Graduate School Information

Steps Towards Graduate School in History

Prepare Yourself

  • Review some Basic Questions about whether Graduate School is right for you.
    • See "Exploring" at the BU Smith Career Center
  • Develop your Foreign Language skills with as many courses as possible.
  • Take Historical Methods (HIS350) as early as possible.
  • Consider taking an independent reading or research course (HIS 405 & 406).
  • Choose to write research papers based on primary sources in your classes whenever possible.
  • Consider volunteering or applying for relevant internships or jobs at museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies.

Investigate Your Options

  • Discuss the process of applying with your Professors.
  • Visit the BU Smith Career Center.
    • Review its website on "Grad School Information."
    • Ask about information on national Grants and Scholarships.
    • Ask about Graduate and Professional School Fairs.
  • Find out about Graduate Programs online. (See the list of Online Resources below.)
    • Look at a range of good and exceptional programs across the country.
    • Make a short list of your top choices.
    • Note general application requirements, deadlines, and fees.
    • Search out specific applications for research and teaching assistantships
  • Visit Prospective Campuses and Departments.

Pull Together Your Applications Early

  • Budget for test and application fees and postage expenses.
  • Take the GRE test.  Consider preparing for the test in advance by finding practice exams and reviewing books about the exam.
  • Write a CV (and get advice about revising it).
  • Write a Statement of Purpose (and get advice about revising it).
  • Select one or more of your history papers as writing samples (and get advice about revising them).
  • Ask for Letters of Recommendation (preferably a month in advance of the due date).
  • Get your Transcripts and other required materials.
  • Mail the applications (give yourself a deadline of at least a week before the due date).

Online Resources for Graduate Programs in History

General Advice about Applying to Graduate Schools

Specific Advice about History Programs

Information about Tests

CV Writing

Personal Statements and Essays

Rankings of Graduate Programs in History (Treat with Caution!)

Directories of Graduate Programs in History

Advanced Reading about Graduate Education in History