Should I apply for the MA program or the PhD program?
Applicants may apply for either degree program. Applicants who do not wish to be considered for admission into the doctoral program should select “terminal masters” on the application form. Students who are accepted into the doctoral program without a masters degree work towards their MA on the way to the PhD. For those who are uncertain about which path to pursue, the best advice is to consult with prospective advisors about the options. Here are a few observations to assist in that decision:
- The history department does not fund terminal MA students. Successful applicants to the doctoral program (even those who arrive with no MA) are considered for various fellowships and assistantships.
- We routinely accept MA candidates who we think might turn out to be excellent doctoral students, but whose record is not quite strong enough to merit immediate entrance into the PhD program. In some cases it makes sense for a student to begin his or her graduate training at UF before moving on to a different institution for doctoral work.
- In curricular terms, there is very little difference between the MA program and the first two years of the PhD program. We do not have separate MA and PhD seminars. Though students in the terminal MA program have fewer required courses, many of our MA students take precisely the same courses as their colleagues in the doctoral program.
- It is not at all unusual for a student who is enrolled in the MA program to apply for entrance into the doctoral program in the fall of their second year.
- All successful applicants to either the MA or the PhD program must have a major advisor. That is, as part of the admissions process a member of the faculty must step forward and declare a willingness to work with the applicant. With that in mind, prospective applicants should consult with potential advisors about their interests and about which program would be most appropriate.
When is your application deadline?
The application deadline for fall admission is Jan. 15.
When will a decision be made?
History department faculty review graduate applications in several stages and we work hard to make final decisions by the beginning of March. You should expect to hear from us on or around March 1.
Do you admit students for the spring semester?
PhD applicants are evaluated only once a year and admitted only for the fall semester. In a limited number of cases the department may consider MA students for spring admission. (Please check with the graduate coordinator if you have further questions in this regard.)
Are there special application requirements for international students?
International students must submit their TOEFL or equivalent (IELTS and MELAB) language test scores as part of the application process, unless they are citizens of a country where English is an official language, have spent at least one academic year as a full-time student at a college or university in a country where English is an official language, earned a prior bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctoral degree at an accredited university in the United States or have official proof of successfully completing the UF English Language Institute’s program before applying. For further requirements and information relevant to international students, please consult the UF Graduate School admission website for international applicants.
What major fields of study does the history department offer?
The history department currently offers major fields in the following areas: African History, European History (divided into Late Antique/Medieval, Medieval/Early Modern, and Modern Europe), U.S. History, and a new Dual Major that may combine these areas with certain minor fields. Please consult the Fields section of our Program Description for detailed program requirements. You may also wish to consult the Faculty Specializations and Subfields page for possible areas of concentration within major fields.
Can I apply my MA credits at another institution to the history PhD program at UF?
The University of Florida will transfer credits earned in a graduate program at an accredited 4-year University other than the University of Florida. A student who has been accepted into the PhD program may transfer up to 30 credits from a Master’s Program at another university; a student who has been accepted into the MA program may transfer up to 9 credits from a graduate program at another university. Please note two important things: First, these credits do not automatically transfer to the student’s transcript at UF. This official transfer of credit involves petitioning the Graduate School for approval and does not happen until the second semester of study at UF. Second, this is a transfer of credit, not courses. If the petition is approved the student is given credit for holding and transferring in a Master’s degree (or graduate work), and up to 30 transfer credits. Thus, if a student in the PhD program is allowed to transfer credits, that student’s individual classes taken and grades earned will not be listed on the student’s transcript at UF. The student’s UF transcript will only indicate transfer of a master’s and the number of credits that were accepted from the student’s MA program.
Who will read my application, and on what criteria will it be reviewed?
