Frequently Asked Questions

Courses and Enrollment

Information for Prospective Students



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How can I get into History seminars that are restricted to "History majors only" when I'm not a History Major? 
History seminars (HSTRY 388, 494, 498), and their waiting lists, are restricted to History Majors during registration periods I and II. You may attend class on the first day and let the instructor you would like to join the class. If, after enrolling all History majors, there is still room in the course, the instructor may allow non-majors to register.

Unfortunately, there's no way around this restriction. We are sorry if this has made it difficult for you to register for some classes you want to take. The restriction is there because students who are already in the History Major need these courses in order to graduate, so they receive first priority. Most UW academic departments have similar restrictions for the same reason.

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How do I get an entry code for HSTRY 388, HSTRY 494, or HSTRY 498? 
Entry codes for History seminars are available a few days before registration begins for the university. History majors can request a code from the History Undergraduate Advising Office in person, over the phone, or via email. Be sure to specify which course and section you wish to take and include your student number.

Please note that you may receive an entry code as soon as they are available, you do not need to wait until your day to register. The entry code will reserve your space in the class.

After classes begin, entry codes are available from instructors. 
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What is a junior seminar (HSTRY 388)? 
The junior seminar (HSTRY 388) is a methodology course and is seen as a prerequisite to advanced work in History. It is an introduction to the discipline of History for new majors. It emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historical craft. It does not require a research paper.

Junior seminars are limited to about 20 students and meet once or twice a week. Class meetings are not lectures, but focus on discussion.The seminars are five credits and will require substantial work outside of class. 
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When should I take the junior seminar (HSTRY 388)? 
History majors should take HSTRY 388 within two quarters of declaring the major and must complete the junior seminar before taking the senior seminar. You do not need to be a junior in order to take the seminar. It is best to take the seminar as soon as possible, since it will be helpful in your future History classes. 
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What is a senior seminar (HSTRY 494 and HSTRY 498)? 
The senior seminar is the capstone course for History majors and should provide a forum for students to synthesize information from previous History courses, hone historical skills, and produce a 15- to 20-page research paper or its equivalent. You will usually take the senior seminar in the last year of study, but you must have completed HSTRY 388 before enrolling in HSTRY 494 or 498. 
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What is the difference between HSTRY 494 and HSTRY 498? 
History majors choose one of two courses to fulfill their senior seminar requirement: HSTRY 494 or HSTRY 498—they do not take both courses.

HSTRY 494 is a historiographical seminar that focuses on subject areas where document availability or translation issues make primary research difficult. HSTRY 494 subjects also may focus on a broad historiographical theme of relevance to students in a variety of historical fields, such as "Slavery" or "Gender." Students must research and prepare a major historiographical essay, usually of 15 or more pages.

HSTRY 498 is a research seminar that requires research in both primary and secondary sources. It requires a research paper, usually of 15 or more pages. 
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The History lecture class I want to take is full. How can I get in? 
Before the start of the quarter, the History Undergraduate Advising Office can overload some lecture classes. Contact them to find out if the class you want can be overloaded. After the quarter begins, attend class and ask the instructor for a code. 
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Where do I get an entry code for a History class? 
Other than seminars, history classes do not require entry codes. They are open to all UW students, regardless of major, on a space available basis. If you are getting an error message when registering, it is probably because the class is full. See previous FAQ for getting into full history classes.

Starting in week two, all UW courses require entry codes, whether or not they are full. If you are adding a class during the second week of instruction, think carefully about your ability to catch up: you have already missed 10% of the class. If you would still like to join the class late, attend class and ask the instructor for a code. 
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When are entry codes available? 
Entry codes for History seminars are available a few days before registration begins for the university. History majors can request a code from the History Undergraduate Advising Office in person, or by the phone or email. Be sure to specify which course and section you wish to take and include your student number.

