Applying to Graduate School
After completing your career as an undergraduate student at UMass Lowell, you may choose to pursue a more advanced degree, such as an M.A., Ph.D., J.D., or M.Ed. Some of these degrees will be in history; others may be in law, education, or related fields.
Obtaining an additional degree not only offers you the opportunity to learn more about a specific field of history (or other disciplines), but can introduce you to new and exciting careers. Some graduate degrees can be completed in as little as a year; others may take up to ten years to complete.
Many graduate programs offer scholarships or teaching assistantships to defray the cost of further education. Even when a scholarship or financial aid is available, graduate study is a serious endeavor that requires careful planning. The links below are intended to help you think more systematically about when, where, why and how to apply. Naturally they focus on programs in history.
- American Historical Association (AHA), “History Doctoral Programs in the USA & Canada”
- The best place to begin thinking seriously about a Ph.D. in History, with a database of doctoral programs in History, an extensive list of dissertations in History, and sound advice about the whole process.
- AHA “Quick Links for Students”
- A wide variety of information about graduate schools, fellowships, and other resources for students interested in a career in History.
- Readings: We recommend the following:
The UML History Department strongly encourages you to speak with members of our department about the various options for graduate study in History. Consult the History Faculty page to learn where each professor received his/her degrees. The UML Career Services webpage also has useful links for thinking about graduate school.
For those who wish to teach elementary or secondary school history, the UML Graduate School of Education's "Fast Track" Program allows high-achieving undergraduate history majors to move directly into a Master of Education program. For more information, contact Dr. Vera Ossen at the Graduate School of Education (978-934-4604) in 510 O'Leary Hall.
Students who wish to apply to graduate programs in history should begin preparations well in advance. In addition to researching the various programs, you will need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE); solicit letters of recommendation; prepare a writing sample and a personal statement; contact the professors with whom you might study; explore financial aid options; consider your preferences re: location, specialization, time-to-degree, and so forth.
Knowledge of foreign language can be crucial to success, even for those pursuing advanced degrees in American History. Students who wish to pursue other areas (e.g., history of Mediterranean; ancient history; biblical history) may find that they need working knowledge of multiple languages.
The application process should be started in fall of the senior year, as some programs will require completed applications as early as December or January.