Application Information for Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in pursuing graduate studies in history. Before you begin your application, please take a moment to review the information below.

Application Deadlines

  • January 15: For M.A. and Ph.D. applicants seeking departmental funding (graduate assistantships).
  • March 1: For M.A. and Ph.D. applicants not seeking funding.
  • Oct. 1: M.A. applicants only for spring semester admission (international applicants).
  • Nov. 1: M.A. applicants only for spring semester admission (domestic applicants).

Application Materials

The Graduate School manages your entire application online, which comprises several parts. Please ensure that your application is completed by the deadline to be considered for the history graduate committee's review.

Application Process

  • To be considered for admission to our history graduate program, you must submit a formal application to the Graduate School.
  • Your application will be evaluated by both the Graduate School and the Department of History. Admission and assistantship decisions are made by the department.
  • Admission considerations encompass various factors, including grades in relevant subjects, letters of recommendation from history faculty, language skills, your application essay, and a writing sample.
  • For Ph.D. applicants, your proposed fields of study and the potential area of your dissertation are also taken into account, with faculty expertise playing a crucial role in this assessment.
  • Students with a bachelor's degree will be considered for admission to the master's program, while those with a master's degree in history will be considered for the doctoral program.

Transcripts (Undergraduate and, if Appropriate, Graduate)

  • We generally seek an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GPA in undergraduate history courses of 3.25 or higher.
  • For applicants with lower undergraduate GPAs, we consider evidence of significant improvement in the final two years of undergraduate studies. Strong grades in courses taken as an NIU graduate student-at-large can also help offset a lower undergraduate GPA.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Two letters are required for the M.A. program and three for the Ph.D. program.
  • Letters should be requested from professors or professionals who can provide substantial insights into your academic work in history.
  • We understand that obtaining these letters can be challenging for individuals whose undergraduate studies were completed some years ago. In such cases, we recommend requesting a letter from someone who can assess your academic abilities, achievements, or potential in the field of history.

Application Essay/Career Goal Statement

  • This statement should be 500-750 words long and should address your readiness for graduate work in history, your specific historical interests, relevant life experiences, and reasons for pursuing graduate studies in history.
  • Specify your chosen field of history and your preparation in that area.
  • Clearly indicate any language training you have, listing the languages and your proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking.

Writing Sample

  • Both M.A. and Ph.D. program applicants must provide a writing sample.
  • Ideally, this should be a research paper from an upper-level undergraduate or graduate history course or a thesis. If this isn't possible, please submit a paper that best showcases your intellectual and analytical abilities.
  • It would be helpful to include a copy or description of the assignment to which this written work responds.

Graduate Assistantships

  • Our primary form of financial aid is through graduate teaching assistantships. These applications are highly competitive as there are more applicants than available funds.
  • Admission and assistantship decisions are made separately, with admission decisions being determined first.
  • Funding decisions are made once annually during the spring semester preceding the upcoming academic year.
  • Applicants applying by the January 15 deadline will automatically be considered for a graduate assistantship.

We appreciate your interest and look forward to your application. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

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