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Admissions criteria


Do I need a prior degree in History to apply?

While a prior degree in History is not required, we expect that all applicants will have substantial undergraduate coursework in history. If your background doesn’t take the form of a History B.A., be sure that your experience in history is visible in your transcripts, your writing samples, and your statement of purpose.

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What is the minimum recommended GPA?

Most successful applicants to a graduate program in history have outstanding undergraduate records, but occasionally students take longer to reach their potential. Applicants whose grades in undergraduate history courses were not mostly in the A range may need to explain why their performance at the graduate level can be expected to exceed their undergraduate performance in history.

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What GRE tests are required and how good do my scores have to be?

The general GRE test is a mandatory entrance requirement for all applicants. It is not necessary, however, to take the subject exam in history. The department does not set a firm minimum set of scores.

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Do I need a foreign language?

Once in our graduate program, all students are required to show — or acquire — mastery of at least one foreign language. The amount of language preparation that students should list on their applications varies according to the field (U.S., European, Asian, etc.) and degree (M.A., Ph.D.). Graduate Admissions Committee members will be looking for appropriate linguistic background and skill, so be sure that your application lists your language training. It is rare for a student to be admitted in a field involving foreign language research without basic competency in that language.  For information about the expectations of specific fields, you may wish to contact either graduate director Julie Hessler or a potential faculty advisor in that field.

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How many apply and how many are accepted into the program?

Generally speaking, we receive about 120 applications and admit 20 students to the program.

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Should I apply to the M.A. program or the Ph.D. program?

Applicants with B.A. degrees are encouraged to apply to the M.A. program.

Applicants with M.A. degrees should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. In unusual cases, such as those of applicants who have an M.A. in a field other than history, contact the Director of Graduate Studies before submitting your application.

Applicants intending to take a terminal M.A. degree or to apply to another Ph.D. program after completing the M.A. at Oregon should apply to the M.A. program.

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Do you offer a direct B.A. to Ph.D. option?

Yes. Applicants may apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Because of limited funding, however, we will be able to offer admission directly to the Ph.D. program to only a few such applicants.

Applicants with B.A. degrees who apply directly to the Ph.D. program will automatically be considered for admission to the M.A. program should they not be admitted to the Ph.D. program. Applying to the Ph.D. program will not hinder an applicant’s chances of being accepted into the M.A. program.

Students who apply to the Ph.D. program but who are admitted to the M.A. program remain eligible to apply to the Ph.D. program in subsequent admissions cycles.

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