Please note that you may receive an entry code as soon as they are available, you do not need to wait until your day to register. The entry code will reserve your space in the class. 
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How do I get on a waiting list? 
The person or office giving out entry codes (usually ^To Registration

When I look at the online Time Schedule it looks like the section I want is open but the registration system is requiring an entry code. Why? 
If the class you are trying to register for is HSTRY 388, 494, or 498, then enrollment is limited to History majors and requires an entry code. If it is a section of lecture class, the section may be restricted to students in Honors, Freshman Interest Groups, or Transfer Interest Groups. 
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What is a Freshman Interest Group (FIG)? 
A FIG is a group of 20 to 25 new UW freshmen with similar academic interests who are enrolled in the same schedule of classes during their first quarter on campus. Visit ^To Registration

What is a Transfer and Returning Interest Group (TRIG)? 
A TRIG is a group of 20 to 25 new UW transfer and returning students with similar academic interests who are enrolled in the same schedule of classes during their first quarter on campus. Visit^To Registration

What is a writing link? 
Some lower-division History lecture courses are linked with a section of ENGL 198, expository writing for the social sciences. ENGL 198 satisfies the composition requirement for the College of Arts and Sciences. The writing course is designed to help students improve their writing skills while further exploring ideas and materials assigned in the lecture courses. Assignments in the writing course draw on materials from the lecture course, and often include drafts of papers submitted in the lecture course. See the ^To Registration

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Dropping Classes

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How can I drop a class during weeks three through seven if I've already used my one "annual drop"? 
If you've already used your one "annual drop" (one drop available September through August each academic year), you have only two options: (1) Completely withdraw from the University for the quarter (drop all classes, forfeit all tuition, etc.); or (2) if you qualify, petition for a Hardship Withdrawal from the course. 

How can I drop a class after the seventh week of the quarter? 
After the end of the seventh week of the quarter, there are only two ways to drop a class: (1) Completely withdraw from the university for the quarter (drop all classes, forfeit all tuition, etc.). This must be done before the last day of instruction.; or (2) if you qualify, petition for a Hardship Withdrawal from the course. 

If you have been in attendance and done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter, you can ^Back to Top

Non-Matriculated Students

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I'm not a UW student. Can I still take UW History classes? 
Yes. Students not currently enrolled at the UW may take classes as a ^Back to Top 

Evening Classes

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How do I register for History classes offered through the Evening Degree program? 
History courses offered through the ^Back to Top

Online Classes

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Does the History Department offer classes online? 
Yes, online classes are offered through ^Back to Top

Independent Study and Internships

  • How can I set up an independent study (HSTRY 499)? 
  • How can I get History credit for an internship (HSTRY 495)? 
  • Where do I find out about internships?

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For information on setting up independent studies or internships, contact Undergraduate Advising.

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Transfer Credit

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How will my History courses transfer from a Washington state community college? 
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Where can I find information about applying to the UW as a transfer student? 
Please see the ^To Transfer Credit

I'm a UW student, but I want to take some classes at another school and transfer them back to UW. Can I do that? 
Yes. Keep in mind, however, that the UW normally accepts a maximum of 90 lower-division transfer credits from either a two-year or a four-year school. As of ^To Transfer Credit

My UW transcript lists my History courses from other schools as HSTRY 1XX, 2XX, etc. What does this mean? 
This means that during the initial pass through your transfer records, the UW Office of Undergraduate Admissions did not find a direct UW course equivalent for the course you took in transfer. Most History courses taken at other schools do not have a direct equivalent in the UW History department. Courses listed as HSTRY 1XX, 2XX, etc. count as History credits for the major. If you are a History major and think that one of your transfer courses should count for a specific requirement (Broad US, Broad Europe, or Non-Western), you should speak to an ^To Transfer Credit

I think my History class taken at another school should count towards the Broad US, Broad Europe, or Non-Western requirement. What should I do? 
If you are a History major, you should speak to an ^To Transfer Credit

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Foreign Study

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I'm planning to study abroad. Will the History courses I take abroad count toward my History major at UW? 
If you'd like to know how History courses you take elsewhere will meet major requirements, you must submit a ^To Foreign Study 

I have returned from my study abroad program. How do I have foreign study credits evaluated for History credit? 
To receive History credit for courses taken abroad, you must complete a ^To Foreign Study

Does the History Department offer study abroad programs? 
At this time the History Department does not sponsor its own programs. However, History majors often participate in programs offered through other UW departments, and in direct exchanges with foreign universitites. See ^To Foreign Study

Where can I find out about other study abroad programs? 
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Information for Prospective Students

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Do I need to apply to the History Department before or when applying to the University? 
No. In fact, the History Department accepts applications only from currently registered, matriculated University of Washington students. If you are a transfer student and the coursework you have taken satisfies the ^To Info for Prospective Students

My Post-Baccalaureate application says that I need a recommendation from the major department I'm interested in. 
This statement is somewhat misleading. You actually do not need a recommendation from the History Department in order to apply for Post-Baccalaureate admission. (In fact, it will be difficult for us to recommend you for admission if we don't know you.) You should always feel free, however, to see an ^To Info for Prospective Students

