• Application deadline: December 1
  • Admissions decisions announced: mid-February

Online Application


Admission to the graduate program in History is highly competitive. Each year, the department reviews approximately 400 applications and enrolls a cohort of approximately 25 students. While applicants come from various academic backgrounds and areas of interest, the most successful candidates are those whose combined educational backgrounds, experiences, research interests, and career ambitions best position them for success in a Ph.D. program. Prospective students should consider the research interests of faculty and current graduate students to determine whether Princeton’s graduate program in History is well aligned with their academic and career goals. Students who are admitted to the program will be invited to visit the campus in early spring to learn more about the History program.

Writing Sample

Dickinson Hall snow

Please note that the application requires a writing sample which should demonstrate the ability to do research using primary sources in the language of your field. This could be a term paper, essay, journal article, or short master's thesis. The department will accept writing samples that exceed the Graduate School’s page limit of 25 pages, but applicants should limit their samples to no more than 35 pages of text (not counting bibliographies or appendices).

Fields of Study

Dickinson Hall

Applicants to the History Ph.D. are considered for admission by faculty experts in various academic subfields, but prospective students should be aware that many other areas of interest are available for exploration. Faculty encourage students to investigate beyond geographical and disciplinary boundaries.

Applicants who are interested in the history of science, medicine, or technology should be aware that the History of Science Program within the History Department has a separate admissions process. Read more about the HOS program.

Some students who study legal history at Princeton find it useful to pursue formal legal training, as well. Students who are considering this option should contact Professor Laura Edwards or Professor Margot Canaday for more information about whether such a course of study is feasible and how it might work. The Princeton History Department has a JD/PhD arrangement with the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law, through which students receive both degrees in a streamlined and coordinated manner. This is a small and selective program, available by application only.

Application Resources