Note that the GRE is now optional for our graduate admission process.  

Admissions Process for the History PhD:

Each year the department receives nearly 400 applications to the doctoral program and offers admission to about 6% of applicants. The typical incoming class size is 16 students.

The admissions process is extremely competitive, but if you are serious about pursuing a PhD in history, you are encouraged to apply.

Successful applications have shared many of the following characteristics:

  • Statement of purpose that makes clear why the applicant wants to study history in graduate school, and why the applicant wants to study at Harvard. This statement often illustrates the applicant’s research interests and notes potential advisors
  • Three strong letters of reference from people who know the applicant’s writing
  • Writing sample of remarkable quality that asks historical questions
  • Fluent or nearly fluent in English
  • Reading ability in two languages other than English
  • Strong undergraduate, and, if applicable, graduate record, with excellent marks in history courses

Follow the link for more information about applying to the History Department PhD program