I'll be applying to the UW as a transfer student. What courses does the History Department recommend that I take before I transfer to the UW? 
The History Department is in the College of Arts and Sciences, which has a foreign language requirement for graduation purposes. If possible, it is a very good idea to complete a year of college-level foreign language (two semesters or three quarters) with a grade of 2.0 or above ("C") in the final quarter or semester. This is especially true if your intended foreign language for graduation purposes is Spanish: it is extremely difficult for non-freshmen to access 100-level Spanish courses at the UW during the regular academic year. There are other ways to satisfy this requirement, for example, you may be able to pass a proficiency exam in another language or establish yourself as a literate native speaker of a language other than English. For details, please consult the College of Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements.

If you are trying to plan ahead, you should begin taking classes towards the ^To Info for Prospective Students 

May I seek advising from a UW History Adviser before I am officially a UW student? 
Yes, please contact the ^To Info for Prospective Students 

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Declaring the Major

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When should I declare the major? 
You may declare the major after you have met the prerequisites. You must be enrolled, registered, and attending classes at the University of Washington in order to declare the major. You must declare a major before you have 105 credits or a hold will be placed on your registration.

What are the prerequisites for declaring the History major? 
To declare the History major students must meet these prerequisites:

  • 2.00 University of Washington cumulative GPA; 
  • 10 credits of college History with a minimum GPA of 2.50 for all History courses; 
  • 10 credits of composition or writing with a minimum grade of 2.0 in each course; 
  • Students must be enrolled, registered, and attending classes at the University of Washington during the quarter in which they declare the major. 

Please note: all requirements must be completed with grades posted to your transcript before you can declare the major.

I have met the prerequisites for declaring the History major. How do I declare? 
To declare the major, you must set up an appointment with ^Back to Top 

Graduation, Convocation, and Commencement

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When should I apply to graduate? 
When you are within two to three quarters of completing all degree requirements, you should set up an appointment with a ^To Graduation

How do I apply to graduate? 
To apply to graduate, schedule an appointment with ^To Graduation

I applied to graduate, but now I need to postpone my graduation date. How do I do that? 
Call or email ^To Graduation

I applied to graduate and want to make sure that I'm 'on track' to finish my requirements. 
To check the status of your remaining requirements run a new Degree Audit (DARS report) on line through the MyUW system to check your progress, or see a ^To Graduation

What is GSP (Graduating Senior Priority), and how do I get it? 
Graduating Senior Priority (GSP) is a priority registration status you receive once you apply to graduate, which allows you to register early for your final two quarters of study—a tool to help you to obtain space in those final classes you need in order to graduate on time. Once your degree application is on file in the Graduation and Academic Records Office, you may register on the first day of Registration Period I for your final two quarters. For example, if you're scheduled to graduate in December, you're eligible to use GSP registration in February, when signing up for Spring Quarter classes, and in May, when signing up for Autumn Quarter classes.

You must apply to graduate by the GSP deadline for the first quarter you intend to use GSP. This deadline is usually several days before the beginning of Registration Period I for that quarter. Check with an ^To Graduation 

I tried to register using my GSP, but it didn't work. 
There are three common reasons why your GSP won't work when you think it should:

1. You have not yet applied to graduate. See a History adviser right away. 
2. You have applied to graduate, but you are not yet within two quarters of graduation. 
3. You have already used your GSP status twice (in cases when you've postponed your graduation), which is the maximum for which any student is eligible. (See GSP rules in the UW Student Guide.)

If none of the above applies, contact History Undergraduate Advising or Graduations (206-543-1803). 
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How can I sign up to participate in the UW Commencement ceremony? 
The Commencement Office will contact you with information about commencement in April. If your degree has not yet been granted, the information will be sent to your UW email account. If your degree has already been granted at that time, the information will be mailed to the permanent address you have on file with the UW. To check or change your official UW permanent address, visit ^To Graduation

Where do I get my cap and gown, tickets for the ceremony, graduation announcements, class rings, etc? 
At the ^To Graduation

Does the History Department have a graduation ceremony of its own for History majors and their families and friends? 
Yes, we do, and we hope you'll join us! Our event takes place on the Friday before the main commencement exercises (which always take place on the Saturday following final exam week in June) and includes a ceremony for History majors and their families and friends, followed by a reception with light refreshments. Students do not wear a cap and gown to this ceremony. 
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How do I register for the History department convocation ceremony? 
If you graduated in December or March, or if you are scheduled to graduate in June or August, you'll receive an invitation by postal mail. The invitation will include RSVP instructions.

