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Wake Forest University

Graduate School

Students interested in applying to graduate school in history should plan their course of study carefully and consult with faculty members early, particularly those who share your research interests.

All graduate programs in history require evidence of good critical thinking skills and research experience; a writing sample will be an integral part of your application. You should be able to demonstrate familiarity with your proposed field of study, as well as an awareness of the various different theories and methods that historians bring to bear upon their evidence. You should think seriously about the advantages of writing an honors thesis, especially in the field you intend to pursue. Finally, most graduate programs require the ability to read and translate at least one foreign language for U.S. fields, and at least two foreign languages for non-U.S. ones.

Applications to graduate school are filed in the fall and winter, with most deadlines between November and January. Applicants usually take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in the fall of their senior year, so that the results can be sent to the graduate programs. Schools usually require three letters of recommendation, as well as a personal statement. Recommendations are best written by faculty who have taught you in at least one upper-division class and have a good sense of your work, abilities, and plans. You should ask your prospective recommenders well in advance of the application deadline, and provide a curriculum vitae and a copy of your personal statement. You should research thoroughly the literature and web pages of the programs in which you are interested, as requirements and deadlines vary.

For a useful and honest essay on the details of graduate study and the application process, read "Inscribing Your Future: The Trials and Tribulations of Applying to Graduate School," which was originally published in the newsletter of the American Historical Association.

The following sites are also useful if you are thinking of applying to graduate school in history.


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Department of History, Wake Forest University, P.O. Box 7806, Winston-Salem, NC 27109
Department office: Tribble B-101
Phone: (336) 758.5501    Fax.(336)758.6130