Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Students delve into history with GW’s world-renowned scholars. The program's proximity to some of the most important research repositories in the world—the National Archives, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Security Archive and the Smithsonian museums—makes GW an ideal place to examine a variety of fields, from Renaissance Europe to the Cold War, and from imperial and colonial studies to modern American political and social history. Because our programs are relatively small, students work closely with faculty and graduate with the knowledge, analytical tools and writing skills for a range of professions.

**The History PHD program will not be accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year.** 

The Ph.D. program in History offers full tuition remission and a full fellowship to cover living expenses for five years. During that period, doctoral candidates master relevant historiography and write a dissertation. PhD students gain teaching experience by serving as teaching assistants for undergraduate lecture courses.

The M.A. program offers students the opportunity to focus on an area of their choice. Alternatively, students may opt to specialize in one of the departments concentrations: History and Public Policy; Imperial and Colonial Studies; and U.S. Legal History. The program prepares students for Ph.D. work and careers that range from teaching high school, working for the government or conducting research within the private sector.

For more information, please visit the Department of History's website

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines: 
Fall – Ph.D.: **The History PHD program will not be accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year.**
M.A.: April 1 (February 1 for fellowship consideration)
Spring – October 1 (M.A. only)
Standardized test scores:
GRE general test (institutional code 5246)
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the PhD program are:
   • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
   • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
   • PTE Academic: 68;
Minimum scores for the M.A. program are:
   • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; or
   • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based;  or
   • PTE Academic: 53
Recommendations required:
M.A. – Two (2) recommendations
Ph.D. – Three (3) recommendations
Recommendations should be submitted by professionals familiar with the applicant's academic work and potential for graduate study.
Prerequisite requirements:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in history, or with substantial history coursework of high academic quality.
Prior academic records:
Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.
If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose:
In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, career plans, and the GW faculty member(s) with whom you anticipate working. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching experience you have had and whether you are interested in serving as a research assistant for the Eleanor Roosevelt papers.
Additional requirements:
All applicants must submit a recent writing sample (research paper preferred) of 10 - 30 pages in length. Please see the suggestions on what to include in your writing sample.
International applicants only:
Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.
For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.
Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052
Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday