The Department of History offers a PhD program centered on rigorous research within a vibrant and diverse intellectual community. While most of our students have a history degree (BA) or degrees (BA and MA), we accept students with a variety of backgrounds and interests. 

Admission is highly competitive. We make approximately thirty to forty offers of admission each year and aim to matriculate fifteen to twenty new PhD students. All offers include a full university fellowship. In 2017- 2019, a number of excellent students selected for admission were named Brenda and Earl Shapiro Scholars in History or Neubauer Family Distinguished Doctoral Fellows and received additional fellowship support over five years. Students matriculating in 2020 will receive full funding for the duration of their program.

2020–21 Admissions Deadline: December 10, 2019.

Admissions: You apply to the PhD program through the Division of the Social Sciences. Read the FAQs for answers to many of your admissions questions.

Application Decisions: Official decisions are sent by the Social Science Admissions Office by the middle of March. The Department cannot release any information on admissions decisions.

Campus Visits: Our office assistant will be happy to arrange meetings with faculty and the graduate affairs administrator. Please consult our faculty page to find professors who share your interests. Our graduate affairs administrator can provide additional information about the program. Be sure to contact us at least two weeks before your visit so we can make your trip the most worthwhile. The best time to visit is in the autumn quarter before you complete your application.

The university also offer graduate campus tours throughout the year that are lead by graduate students.

Admitted PhD students are invited to visit campus for History Day in the early spring. History Day will be held March 5&6, 2020.  

Application Components: You will find requirements for the application on the divisional admissions pages. The following tips are specific to your application to the Department of History:

  • Your writing sample should be a complete self-contained work. The ideal sample should be in the field of history (or a closely related field) that you plan to pursue at Chicago. Include the class or publication for which the sample was written. For papers longer than twenty-five pages, please flag a section for the committee.
  • Your candidate statement should explore specific academic interests and explain how they fit with our faculty's research and teaching strengths. You should discuss your preparation for graduate study and, where applicable to your scholarly plan, your language training and preparation. 
  • The most helpful letters of recommendation come from faculty members who can access your ability to work on your proposed historical topic.
  • The GRE requirement cannot be waived; the history subject test is not required; successful applicants generally have high GRE scores.
  • There is no minimum foreign language requirement to enter the program, but successful applicants should possess strong language skills in their proposed research language(s) and be aware of the language requirements for the various fields. All students are required to take a language exam in the first quarter of the program.
  • The university sets the English-language assessment for non-native English speakers; refer to the Division of the Social Sciences for English-language requirements and waivers.