students in classroom

Brandeis University's MA and PhD programs in History train students to research, write, and teach history at the highest level. Our program is designed to meet the varied academic and professional needs of graduate students, with flexible requirements that encourage students to define their own courses of study within a curriculum of comparative and transnational history. Students study many areas of world history, including our departmental strengths in American and European history, in a program that consistently receives high marks in national surveys and rankings and boasts an outstanding placement record.

Students learn the following core skills:

  1. Critical thinking, advanced research, and writing.
  2. Ability to analyze, discuss, and write about major problems in history and historiography.
  3. To analyze primary historical sources within their social, cultural, economic, and political contexts.
  4. To design and execute original historical research projects at the highest graduate level, culminating in a doctoral dissertation.
  5. To teach history at the college level.

The Department of History combines the best of both worlds: the intimacy of a small liberal-arts college department and the intellectual strength of a major research institution, just outside of Boston with its wealth of extensive historical resources. Our department offers students a comprehensive, flexible, and vibrant curriculum in an environment that is small enough to encourage intensive work with world-class faculty members, including several award-winning historians. We invite you to explore more.


We encourage you to explore one of the department’s greatest assets through our faculty pages.

Courses and Degree Requirements

For the most updated course listing, course descriptions, and degree requirements, please visit the Registrar.

How to Apply

Application Deadlines

PhD: January 15
MA: Rolling through May 1; review of applications begins January 15

Admission Requirements

To apply for the program, you need to submit:

  • An online application;

  • An application fee;

  • Transcripts from all universities and colleges attended must be uploaded to your application; do not mail official transcripts to our office. For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions.

  • curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé

  • Two letters of recommendation, submitted electronically;

  • statement of purpose indicating your reasons for undertaking graduate study. In addition, please describe your qualifications for the academic program and your objectives in undertaking this program. The statement should clearly outline the historical problems or themes you intend to investigate. The statement should also indicate how your research interests would complement those of the faculty. Applicants to the master's program should discuss their academic and professional career plans and how the Graduate School could help them attain their goals.

  • Critical writing sample not exceeding 35 pages; the 35-page maximum may consist of a single critical essay or two shorter essays of approximately equal length.

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test is required. Our GRE institution code is 3092 (please note: this institution code only applies to GRE scores).

  • International applicants: Additional requirements for international applicants (non-U.S. citizens or non-permanent residents), minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores, and important information regarding visas. If you are submitting TOEFL scores, please note that our TOEFL institution code is 3261.

For a more comprehensive description of application requirements, please visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Generous scholarships and financial aid are available; for more information please visit Financial Aid.

Careers and Alumni

Students and alumni can work closely with Career Services for an array of resources, including CV/resume help, job search, and networking.