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Department of History

Graduate History Programs

The Graduate School coordinates online applications to our master's and doctoral programs. Supporting materials may be required with your online application, so be sure to review the degree requirements before you apply.

PhD and master's funding available

We are proud to provide tuition abatements and stipends to graduate students in history and public history.  

Check out our programs and strengths in History and Public History.

GRE no longer required

The Department of History does not require the submission of GRE scores. In our holistic review of applicants, we will rely instead on your personal statement, writing samples, letters of recommendation and transcript(s). 

Graduate Applicants Welcome for 2024

The University of South Carolina welcomes graduate and PhD students in History and Public History to begin in the Fall of 2024. The deadline to apply for Fall 2024 is January 15, 2024.

Students who wish to be considered for the Presidential Fellowship and/or an Arts and Sciences Graduate Assistantship Enhancement must apply by January 3, 2024.

Apply to Graduate Shool

Applying to Graduate School FAQs

The department considers grades, recommendation letters, the statement of purpose, and the writing sample. Candidates are successful with different mixes of relative strength in these components. Unlike admissions in some types of graduate and professional programs, the process is more qualitative than quantitative. The department will carefully consider an applicant with spotty grades or marginal test scores but a clear statement of purpose and strong, well-informed letters of recommendation. Conversely, the department is wary of applicants with an unclear purpose even if their grades and scores are excellent.

The statement is an opportunity for you to explain your plans for graduate study in history and show how thoughtfully you have developed them. This task will involve a reasonably precise (if necessarily tentative) description of exactly what you propose to study. The essay should indicate particular advantages that you will bring to your studies, and the department will be interested in life circumstances and experiences that inform your career goals. On the other hand, your general enthusiasm for the study of history and the importance of your field of specialization will require little elaboration. The statement should also indicate why USC is an appropriate graduate program for your objectives. This explanation should include identification of the faculty members whom you would like the department to consider as advisers for you.

A history thesis or seminar paper would be a helpful writing sample. Alternatively, the department would be interested in a shorter research paper or an essay that analyzes a body of scholarship. The writing sample might even be a paper prepared for a course in a field other than history, such as literature or anthropology. The sample should, however, be scholarly in purpose. There is no length requirement or limit; applicants should choose whatever sample of their work that best shows their aptitude and promise for graduate study in history.

The most useful letters are from faculty members who have had a good opportunity to evaluate you in classes or other settings that involved a significant amount of substantive discussion or have graded your written work.

Many students with undergraduate majors in other fields become historians. Applicants should, however, have sufficient background in history to satisfy the department that their interest has been tested and their aptitude demonstrated. Potential applicants with limited academic work in history might consider taking some courses on a non-degree basis to establish a stronger record. Applicants in the history of science, technology, and the environment who come from undergraduate programs in the sciences and engineering are also encouraged to apply.

No. The department accepts applicants who hold only a bachelor's degree directly into our doctoral program; candidates can choose whether to earn the MA en route or simply the Ph.D. The department also accepts Ph.D. applicants with a master's degree from another institution.

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