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Admission Information


The deadline for application is December 1, 2015 for Fall 2016. All admitted students are expected to enroll the following fall. Deferred enrollment is not permitted. Before submitting the application please read all forms and instructions carefully.

All applicants must apply electronically for graduate admission and financial aid. This may be done at https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/ (beginning September 2015). Admission status for Fall 2016 will be available online by mid-March, 2016.

Admission Requirements

Because the History Department has several different fields, each with slightly different requirements, the criteria for admissions are not rigidly standardized. The admissions committee considers the following factors:

  • three letters of recommendation from the student's former or current professors.
  • the applicant's statement of purpose (two pages, double spaced).
  • a writing sample of no longer than 10 pages, double spaced (not including bibliography).
  • foreign language training
  • undergraduate or M.A. grade point average
  • Graduate Record Examination scores (with an emphasis on the verbal score).
  • your undergraduate transcript (and graduate if applicable).  In addition to the unofficial transcript upload on the online application we require one official sealed transcript from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.  These are mailed to the department (address below).
  • International applicants must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS score (in most cases).  Please visit the following link for more information: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/admissions/ENGREQ.HTM.

Letters of Recommendation

The faculty relies heavily on the comments and assessment of colleagues at UCLA and other academic institutions. A thoughtful and thorough assessment provides insight into the student's abilities, preparation and motivation. Several such evaluations combine to form a detailed picture of the student's background and potential.  It is the applicant's responsibility to check with people who have written the letters of recommendation to make sure that they are submitted by the deadline.

Statement of Purpose

A candidate's statement of purpose distinguishes him or her from all other applicants. It indicates to faculty the student's interests, ability to state research goals concisely, and to some degree, the candidate's maturity and sophistication, both of which are significant in an extremely competitive program. The admissions committee looks for students who show that they have already focused on a given field and have a reasonable awareness of what the department has to offer. It is helpful for candidates to list the names of faculty members with whom they would like to work.

Writing Sample

Your writing sample should be no longer than 10 pages, double spaced (not including bibliography). Book reviews, senior thesis, and research papers are acceptable.  You may also submit an excerpt of a longer paper (e.g. MA or senior thesis) but please adhere to the 10 pages.  You can include a brief explanation before the sample if it is from a larger work.

Foreign Language Training

The importance of language training varies from field to field. A student of U.S. history, which requires only one foreign language, could conceivably begin the program with minimal foreign language preparation. On the other hand, students in fields such as Medieval, Russian, Chinese and Ancient Greek history should come to UCLA already having done significant work in their major language. Those without such training would have difficulty with their required course work and research, both because of the difficulty of these languages and because these fields require proficiency in two or more foreign languages.

Grade Point Average

The admission committee looks for a GPA of 3.5 or better for the junior and senior years.

Graduate Record Examination Scores

The verbal and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination are most important for admission to the history program.  For non-native English speakers, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is also required for a better assessment of the student's language capability.  When reserving your test date, be sure to check with ETS to make sure your scores will arrive by December 1.  Paper-based tests take at least two months to process.  The GRE codes to select are 4837 (UCLA) and 2799 (History).

Department of History Mailing Address

UCLA Dept of History
Attn:  Graduate Advisor
6265 Bunche Hall
Box 951473
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1473


Frequently Asked Questions


Do you offer an M.A. in History at UCLA?

We do not offer a terminal M.A. in History. Students can earn their M.A. while completing the requirements for a Ph.D. All graduate students entering the Department of History at UCLA are expected to complete the Ph.D.

Do I need to have majored in History as an undergraduate in order to apply?

No. But, applicants should be able to demonstrate that they have an academic background in the field that they are applying to. Foreign language preparation and training should also be demonstrated based on the requirements of the field.

What if all of materials do not arrive on time by the Dec. 1 deadline?

Anything that arrives late, after the deadline will not be thrown out. We will include late material in your application; however, we cannot guarantee that it will be reviewed by the faculty due to the strict application review timeline.

What kind of financial support does the department provide its graduate students?

The Department of History typically offers an admitted student financial support in the form of registration fees, non-resident tuition, stipends and Teaching Assistant positions for 5 years.  These recruitment packages are contingent on a student making good academic progress though the program. Additionally, the department has generally been able to offer students various kinds of travel research support. For more information please visit: http://www.history.ucla.edu/academics/graduate/financial-information.

What opportunities are there to receive awards in the department and at UCLA more generally, as well as beyond UCLA?

The Department of History offers many opportunities for its students to receive departmental awards, which are explained on our website at: http://www.history.ucla.edu/academics/graduate/financial-information.  Our students have also won many campus-wide awards including the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award, the Dissertation Year Fellowship, the Cota-Robles Fellowship, the Chancellor’s Prize and Graduate Research Mentorship Awards.

How long should the personal statement in my application be?

The statement of purpose is generally 1-2 pages, but should be no more than 2 pages, double spaced.

Should the letters of recommendation, statement of purpose and the writing sample be mailed in to the History Dept?

These items are to be uploaded online. Your letter of recommendation writers will be able to do so directly.

I am using a letter of recommendation service.  How do I have those letters submitted to you?

Please coordinate with your service provider to have them upload the letters directly to your application.

Where may I get more materials regarding the graduate program in History at UCLA?
All of our materials are online. Here are some helpful links:


Graduate Division Links:

General: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/admissions/admisinfo.html

History: http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/majors/hist.html

UCLA History Links:

Faculty by Field: http://www.history.ucla.edu/people/faculty-by-field

Field Information:  http://www.history.ucla.edu/academics/fields-of-study

Current graduate students:  http://www.history.ucla.edu/people/graduate-students

Course Listings: http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/schedule/schedulehome.aspx

If you have any other questions, please contact the History Graduate Office: gradoffice@history.ucla.edu.