The Department of History welcomes your application to our program. For more information about the requirements and structure of the Graduate Program in History, please consult the Program Guidelines.

Apply here:  On Line Application.

Application Details

The Department of History admits a small class of highly qualified students to the doctoral program each year. We also admit a select number of students for the terminal M.A. program. Admission to the Department is highly competitive. In recent years, we have admitted approximately ten percent of all applicants. When reading applications, we consider every element of the application carefully, in particular:

  • The match between the applicant's intellectual interests and the strengths of our faculty.
  • The academic record, with close attention to grades in history and related subjects.
  • The recommendations of three faculty members who have taught you in history or related subjects who know you well and who can attest to your intellectual abilities, qualities in the classroom, and writing skills. Recommendations from employers (unless they are in history or a related field) are seldom useful.
  • GRE scores. GRE scores are considered with the totality of the application. Alone, they rarely determine the admissibility of a student. We do not expect students to take the subject test in history. (UPenn GRE - 2926) Students should, however, take the GRE test so that there is time enough for your scores to reach the University by the stated December 15 deadline.
  • TOEFL/TSE scores, if applicable. (If you are a non-US citizen, but your degree is from an English speaking University, you do not have to submit official TOEFL scores).
  • Ability to write clearly and intelligently.

All applications AND supporting materials to the Department of History must be submitted online betweenOctober 1st and December 15th in any given year, for admission into the Master's or Ph.D. program for the Fall term (beginning in September) the following academic year. Applicants are urged to file their applications and supporting material as early as possible to allow time for the most careful consideration.


A successful application to the department will include the following:

1) Completion of all information requested in the on-line application .

2) A Personal statement (not longer than two double-spaced pages).

3 )Three letters of recommendation submitted on-line .   Interfolio packets are NOT accepted. Referees must  upload a letter of recommendation into Penn's application system.

If your recommender cannot or will not use the online system, we strongly suggest that you ask someone who will. All applications will be read entirely in an electronic format, and if one of your letters is not there, then the application will not be considered complete.

4) Transcripts from any institution that has or will grant you a degree .

A school issued official OR unofficial copy of the transcript from any school that has or will award you a degree should be scanned, saved as a PDF file and uploaded into the application. Should you be admitted and accept admission, you will be required to submit an official copy from the institution(s) in question.

5) A writing sample of not more than 10 double-spaced pages

You are required to upload into the application a writing sample NOT TO EXCEED 10 DOUBLE SPACED TYPED PAGES. Do not include images, or bibliographies. If you submit more than 10 pages, only the first 10 will be downloaded and used for your application. We will not use or save anything over 10 pages, so you should format your sample to adhere to this limit. While the application may  accept a larger sample, we will not accept anything larger than our stated limit.

We will not consider your application if it does not include the writing sample.

The application system will close at midnight on December 15, 2019 EST The application AND all supporting documents must be received by this deadline.  You will not be able to submit any information or supporting materials after this time. 

There is no spring or summer admission in History.

Students are notified of their admission status by late February/early March.

Financial Aid

The University of Pennsylvania offers a generous program of financial aid to the great majority of its graduate students. Nearly all History Ph.D. students are recipients of four or five year fellowships awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences upon admission. Those fellowships include tuition, fees, health insurance, and an annual stipend. (Currently $29,678 per academic year.)

Application for fellowship and scholarship awards (except where otherwise specified) is made simply by checking the appropriate box on the first page of the application for admission. Students in the terminal M.A. program are usually not eligible for departmental fellowships, but may fund their studies through a combination of loans, work-study, and outside funding.