If you are seeking admission for to 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. For online applications, please submit payment online with a credit card. If submitting a print application, you may send the application with a check or money order to: Department of History Old Horticulture 506 E. Circle Drive, Room 256, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

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

(3) Request that the registrar of each college or university you have attended send one copy of your official transcript directly to the Department of History. Transcripts for coursework completed at Michigan State University need not be requested. Transcripts uploaded through the portal by the applicant are not considered official.

(4) Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores should be sent directly to MSU when you provided the correct codes: 1465 (Michigan St University); Dept Code: 2701 (American History); 2702 (European History); 2703 (History of Science); 2799 (History-Other).

(5) 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). For more, see the Graduate School’s information for international students pages. Information about the test is also available at Please follow closely the other requirements on the Graduate School’s page for international students.

(6) Submit the following materials online via the application portal. NOTE: Once you either save or complete your application you will receive an email asking you to sign in to our application portal. There you will get directions on how to upload recommendation letters and the additional application materials. Uploading them online is the preferred method, but if you have problems uploading the documents you may send them to the History Department ATTN: Admissions.

  • At least three letters of recommendation from professors with whom you have studied. The preferred way to submit letters of recommendation is through the application portal. If you cannot do so, please use our recommendation forms and have them mailed to History. The forms can be downloaded.
  • One or more writing samples that indicate your ability 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 make clear the primary field of study to which you are applying, and the faculty member or members you think you might study with and why.

All materials should be received by December 15  for consideration for admittance the following fall term. The graduate committee reviews materials in January.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with questions. Email history [at] msu [dot] edu 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, Pero Dagbovie, is also available to answer questions. Email dagbovie [at] msu [dot] edu.