How do I get a Graduate Degree in History?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2018
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To get a graduate degree in history, you will first need to select one or more graduate schools to which you can submit an application. Once you are accepted into a history graduate program, you will need to complete the program's requirements. These requirements may include coursework, exams, a practicum, and the completion of a dissertation or thesis.

To make an application to a graduate degree program, you will first need to complete, or be near completion, of a bachelor's degree program. If you are applying to a doctoral program, the school may want you also hold a master's degree. You will also need to know what you want to do with your graduate degree in history. Options include becoming a history professor or teach, a public historian, an archivist, a high school teacher and more. You should also have an idea of what aspects of history you would like to study.

When you know how you want to use your degree and the focus of your study, you can then begin to research schools. You should look for programs that will prepare you for your desired career. Make sure that there are members of its faculty that share your interests. Of course, you will also need to consider issues such as tuition cost and the location of the school.


Each graduate school has its own criteria for admission, and you will usually be expected to provide the school with copies of your academic transcripts and references from previous professors. In some cases, you will also have to take an entrance exam such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Many schools will also require that you complete an essay on why you want to enter their program, and may even require a face-to-face or telephone interview.

The work required to complete a graduate degree in history will depend on a number of factors, including the country in which you are studying, the degree program in which you have enrolled, and your school's individual requirements.

In the United States, master's and doctoral degrees both require that students complete formal coursework, and will often also require the completion of a thesis or dissertation. These requirements can differ considerably in other countries. For example, in the United Kingdom, many graduate degrees do not require coursework. A student's research is guided by a faculty member, and under his or her direction, completes a thesis or dissertation. The length of time that it takes to get a graduate degree in history also varies. It may be possible to complete a master's degree in less than two years, while a doctoral degree may take anywhere from three or four years to decades to complete, depending on how quickly a student completes his research and writing.



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