Admission deadlines: Fall – April 1 (February 1 for fellowship consideration)
Spring – October 1
Standardized test scores: GRE general test is not required.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction.
Minimum scores for the program are:
- Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; or
- TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based; or
- PTE Academic: 53
Recommendations required: Two (2) recommendations
Recommendations should be submitted by professionals familiar with the applicant's academic work and potential for graduate study.
Prerequisite requirements: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in history, or with substantial history coursework of high academic quality.
Prior academic records: Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission. If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose: In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, career plans, and the GW faculty member(s) with whom you anticipate working. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.
Additional requirements: All applicants must submit a recent writing sample (research paper preferred) of 10 - 30 pages in length. Please see the suggestions on what to include in your writing sample (
International applicants only: Please review International Applicant Information ( carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions: ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

A minimum of 36 credits in upper-division undergraduate and graduate-level courses, including completion of a 9-credit focus area.* Remaining credits are selected in consultation with the advisor (see below).

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 to remain in good standing and to earn the degree.

HIST 6005History and Historians (taken in the first semester)
Thesis option (6 credits)
HIST 6999Thesis Research
Non-thesis option (6 credits)
Students choosing the non-thesis option must complete two research seminars for which a research paper is required.
For all students, remaining credits are selected in consultation with the advisor. Up to 9 credits in undergraduate courses may be taken for graduate credit. To receive graduate credit for an undergraduate course, the course must be taken at the 3000 level or above and the student must arrange with the instructor for extra work. Unless otherwise stated under one of the focus areas listed below, a maximum of 6 credits in approved courses may be taken outside of the Department of History. Students may take up to three courses (9 credits) as part of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan area.
Focus areas
Students may choose to complete one of the following focus areas as part of their program of study.
Historic preservation
The historic preservation focus area combines courses in U.S. history and historic preservation. A minimum of 18 credits in courses in U.S. social history, U.S. urban history, man-made America, and the seminar sequence in historic preservation is required.
Imperial and colonial studies
The imperial and colonial studies focus area emphasizes the comparative study of empires. HIST 6128 and HIST 6050, a 15-credit major regional field, and a 6 to 9 credit minor regional field are required. Up to 9 credits may be taken in related disciplines outside of the Department of History. Students should take HIST 6128 and HIST 6050 in the first semester they are offered, as they are taught only in alternate years.
Public policy
The public policy focus area emphasizes the study of history as it relates to the analysis and conduct of public policy. An internship completed in conjunction with HIST 6012 is required. One-third of the coursework for this focus area is taken outside the Department of History in a discipline relevant to the student’s policy interests.
U.S. legal history
The U.S. legal history focus area combines a major field in U.S. history with a focus in U.S. legal history. Students may take up to 9 credits in courses in legal history offered by the Law School.

* A field of focus is centered on a specific period, region, or theme. Students work with the MA advisor to decide the specifics of their field of focus.