application, you will be asked to submit or declare the following:

  • Intended field of study – degree option. If you intend to pursue the Ph.D. in History, you should select the Ph.D. program on the UW application form. If you enter without an M.A., you will receive an M.A. in the course of your studies (assuming satisfactory progress) before advancing to the doctoral program. We offer multi-year financial support packages only to students who will pursue the Ph.D., so, although we occasionally accept students who wish to earn only the M.A., they must have external funding or be self-funded. 
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. GRE test scores are required for admission
    to our program, and the test must have been taken within the last 5 years. Students requesting a waiver (e.g., international applicants) should contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • English-language competence. TOEFL scores are required of international students from
    countries in which English is not a primary language.
  • Letters of recommendation. Provide contact information for the three individuals who
    will furnish recommendations on your behalf. (They will receive an upload link by email.)
  • Statement of purpose (uploaded in PDF format). The Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages,
    double-spaced) explains your reasons for graduate study. It may be the hardest part of the application to write, but it is also the most important. While you will likely include some autobiographical information, its primary 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 we suggest that you bear in mind the usual cautions for personal writing: speak straightforwardly, in your own voice, and write as well as you know how.

STEP 2: Once you have submitted the Graduate School portion of the application, complete the second part of the online application, the History Supplemental Application. This section will ask you for the following information:

  • Study Program Selection. Admission to a specific study program commits you to work toward your degree in that area, so you should select your study program with care. You may also wish to explore the research specializations of particular program faculty. If your research interests span geographical areas, you may name more than one geographical study program.
  • Preferred Faculty Advisors. Here you will be asked to provide the names of the faculty members with whom you would like to work. For contact information and descriptions of their research interests, consult our directories of History faculty and History of Science, Medicine, and Technology faculty.
  • Your research interests. Please tell us about any regional/geographical interests you have
    or thematic/methodological concentrations you might wish to pursue.
  • Additional information about your background and experience. This section will ask you
  • Tell us about your language preparation, if any.
  • Submit two copies of official transcripts from all institutions attended, showing all
    undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded.
  • Provide a writing sample that best illustrates the quality of your written work (optimally no more than 50 pages, double-spaced; max. file size 6 MB).
  • Provide a CV or resumé (or fill in the provided boxes).

STEP 3: Tracking the status of your application. Once you have submitted the Graduate School’s portion of the online application and the History Supplemental Application, you will receive an email from the Office of Graduate Admissions that contains important information about how to track the status of your application.

Follow the instructions in this email so that you can regularly check for messages from UW-Madison’s Graduate School, which will alert you if any materials are needed to complete your application.

If you have questions about the admissions process, please read through the FAQs below. You are welcome to contact our Graduate Admissions Coordinator with any unanswered questions about the process or about your application materials.

Frequently Asked Questions about Admissions

What if I have problems attaching the supporting documents to the online application?

Try refreshing the page in your browser. Try using a different browser. If you are still unsuccessful, please send the documents in an email attachment to the Graduate Admissions Coordinator

How will I know if my application is complete?

Following the instructions provided in an email you will receive from the Graduate School once you have submitted your application, go to My UW. Once you have logged in, select "Grad Application Status." Look for the Program Checklist on the right-hand side. If all items are checked, the History Department has all of the materials required and your application is complete. 

When are applications reviewed?

Faculty members will begin reviewing files immediately after the December 1st deadline and the department will send letters of admission or refusal by late February. 

What if my transcripts, letters of recommendation, or test scores aren’t received by December 1st?

We understand that some of these items may trickle in after the application deadline. As long as you have paid the application fee and submitted your application by December 1st, your application will be considered for admission 

How many applications do you receive each year and how many students do you admit?

We receive approximately 300 applications each year. We generally admit only students to whom we can offer a multi-year funding guarantee. In 2016, we offered admission to approximately 30 students or who have external funding. 

What is the average GPA for an admitted student?

The Graduate School requires a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Most students admitted to the Department of History have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher in history-related courses. 

If I’m interested in a terminal Master’s degree, what are my chances for admission?

Our program is designed to meet the needs of the Ph.D. candidate. We occasionally admit a student for a terminal Master’s degree, if they have external funding or are self-funded. 

If I already have an M.A. from another institution, will I have to do an M.A. at UW-Madison?

Maybe. If you have written an M.A. thesis or a longer research paper, our faculty will determine whether it satisfies our M.A. research seminar requirement. For specifics regarding your individual case, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator