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Requirements & Instructions

Your application to the history graduate program at the University of Minnesota contains many different parts. Below is the list of components you will need in order to complete your application. Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, you can submit your application to the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota, by applying online through ApplyYourself.

After you submit your application to the Graduate School, you will be considered for admission to the graduate program as well as any funding for which you qualify.

Research Statement

The admissions committee seeks prospective students who are prepared to engage in a rigorous course of study undertaken in collaboration with a wide range of teachers and colleagues. In order for the committee to get to know you as a potential member of our community, we ask that you provide a snapshot of your intellectual and personal interests through a research statement.

Please use the questions below to craft your research statement, which you should upload under Statements #1. You do not have to answer every question but do choose the ones that will give us the best sense of you as an historian. Please do not exceed 1,000 words.

  • How would you like to grow as an historian and intellectual during your time in graduate school? How has your understanding of history changed in the course of your studies thus far?
  • What problems of understanding or interpretation are you most interested in engaging during your time in graduate school? What was the most interesting and formative class you took as an undergraduate outside the history department, and how did it shape how you look at the past and at historical writing?
  • Many people become aware sometime during their youth of the power of the past. How is history different from the past?
  • What is the most difficult dimension of studying and practicing history? What are examples of difficult historical problems? Why should we pay attention to them?

Writing Sample

Please provide the committee with a writing sample that gives us insight into your intellectual curiosity, analytic, and creative abilities. It must be in English and no more than 25 pages in length, and could be part of an undergraduate project, a section or two from a senior or master’s thesis, or a piece of published writing.

Your sample should showcase your ability to work with primary sources and make historical arguments. If you are planning on working with a research language other than English, your writing sample should ideally display your facility with that language. If you are applying from a discipline other than history, then choose a piece of writing that displays your skills as a researcher, and that will suggest to the committee how your previous education provides a solid foundation for your future historical work. Feel free to include as part of the sample a page or two that contextualizes its contents within a class or larger project.

Letters of Recommendation

Please submit three letters of recommendation with your application to the history graduate program. We prefer letters from academic references over letters from nonacademic employers.

Requests for recommendations can be submitted through the recommendation system on your online graduate school application. Please encourage your recommenders to submit online whenever possible, via the link generated by the online application.

If recommenders prefer not to submit online, they may send a letter directly to:

The Department of History
University of Minnesota
271 19th Ave. S., Ste 1110
Minneapolis, MN 55455

The letter must be accompanied by a signed Recommendation Waiver Form (available through the Graduate School online recommendation system). Both the letter and the form should be placed in an envelope signed across the seal by the recommender.


Your unofficial transcript from each college or university that you have attended is required.

GRE Scores

Your Official Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score is required to be considered for admission to the program. Please have your GRE results sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the graduate school and history department. There is also a place to self report your scores through your online graduate school application.

An international student who submits TOEFL scores is NOT required to submit GRE scores.

TOEFL Scores

Your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test score is required if you are an international applicant and your native language is not English. Official scores are required before consideration for admission.

Please have your TOEFL results sent directly from ETS to the Graduate School and History Department. There is also a place to self report your scores through your online graduate school application.

Diversity Statement

Two diversity fellowships are also available for incoming graduate students: Diversity of Views and Experiences and Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change. If you feel that you qualify and would like to be considered for nomination, please submit a statement explaining your candidacy. Label the document either "Diversity Fellowship Statement" or "Interdisciplinary Fellowship Statement."

If you are submitting either of these documents with your application, please upload them through your online graduate school application under Statements #2.

Department of History Online Form

Finally, please fill out the information specific to your application to the Department of History. This information must be filled out completely and submitted through your ApplyYourself online graduate school application.