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Graduate Program Overview

The Department of History at the University of Oklahoma offers premier programs in History of the American West, Native American History, Latin American History, and Environmental History. Our faculty are leaders: They publish books and articles that help define their fields. They serve as officers in professional organizations. And they offer close, one-to-one mentoring to students working toward both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Our graduate students benefit from special fellowships, travel and research support, innovative lecture series, and a dynamic sense of purpose. They have garnered an impressive range of nationally and internationally competitive research fellowships and pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. Our program also boasts an excellent placement record: Our graduates have built successful careers as tenure-track professors at research universities and liberal arts colleges; public historians; and scholarly editors.

We offer our students unparalleled research resources. The University of Oklahoma’s Bizzell Library has over 2.5 million books, more than 1.6 million government publications, over 3 million pieces of microform, and subscribes to 16,000 journals. The University is also home to the Western History Collections, one of the most important facilities in the world for the study of Native American, Western American, and Environmental History. It contains 65,000 books, 10,000 cubic feet of manuscripts, and nearly 2 million photographic images. The manuscript collection of the Carl Albert Center houses the papers of many public figures important to the American West. The Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of the Art of the American West provides access to an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, theses and dissertations, periodicals and journals, artist files, and slides on western American and Native American art. The Sam Noble Natural History Museum, one of the nation’s largest connected to either a public or private university, offers rich research opportunities for those interested in studying Native American, Western American, and environmental history. Finally, the Oklahoma Historical Society, in Oklahoma City, offers access to thousands of documents.

Deadline for application is December 1.

 I. PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS

 Applications are filed through the Graduate College at http://www.ou.edu/content/admissions/graduate.html and then reviewed by members of the Graduate Faculty of the Department of History. Applications are due by December 1.

 Admission to the Degree of Master of Arts

 Application Procedures and Requirements

The Graduate College sets residence and other general requirements for the Master of Arts (M.A.) Formal application for admission to the program is made online through the Graduate College Admissions Office at http//www.ou.edu/content/admissions/graduate.html. Prospective M.A. students will complete the Graduate College application form and forward the required transcripts to the Graduate College. In addition, the Department of History requires:

1) Three letters of reference, preferably from the applicant's professors;

2) A statement of purpose explaining why the applicant wishes to pursue the M.A. degree, what fields of history interest the applicant, and what the applicant hopes to do with the degree (approximately 500 words);

3) Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);

4) An essay, term paper, or seminar paper, preferably from a history course.

Completed applications are forwarded to the Department of History for review. The Graduate Studies Committee uses the following criteria in admissions decisions. Students must:

1) Earn a competitive score on the verbal and analytical sections on the GRE;

2) Have a 3.5 or better grade-point average in a 4-point system in all courses in history taken as an undergraduate;

3) And have a 3.5 or better grade-point average in all courses taken during the last two years of undergraduate study.

Meeting these requirements does not, however, guarantee admission to the program. Admission depends on the Graduate Studies Committee's overall evaluation of an application. Qualitative measures, such as the Statement of Purpose, the quality of the submitted paper, and letters of reference are regarded as especially important. On rare occasions, students are admitted conditionally, usually when their undergraduate preparation is inadequate. The Graduate Studies Committee may require students who are admitted conditionally to take 12 hours of course work in history earning a 3.5 GPA before they are considered for regular admission. The courses will be selected by the chair of the Graduate Studies Committee in consultation with the student.

Admission to the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Application Procedures and Requirements

The Graduate College sets residence and other general requirements for the Ph.D. Formal application for admission to the program is made online through the Graduate College Admissions Office at http//www.ou.edu/content/admissions/graduate.html. The following departmental rules supplement, but do not supersede the Graduate College requirements. The student submits an application for admission accompanied by required transcripts of previous academic work. In addition, the Department of History requires:

1) Three letters of reference, preferably from the applicant's professors;

2) A statement of purpose explaining why the applicant wishes to pursue the Ph.D., what fields of history interest the applicant, and what the applicant hopes to do with the degree. (approximately 500 words);

3) Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);

4) A single writing sample, preferably (though not necessarily in History). This can be a master’s thesis, essay, term paper or seminar paper.

