The admissions portal for the 2024-2025 academic year is now closed. The application deadline for both the History MA and PhD programs will reopen in Fall 2024.

Before contacting faculty or staff members about our graduate programs, please carefully read this page, the Admissions FAQ page, and this Application Guide. We also recommend browsing the Application and Decision Process page from the American Historical Association.

Thank you for your interest in the USF History Graduate Program! Admission to our MA and PhD programs is becoming increasingly competitive, so we would like to offer some guidance on how to apply and what we are looking for in your application. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and locations, and there is no one “typical” path to the degree that can guarantee admission to our degree or success in the program. Instead, successful applicants to our program generally demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • A Strong Background in History: For MA applicants, we are looking for at least some evidence of your competence in historical analysis and writing. This may come in the form of a BA in History, excellent grades in History courses on your transcript, a writing sample that demonstrates historical analysis of primary and/or secondary sources, and/or letters of recommendation from History faculty that can speak to your skills in this area. Applicants to the PhD program should have the equivalent of an M.A. in History or a related discipline (such as English, Anthropology, Art History or language and area studies fields), and show evidence of their competence in historical analysis in their application materials.

  • Disciplinary Focus: In their Statement of Purpose (also known as the Personal Statement), applicants should be able to describe in some detail what they want to study in the USF History graduate program, and how their interests align with the graduate program and its faculty. PhD applicants should additionally be able to generally identify a potential dissertation project and be familiar with the sources necessary to complete that project.
  • Language Training: Applicants whose research requires reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages should provide evidence of proficiency in the relevant language(s) in their application, or describe realistic plans to obtain this proficiency during their degree.

How to Apply

All application materials must be uploaded directly to USF’s online application system. Please visit the USF Graduate School Admissions website for more information.

All requirements for admission are listed in the USF Graduate Catalog. Specific USF History Department admissions requirements for the M.A. degree and the Ph.D. degree are listed below, but you should always refer directly to the catalog to double check that you have everything you need.

Please consult this application guide about best practices for planning, writing, and editing a graduate application for our department.

In addition to the requirements listed below, applicants are strongly advised to contact the faculty with whom they wish to study before they begin the application process. Some faculty members may not be accepting students and many faculty may be reluctant to accept students with whom they have had no direct communication. Although the History graduate program is based in Tampa (and most classes take place on the Tampa campus), as a result of the USF consolidation, faculty at the USF St. Petersburg and Sarasota campuses are eligible to serve as major advisors.

Please email Ruth Borrero with any questions about your application.

Application requirements

All applications for the University of South Florida must be submitted online through the Office of Admissions. During this process, you will be asked to pay a one-time application fee of $30.00.

Applications can be saved and edited before submission, and documents can be uploaded to the application before or after submission. Applications will only be reviewed once all materials are submitted.

Please upload all items as PDFs to your application. If you upload in other formats, your formatting may not be preserved.


MA Application: You will be asked to submit two (2) letters of recommendation; these letters should come from academic sources (i.e. professors) familiar with the quality of your academic work and indicate your graduate program potential. 

PhD Application: You will be asked to submit three (3) letters of recommendation; these letters should come from academic sources (i.e. professors) familiar with the quality of your academic work and indicate your Ph.D. program potential.

Recommendation letter requests will automatically be sent to the recommender once the online application is submitted. If your recommenders do not receive an automated email, they may email their letters to the Academic Program Specialist.


The statement of purpose is a 1-2 page single-spaced document that should delineate the applicant’s historical and intellectual areas of interest, proposed fields of study, educational and professional goals, the faculty with whom the applicant is potentially interested in working, and why the applicant sees themself as a good fit with the program.


The writing sample consists of a scholarly writing essay of no more than fifteen (15) double-spaced pages (excluding bibliography and notes) that should demonstrate your ability to write effectively and to conduct historical research/analysis. Appropriate examples include a term paper, research paper, or thesis chapter.


Arrange with all previous institutions you have attended to send official academic transcripts to USF Admissions.

If you send them yourself, please make sure that the official envelope containing the transcript remains sealed. USF students do not need to send transcripts, but simply upload unofficial transcripts.

University of South Florida
Office of Admissions
4202 East Fowler Ave., SVC 1036
Tampa, FL 33620

The GRE is NOT REQUIRED for the USF History Graduate Application

application timeline

The priority application deadline for fall admissions is December 1. Applications submitted after this date will only be considered for admission if space is available and they will not be prioritized for funding. The department only evaluates graduate applications once a year, for the fall admissions cycle.

The USF History Department faculty and admissions committee carefully reviews all applications early in the spring semester. Once admissions decisions have been made, the Graduate Coordinator will begin contacting students to inform them of our decision. You should expect to hear about admissions decisions by late February.

international applicants

Visit the website for International Graduate Admissions for requirements and information.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

In special cases where students who have not been formally admitted into the M.A. or Ph.D. programs would like to take a class in the USF History Graduate program, they can do so as a non-degree seeking student (provided there is space, and they obtain permission from the course instructor). If the student is later admitted into a degree program, these courses typically can be transferred to their degree for credit.

Information on non-degree admissions and policies can be found here.