Following the campus guidelines for Coronavirus all UC Davis classes, lectures, seminars, labs and discussion sections will move to virtual instruction and remain virtual through the end of fall quarter 2020, including final exams. Given this, the department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions. To contact staff members of the department via e-mail or phone, please go to our administrative staff contact page. 


Here are answers to questions that prospective graduate students frequently ask.


Is a master's degree required for admission into the doctoral program?

You do not need a master's degree to apply for admission into the doctoral program. A bachelor's degree is sufficient, as long as you meet the other admission requirements.

Is the GRE exam a prerequisite for admission?

Yes, all applicants must take the GRE.

Do you require the subject test for the GRE?

No, only the general test is required.

What scores do I need on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission?

We do not require minimum scores on the GRE. The UC Davis History Department conducts a holisitic review of applications, which includes the GRE scores as a part of the overall application.

How long do GRE scores remain valid?

If your GRE scores are less than five years old, they are still acceptable. If your GRE scores are five years old, or older, you must retake the GRE.

What grade point average is required for acceptance?

The UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies requires a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4-point scale.

I do not wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree; I want to earn only a master’s degree. Should I apply?

Perhaps not. We do not offer a standalone master's program. Our doctoral students earn an M.A. as part of their academic path toward a Ph.D. degree. However, a student can file a petition to receive a M.A. degree after completing qualifying courses and examinations.

I already have an M.A. degree in history from another institution. Will that help reduce the time required for me to earn an Ph.D. degree in your program?

We would have to review your transcripts individually in order to determine if any doctoral program requirements can be waived. However, we generally waive one major field course for students with an M.A. degree.

What is the deadline for applying for admission?

The application deadline for students seeking financial support is January 5. We will consider applications until June 30. However, these late applicants are not eligible for consideration for financial support and are not guaranteed to be reviewed.

Where should I send my transcripts?

After you have been admitted and have submitted your intent to register, UC Davis will require official transcripts from each college-level institution you have attended. You should upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application. The uploaded transcripts can be unofficial copies. The UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies offers more details about transcript submission.

I cannot obtain my transcripts before the January 5 deadline; can the deadline be extended?

The Department of History will consider applications until June 30. However, to be eligible for consideration for financial support, you must submit your application by January 5, and all application materials, including transcripts, reference letters, writing sample and test scores, by the February 1 deadline.

What should my Statement of Purpose and Personal History and Diversity Statement contain?

Your Statement of Purpose should explain why you want to earn a Ph.D. in history and should describe your educational background and attributes that have prepared you for graduate study in history. You can describe the kind of work you hope to do professionally after earning your Ph.D.

The Personal History and Diversity Statement should discuss your life experiences that led to your interest in the subject of history. Include both of these statements in your online application.

For additional guidelines, please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

What should I submit as a writing sample?

As part of the online application process, you will be required to upload one English-language sample of your writing. Choose a sample that best portrays your scholarly writing skills. The subject matter does not necessarily have to pertain to history. If you have a master’s degree, you may use your completed M.A. thesis, or one or two of the initial chapters from a thesis in progress.

From whom should I seek the letters of recommendation?

The letters of recommendation should be from persons who can evaluate your scholarly potential. We suggest obtaining at least two letters from faculty members with whom you have studied or worked. You must submit the letters electronically through the online application system. Paper copies will not be accepted. Please ensure that all three letters, along with other required materials (transcripts, GRE scores), are submitted by February 1st. After you have submitted your online application (by January 5th for full consideration), you can check the status of your application by periodically logging back in to the online application system and seeing which materials have been received.



How many applications do you usually receive each year?

We receive 100 to 150 applications each year.

How competitive is the selection process?

The Department of History’s graduate program applicant review process is highly selective; we usually make admission offers to no more than about 20 percent of doctoral program applicants.

Are applicants who already have an M.A. degree favored for admission over applicants who don’t?

No. What matters is how well the prospective student's application materials meet the admission requirements, and how well the applicant's research interests and goals match the strengths and goals of the department.

If I initially decline an offer to enroll, can I change my mind later and accept?

We are not able to re-offer admission to a student who declines an offer; if you decline an offer of admission, you may re-apply next year or in a subsequent year.

Can I transfer credits from another university?

All work toward a UC Davis graduate degree usually is done on the UC Davis campus. However, with the consent of the graduate adviser and the dean of Graduate Studies, some coursework taken elsewhere may be credited toward a student's degree, provided that the units were not used to satisfy requirements for another degree. You might be asked to send the syllabus of the requested course(s) so that the graduate adviser can compare your earlier course(s) with the corresponding course(s) here.



What cohort size can I anticipate?

Cohort sizes in the department usually range from 6 to 10 enrollees.

How much time is required to obtain a doctoral degree?

Graduate students typically take five to six years to complete the qualifications for a Ph.D. degree.

What is the nature of the work that students are expected to perform?

Students in the doctoral program enroll in course work, primarily consisting of graduate seminars, and must complete qualifying examinations over the span of three years leading up to their work on a publishable dissertation. The dissertation phase consists largely of original research and analysis as well as defense of the thesis in an oral examination.

Does the department have a time limit for completion of the dissertation?

Graduate students typically take two years or longer to complete their dissertation research and writing. A student who has not completed dissertation work within four years of passing qualifying examinations, however, may no longer be considered a candidate for the Ph.D. degree.

Where can I learn more about the doctoral program?

We encourage you to consult our online graduate handbook for detailed information.
 You can read the digital version of the UC Davis General Catalog.



What types of financial aid are available to graduate students at UC Davis?

The department generally offers funding to all admitted students through a combination of employment and fellowships (see "on-campus academic employment" below). Various loans, grants and fellowships also are available through the UC Davis Financial Aid Office. It is recommended that you contact the Department of History's graduate program coordinator, , for answers to further questions regarding funding.

What types of on-campus academic employment is available?

First-year students usually are offered a paying position as a reader, helping a faculty member grade student papers. A limited number of graduate research assistant positions also are available. By their second year, students may be offered a position as a teaching assistant (TA), conducting discussion sections for lower-division undergraduate history students and grading their work.

Do all students receive financial aid?

Although funding is not guaranteed, we generally are able to fund the majority of our admitted students.



I am an international applicant; do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam is required if English is not your native language, unless you have received or will be receiving a degree from a university at which the primary language of instruction (through the entire school) is English. The minimum TOEFL score for admission is 100 out of a possible 120, counting all four sections of the iBT TOEFL (Internet-based TOEFL). There may be additional minimum requirements to serve as a teaching assistant. TOEFL scores expire after two years.

What are the Institution and Departmental Codes for GRE and the TOEFL?

The Institution Code for both GRE and TOEFL is 4834. You do not need to enter a specific department code for TOEFL; your score will be matched to your applicant record rather than to a specific academic department.

What are the language proficiency requirements to be employed as a teaching assistant?

Per the Office of Graduate Studies, all graduate students who have not earned a prior undergraduate degree from an institution at which English was the sole language of instruction must meet one or more of the following requirements:

• Minimum score of 26 on the Speaking Subset of the TOEFL ibt

•  Minimum score of 8 on the Speaking subset of the IELTS

•  Achieve a minimum score of 50 on the SPEAK (internal UC Davis exam)

• Achieve a "pass" on the TOEP (internal UC Davis exam)

Download and review the language proficiency requirements for teaching assistant positions.