Completed applications are forwarded to the Department of History for review. The Graduate Studies Committee uses the following criteria in their admissions decisions.

1) Competitive score on the verbal and analytical sections on the GRE;

2) GPA in M.A.-level coursework; a 3.5 or better grade-point average in a 4-point system in all M.A. work is the minimum requirement for admission;

3) Strength of writing samples, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

On rare occasions, students are admitted conditionally with M.A. degrees in fields other than history if they have adequate preparation in history. The Graduate Studies Committee may require students who are admitted conditionally to take 12 hours of course work in history with a GPA of 3.5 before they are considered for regular admission. The courses will be selected by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, in consultation with the student.

 

Apply to Graduate Program

DEADLINE for APPLICATIONS:  DECEMBER 1

GRADUATE PROGRAM FAQs:

APPLICATION PROCESS

Q. How do I apply to the graduate program of the Department of History at the University of Oklahoma?

A. All applications are submitted online at www.ou.edu/content/admissions/graduate

Alternatively, go to the Department of History’s website, click on the graduate page, and you will find a link to the Graduate College’s application.

Q. Is there a deadline for applications?

A. Yes.  Applications must be submitted by December 1 for admission the following fall semester.

Q. How do I apply for funding?

A. You don’t have to file a separate application to be considered for funding.  The Graduate Admissions Committee assumes everyone needs to be funded unless your application indicates otherwise.

Q. What should I put in my Personal Statement?

A. A Personal Statement is just that. It’s personal.  No two will be alike.  It gives us a chance to get to know you better, and it gives you a chance to highlight your strengths and explain any challenges or weaknesses you might have.  It is always good, however, to tell us why you want a graduate degree in History and why you want to earn it at the University of Oklahoma.

Q. Which paper should I submit as a writing sample?

A. Submit your best paper.  Ideally that is a history paper based on sound and thorough research.  The Committee will be looking at how well you write, how well you use primary and secondary sources, and how well you are able to construct an argument.  A good historiography paper may also be an excellent choice.

Q. I wasn’t a History major in college (or, alternatively I did my master’s in another field).  How will that impact my application?

A. The admissions committee wants candidates to demonstrate their motivation and capacity for historical scholarship.  The reason for a change in fields can be explained in your Personal Statement. Ideally one or more of your referees will be historians.  It is also best if you can submit a history paper as your writing sample.  At the master’s level you can still be admitted without all of these elements if the rest of your application demonstrates strong potential.  This will be more difficult if you are seeking admission to the doctoral program.

Q. I took the GRE years ago.  Do I have to take the exam again?

A. GRE scores are good for five years. If your scores are older than that, you will need to take the exam again. You can also re-take the exam if you want the opportunity to improve your scores.

Q. What does my GRE score have to be to get into your program?

A. We don’t have a specific number.  Applications are viewed holistically. A terrific writing sample, strong personal statement, and great letters of reference can outweigh a mediocre score.  This is also true of GPA, especially if you went to college many years ago, or majored in something other than history.

Q. I am interested in your Judaic Studies Program.  How do I apply?

A. Judaic Studies is housed within the Department of History.  The application process is the same.  The Graduate Studies Committee will consult with our Judaic Studies faculty about your application.

Q. I know I want to pursue Ph.D in History after I graduate from college. Can I be admitted to the University of Oklahoma’s doctoral program with a bachelor’s degree only?

A. No. Our master’s and doctoral programs are separate.  Applicants with a B.A. must complete a master’s degree before admission to our doctoral program.  Students completing their master’s in our department will, however, enjoy an expedited doctoral program.  When applying for the master’s, students who intend to pursue the Ph.D should include that in their personal statements.