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Are interviews required?

No. We do not interview applicants.

May I visit the campus?

Certainly. To arrange appointments with the graduate director, particular faculty members, or current students, please email the [[gradap,Graduate Program]].

How many credits can I transfer?

The History Department doens't accept transfer credits.

Will you look at more than three letters of recommendation?

Only three are necessary, but you may send another if you think it will help inform our decision.

Whom should I ask for recommendations?

Ask the people in the best position to evaluate your capacity for graduate work in history. If you do not know three academics in history who know your work well enough, try other professors or mentors familiar with your writing skills, research ability, critical thinking abilities, and potential for success in our graduate program.

What sort of paper should I submit as my writing sample?

Send us the paper that best demonstrates your prose style, analytical abilities, and research experience. Most applicants send a research paper, thesis chapter, or review essay, but you may send whatever you think would be most appropriate and revealing.  In general, writing samples that are between 15 and 25 pages are most useful in the application process.

Do you accept the Miller's Analogy Test?


When should I take the GRE and/or TOEFL?

You should take the test at least eight to twelve weeks before December 5th to ensure the timely arrival of your scores.

How long are GRE and TOEFL scores valid?

GRE scores are good for five years. TOEFL scores for only two.

Can I send a photocopy of my scores?

You can send a photocopy of the scores while we wait for your official scores but we cannot admit you on the basis of photocopied scores.

What are the GRE and TOEFL college codes for W&M's history department?

GRE: 5115 (W&M) and 2701 (History Department)
TOEFL: 5115 (W&M) and 86 (History Department)

Does the History Department require a minimum GRE score?


I would like to improve my GRE score. Can I retake it?

Yes. You can retake the test once each calendar month.

My undergraduate GPA was nothing to write home about but I did well in an accredited MA program in history. Will my application be considered?

Yes. A good graduate record may compensate for an imperfect undergraduate transcript.

I've been out of school a long time. Will this be considered a problem?

Not as long as you are able to provide the items required for a complete application file. If you have questions about this, contact the [[gradap,Director of Graduate Studies]].

What if I did not take 24 credits in history as an undergraduate?

The admissions committee may be willing to count related courses in other departments toward the minimum requirement of 24 credit hours in history. If you do not have anything close to 24 hours, you may want to take additional classes or apply to a terminal master's degree program and then apply later to a Ph.D. program.

Do you admit new students in the spring?

No, we only admit new students in the fall semester.

If I am missing something from my application file, will I be given an opportunity to correct the omission?

It is your responsibility to make sure your materials are submitted on time, but we always try to notify applicants when items are missing.

If I'm admitted, can I defer admission for a year?

We consider requests for deferral on a case-by-case basis.

I'm thinking of taking a couple of years off after I finish my BA. If I do, will I be less competitive as a candidate?

Not at all. We want students who are quite certain that graduate school is where they want to be. If taking off a couple of years will help you make that decision, we encourage you to do that. We admit applicants straight out of BA and MA programs, applicants who have had a couple of years in the workforce, and applicants who are changing careers after many years.

Can I work while enrolled in the program?

Generally speaking, no. The graduate program is full-time. Students on stipend may not take a job (other than a position arranged by the department) unless they receive approval from the Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Is distance or online learning offered at William and Mary?


Can I attend the graduate program on a part-time basis?

M.A. students may attend part-time but part-time students cannot receive financial support from the department.

Whom do I contact if I have more questions now or after I apply?

If you have questions about your application file or the application process, email the [[gradap,Graduate Program]] or call 757-221-3720. Questions about the program or funding should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies. [[gradap,Send email]].