The application deadline into the MSU History PhD program is December 1. Please note we only accept applications for FALL admission.

To Prospective Students:

If you are seeking admission for the PhD program in the Department of History, you should:

(1) Submit an application, following instructions on the Graduate School’s page. The department’s doctoral code is 7611. We are listed under the College of Social Science. This step initiates your application process by generating an applicant ID. In order for your application to be considered for admission, your application fee must be paid and all required documents must be uploaded to your application.

After starting your application you will receive an email with a unique applicant ID and password. Log into your personalized online admissions portal using the box at the top of that page. Using your personalized portal allows you to check the status of your application and view supporting documents, as well as make changes to your application information.

Please read the following information to maneuver through the University’s Admission application website.

  • You must submit and pay your application fee in order to upload your documents using your ID and password.
  • To access a saved application, visit the Office of Admissions application system.
    • Select “Saved Application”
    • Enter your applicant ID and password. This will allow you access to work on your application.

(2) Specify the primary field of study in history for which you are applying.

(3) Request that the registrar of each college or university that you attended send one copy of your official transcript directly to the Department of History. Transcripts for courses completed at Michigan State University need not be requested. Transcripts uploaded through the portal by the applicant ARE NOT OFFICIAL and will be deleted. Your application will not be reviewed until the official transcripts are received. International applicants must submit transcripts in both the native language and English directly from the institutions they attended. International applicants must also submit an official copy of their diploma in both English and the native language.

Electronic transcripts are permitted if they are sent directly from the university using valid e-transcript service. Please send e-transcripts directly to the Academic Programs Coordinator.

Please mail official transcripts to:
Academic Programs Coordinator
506 E. Circle Dr. Rm. 256
Old Horticulture Building
East Lansing, MI 48824

Starting Spring 2019, Michigan State University requires admitted Chinese students who earned bachelor’s degrees in mainland China to submit a degree conferral verification report from the CDGDC and a transcript verification report from CHESICC. Both of these reports must be made available electronically to MSU’s Office of Admissions. Failure to comply with this policy could compromise the student’s continuing enrollment at MSU. 

(4) International students:

  • If your first language is not English, you must complete the TOEFL or another designated exam and have scores submitted to MSU (TOEFL MSU code: 1465). Information about the test is also available at
  • You will be asked to upload the information page of your passport in your application. This information will be used by the Office of International Students and Scholars to prepare your I-20 or DS-2019 so that you can apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate. Please print your name on the application exactly as it appears in your passport.
  • For more, see the Graduate School’s information for international students pages. Please follow closely the other requirements on the Graduate School’s page for international students.

(5) Submit the following materials online via the application portal:

  • At least three letters of recommendation from professors or professionals with whom you have studied. Letters of recommendation need to be submitted through the application portal directly by the recommender. The applicant will include each recommender’s email address in their application. Each recommender will receive an email instructing them how to upload their letter into the application.
  • One writing sample that indicates your abilities in research and writing.
  • A personal statement (500-1000 words). The statement should tell us about your background—challenges you have overcome and accomplishments. It should also help us understand why you wish to pursue a PhD in history and how you see your own role in the profession.
  • An academic statement (500-1000 words). The statement should tell us about your background, including information about your accomplishments and challenges that you have overcome.
  • Please note: GRE scores are no longer required as part of the History Department application.

All materials should be received by December 1 for consideration for admittance the following fall term. The graduate committee reviews materials in January.

Requests for assistance for application fees must be submitted no later than 10 business days before the December 1 due date.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions. Admissions questions should be directed to, or call (517) 355-7500, 8:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. You are invited to contact directly faculty with whom you wish to study. The graduate director in history, Aminda Smith, is also available to answer questions. Email