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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, the applications process is completed through our online system.

After you submit your application, you will be considered for admission to the History Department and for any Universty fellowship competitions you may be elligible for.

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. The preferred method for recieving recommendations is through the online system. If recommenders prefer not to submit through the online system, they may email the letter directly to or mail it to:

History Graduate Studies 
University of Minnesota
271 19th Ave. S., Ste 1130
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Both emailed and physically mailed letters must be accompanied by a signed Recommendation Form, which is part of the online system and only needs to be sent seperately to recommenders who are not comfortable using the online system. If the letter is sent via physical mail, both the letter and the recommendation 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. The GRE code for the University of Minnesota is 6874. There is also a place to self report your scores through your online graduate school application.

An international student who submits English Language Proficency scores is NOT required to submit GRE scores.

English Language Proficency Scores

University policy requires international applicants (and domestic applicants whose native language is not English) to provide proof of English language proficiency as a condition of admission. More information on this policy and the tests that the University of Minnesota accepts can be found on the Graduate School website.

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.