The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

History - PhD

Division: Social Sciences
Degree Type: PhD (For the MA degree, see the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences)

Program Description

Along with graduate fields organized by traditional regional, national, and chronological boundaries, the History Department offers a comprehensive range of interdisciplinary, theoretical, and comparative fields of study. We strongly encourage students to take courses outside of History and to compose one of their three oral fields in a comparative discipline. An equally distinctive part of our program is the interdisciplinary workshops and special conferences that bring together students and faculty from throughout the University for intellectual exchange. The History Department expects to welcome approximately 25 new graduate students each year. Each cohort is composed of students from a broad range of fields and backgrounds; perhaps a fifth arrive from outside the United States. The Department's distinguished faculty of 47 works in close concert with students in the graduate seminars, colloquia, and tutorials that form the core of advanced training at Chicago.

Explore program faculty »

Specific Areas of Focus

  • Ancient History
  • British History
  • Byzantine History
  • Caribbean-Atlantic History
  • East Asian History
  • Early Modern European History
  • History of Science and Medicine
  • International and Transnational History
  • Islamic/Middle-Eastern History
  • Latin American History
  • Medieval European History
  • Modern European History
  • Modern Jewish History
  • Russian History
  • South Asian History
  • United States History


Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

The Department of History admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered.

Campus Visits

Campus visits and interviews are not required. Visiting information » 

Degree Objective

The Department of History admits applicants only for the PhD degree. We do not offer an MA program. If you are interested in pursuing an MA focusing in History, look at the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS).

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee Fee waiver information »
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. GRE and TOEFL Scores
  5. Statement of Academic Purpose
  6. Writing Sample
  7. Resume/CV
  8. Transcripts
  9. Supplemental Data Form

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

The requirements have been defined with a view to maintaining a balance between professional guidance and freedom of choice, common departmental criteria and the distinctive needs of each field, extensive coverage and intensive application. Here is a summary of the requirements for the PhD degree:

  1. 15 courses for quality grades of "A" or "B", including two research seminars. Students who enter with an MA may qualify for a reduction in coursework, to be determined at the end of the first year of study.
  2. Demonstrated competence in foreign language(s) through standard language examination(s) with a grade of "high pass" (P+).
  3. Approval of the Graduate Student Affairs Committee, at the end of the first and second years, to continue in the PhD program.
  4. The PhD Field Examination, taken during the third year.
  5. Approval of the PhD Field Examination Committee to begin work on the dissertation.
  6. Presentation and defense of the dissertation proposal in a public setting in the third year, and approval of the dissertation committee to begin research and writing of the dissertation.
  7. Defense of the dissertation in the PhD Final Oral Examination.

 See requirement details »


Costs & Financial Aid

As a general principle, we provide extensive funding for all students who matriculate in our doctoral programs. Applicants to our doctoral programs are considered for all fellowship resources at the University of Chicago for which they are eligible. More information »