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Each year, we admit 6 to 8 students into the PhD Program and additional students into the Masters Program. Applications for admission are handled through the  Graduate School. Prospective students must apply online.

If you have any questions about the process, see the FAQ, and feel free to call or email us with further questions: the Graduate School (631-632-4723), the History Department Graduate Coordinator (631-632-7490), or our  Graduate Director.

Completed PhD program applications for admission and financial assistance, along with all required supporting material, must be postmarked/submitted/received by January 15. Students are admitted in the Spring for study beginning in the Fall. The majority of our doctoral students pursue their studies full-time, but occasionally students are admitted on a part-time basis. MA application materials are due April 15.

Successful applicants typically have a strong record of undergraduate achievement, familiarity with historical approaches and scholarship, and excellent writing, research, and analytical skills. Prior specialization in History is not required. Admissions decisions are based primarily upon assement of the applicant's potential for scholarly achievement in the discipline of History and our faculty's ability to support them in their intended field of study. 

To apply, you will need to submit the following: 

Completed Graduate School Online Application Form.

Statement of Purpose (uploaded with application)  (3-4 pages) describing the intended field(s) of study, the insights or experiences motivating the decision to specialize in this area, and the kinds of questions which the applicant hopes to explore; this statement should be as specific as possible about intended research topics and subject area(s) and indicate relevant faculty with whom they envision working. Applicants are encouraged to contact these professors before submitting the application.

Writing sample (uploaded with application)  that illustrates the applicant's writing skills and capacity for research, analysis, and creative thought.  The sample should be  12-20 pages, with proper citations and bibliography. 

Letters of Recommendation: Three (3) Letters of Recommendation are now required for all PhD applicants and MA  applicants. When you submit your application, your recommenders will automatically be sent a link to submit their letters electronically to the Graduate School. Letters should describe the applicant's achievements and potential for intellectual growth.

Two sets of Official Transcripts should be sent directly from the Registrar's Office of your school(s) to the History Department. We require two (2) official copies in English from each institution of higher learning listed on your application. Photocopies are not acceptable. If your school does not offer English transcripts, we will need an official (notarized) translation. Some overseas documents must be evaluated by  World Educational Services.

TOEFL/IELTS  If  your   native  or   primary  language is not English, you must demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking the TOEFL or IELTS examination.  For language test requirements, see  Graduate SchoolTest scores must be sent electronically from   Educational Testing Services (ETS)  directly to the Graduate School.  Our institution code is 2548.

Optional GRE scores:   GRE scores are no longer required for admission to the MA and PhD programs in History. However, if you wish to be considered for the Graduate Council Fellowship, please be aware that it does still currently require GRE scores.  To be eligible for this fellowship, one must be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US; successful GCF nominees typically have extremely high test scores, extremely strong GPAs, significant research experience, excellent letters, and a good fit to the strengths of the program.  We usually only have 1 or 2 applicants each year who meet all these criteria.

If you do choose to submit GRE scores in your application, they must be submitted directly from the  Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The History subject test is not required. It is advisable, especially for financial aid applicants, if  one is taking the GRE, to take it no later than October, to ensure that the review of application materials is not delayed. GRE scores must be sent electronically from Educational Testing Services (ETS)  directly to the Graduate School. Our institution code is 2548.

For more information, see FAQ.


All full-time PhD applicants are automatically considered for financial assistance from the History Department, in the form of a teaching assistantship or a graduate assistantship (pending budgetary approval). They also receive full tuition waivers, as long as they maintain their full-time status. There are no special forms to fill out for Departmental support.

The History Department does not fund MA students. Typically, MA students seek financial assistance through Stony Brook University's Financial Aid Department. 

Additional support is avilable to eligible PhD students in the form of fellowships. The History Department can nominate eligible students for Presidential Fellowships, created by the university president and used to recruit promising new doctoral students. The Department also awards several endowed fellowships generously created by private donors and foundations, such as the Evan Frankel Foundation Fellowship and the Gardiner Graduate Fellowship. The Gardiner Fellowship is awarded each year to a graduate student researching Early American history, with preference for aspects of local and regional history in which the  Gardiner family played an important role.

Entering PhD students in history may also be nominated by the admissions committee to compete for university-sponsored awards, namely Graduate Council Fellowships and Turner Fellowships. If you wish to be considered for either of these financial opportunities, please indicate that on your application. Students wishing to be considered for these awards must be U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. Turner Fellows must self-identify as a member of an underrepresented groups (such as African American, Native American, Hispanic, etc.) on their application.

U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents are also eligible for other forms of financial aid, which are applied for via the  Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form