Applications go through several layers of readings. All applications are first read by the faculty in the field(s) most related to the student’s areas of interest. Applications are also reviewed by the graduate committee, which makes the final decisions about admissions to the program and funding. In reviewing files, we consider all the elements of the application. We are most interested in items that suggest students will do well in a graduate program. This includes: the writing sample, letters of recommendation (especially from faculty who have worked with the student), Verbal GRE scores, and the personal statement. Our decisions are also influenced by fit between a student’s interests and the expertise of faculty in the program, and the student’s general academic and/or professional background.
Should I introduce myself to faculty before I apply?
Yes. We encourage students to get in touch with faculty whose work seems relevant to their interests to introduce themselves, to see if they are interested in taking graduate students, and to discuss the program.
Should I list faculty whose research is of interest to me on my application?
Yes. This is the kind of information that you should mention in your statement of purpose as it helps us assess your fit with our graduate program.
What is a Statement of Purpose?
Every prospective student, both MA and PhD, must submit a Statement of Purpose as part of his/her application to the graduate program in History. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the department and explain what you wish to study and why you wish to study at UF. (Vague statements about why you love history are not helpful.) This statement is very important, and we read it very carefully. Is it well written? Does it suggest a clear set of goals? Do those goals match well with our strengths as a department? Has the applicant done his/her homework about the department? This letter is also your opportunity to explain any anomalies in the rest of your record. The Statement of Purpose is generally 2-3 double-spaced pages in length.
May I visit before applying to the program?
Yes. Students considering applying to the History Department often arrange to visit the Graduate Coordinator and/or to meet with faculty with whom they might want to work. If you are interested in visiting, we encourage you to email faculty to arrange a meeting (rather than just dropping in). We may also be able to arrange for you to sit in on a graduate seminar or meet with current students.
Can I send more than three letters of recommendation?
You may, though we are most interested in the quality of the letters written on your behalf. Three strong letters that discuss your potential as a scholar are far better than four (or more) letters that discuss you in general terms. It is best to send letters from faculty who have worked with you in history courses and can assess your skills in research and writing.
What are the average GRE scores of your admitted students?
The history department is most concerned with the verbal GRE score. Average verbal scores for admitted PhD students are typically around the 90th percentile. GRE scores are only one factor considered in the admissions process, and we have no cut off. While having the highest GRE scores you are capable of achieving is always desirable, a strong GPA, writing sample, and letters of recommendation can counterbalance lower GRE scores.
What is the purpose of the writing sample, and how long should it be?
We use the writing sample to assess several things: your ability to write and reason, your ability to organize your thoughts, your ability to support your claims. For current students, good writing samples include: a chapter of a BA or MA thesis (or the entire thesis if it is 40 pages or less); or a research paper written for a history class or seminar. In the case of applicants who are not history majors or who have been out of school for a few years, we recommend that you contact the graduate coordinator and/or departmental faculty with whom you might want to work to discuss what sort of writing sample might be best to submit.
What are the foreign language requirements for the MA and PhD? Should I start fulfilling these requirements before entering the program?
Each major field has different language requirements. You should consult your intended major field webpage for particular requirements. In some fields your application will be stronger if you have gained competence in requisite languages before entering the program. You are certainly encouraged to begin fulfilling language requirements as early as possible.
I satisfied a language requirement for my MA? Will that count for my PhD at UF?
Usually yes. You should consult faculty in your intended major field with regard to satisfactory fulfillment of language requirements.
What financial support is available for history graduate students, and how do I apply?
See our finances page for more information about financial support for graduate applicants.
If accepted, can I defer my enrollment?
It is possible to defer enrollment, but this may affect your offer of funding. You must consult the Graduate Coordinator regarding specific circumstances.
Can I pursue a graduate history degree part-time at UF?
In unusual circumstances it is possible to pursue the graduate history degree part-time, but it is not encouraged. In the case of PhD students, we do not fund part-time students.
If admitted, when must I register my decision to accept or not?
April 15th is the national deadline for accepting offers of admission, assistantships and fellowships. If we offer you a fellowship or assistantship we will check in periodically prior to that date, but successful applicants are under no obligation to make their final commitments before April 15th.