You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences History PhD Admission & Course Requirements

Admissions at a Glance

January 15 (Fall Admission Only)
Summer admission
Required materials
Application form and fee
Statement of purpose*
Official or unofficial transcripts
3 letters of recommendation
GRE scores optional 
Writing sample: recent written work of substantial length (master's thesis, research paper, or interpretative essay)
Learn more about additional requirements for international students

How to Apply  Request Info  Tuition & Funding

*Statement of purpose: explain how your research interests are relevant to the research conducted by the department's faculty

Admissions and Program Requirements

How Admissions Decisions Are Made

Admission to the PhD program is at the discretion of the Department's Graduate Committee and Chair, who act within the framework of American University and College of Arts and Sciences standards. Admission is normally contingent upon the student's prior achievement of an MA degree, but on occasion some exceptionally well-qualified students may be admitted directly to the PhD program from their undergraduate work, although they must fulfill MA requirements on the way to the PhD.

The student's MA need not necessarily be in the discipline of history, provided that he or she has a good background in history and a strong record of course work in history at the undergraduate and graduate level. The holder of an MA degree in another field who has a limited background in history is better off applying to the History Department's MA program.

Please include a statement of purpose indicating educational and career objectives, areas of interest within history, and relevant academic or practical experience.