Although the Commencement web site does include information about departmental ceremonies, please do not attempt to use this for the History event. You will need to RSVP separately for the History event, following the instructions on the invitation you receive from us. Thank you! 
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When and where are the commencement and convocation ceremonies? 
The University of Washington Commencement ceremony takes place on the Saturday following final exam week in June in Husky Stadium. The History department ceremony usually takes place on Friday, the day before the UW Commencement and the last day of finals in June. The History ceremony is usually in Kane Hall, and the reception is in the Grieg Glade behind Smith Hall. 
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When will I receive my diploma? 
Your diploma will be mailed to the permanent address you have on file with UW three to four months after your degree is granted. Your degree will be granted between one and four weeks after your grades for your final quarter have been posted, and your degree will be backdated to the last day of final exams week. To check or change your UW permanent address, visit ^To Graduation

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After Graduation

Careers for History Majors

What kind of jobs will a history major prepare me for? 
History is a liberal arts degree and, unlike a vocational degree, does not prepare you for any specific career. History majors do, however, gain skills that can be useful in a variety of careers. The Center for Career Services provides a list of Back to Top


3. If you will teach at the secondary level (middle and high school), you will also need an Endorsement in the subject that you intend to teach. Endorsements include History and Social Studies, among many others.

I am a UW undergraduate and I want to be an elementary school teacher. What should I do?

In the course of your undergraduate program, investigate Teacher Education Programs in Elementary Education and plan for the required prerequisite course work for admission to the program.

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I am a UW undergraduate and I want to teach History at the secondary level. What should I do?

Contact the College of Education for information about the UW Seattle Secondary Teacher Education Program. Even if you ultimately choose to attend a teacher preparation program at another institution, you will be able to gather information that will help you evaluate what you hope to get out of your teacher preparation program. You may also want to consider participating in the UW Dream Project in order to gain experience working with high school students.

What is the difference between the History and Social Studies endorsements? 
Please visit this page to learn more about the prerequisite courses for each endorsement. Social Studies includes History coursework, plus additional Social Sciences such as Political Science, Economics, Geography and others.

I was not a UW History major, but I want to teach History at the secondary level. Which endorsement should I get? 
You can teach History at the secondary level with an endorsement in either History or Social Studies. Candidates who did not complete a BA in History at the UW usually find it easier to complete the coursework requirements for the Social Studies Endorsement because it requires more lower-division credits that may be earned at a community college.

How do I have my transcripts evaluated for the History endorsement for the UW Masters in Teaching Program? 
If you are a UW student, set up an appointment to speak with an advisor by visiting our Advising & Appointments webpage here.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in History in order to teach History at a secondary level? 
No. You must have a Bachelor's Degree, a teacher certification, and an endorsement in either History or Social Studies, but you do not have to have a major in History. If you already have a BA and need additional coursework for the endorsement, you may be able to complete the coursework by taking classes at community college, and/or as a Non-Matriculated student here at UW.

Do I have to earn a master's degree to be certified as a teacher? 
No, you can pursue teacher certification through any OSPI-approved undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or master's program, however, the University of Washington Seattle College of Education Teacher Education Program (TEP) offers only a master's in teaching (MIT) program for teacher certification. The UW Bothell and the UW Tacoma offer post baccalaureate (fifth year) certification programs for elementary education only. 
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Graduate School

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Where can I find information on applying for graduate school? 
See the information provided by the American Historical Association on graduate school, including articles on ^To Graduate School

What should I do to prepare for graduate school while I'm still an undergraduate? 
Undergraduate students planning graduate study in History can do a number of things to prepare:

Talk to faculty. History faculty are your best resource for graduate school preparation. They can assist you in discovering and developing your academic interests in History, make suggestions about schools and programs, supervise independent writing and research you may take on as an undergraduate, and write letters of recommendation to graduate programs.

Take additional upper division History courses beyond the minimum course work required in the undergraduate major in your area of interest.

Begin to study the foreign languages that a graduate program may require.

If possible, complete the ^To Graduate School

How do I choose a graduate program? 
First, talk to UW faculty members in your field about what schools are best in that area.

Read about graduate programs to see if they meet your needs:

Do they offer what you want to study? 
Do they have both MA and PhD programs? 
Do they require more fields or languages than you want to take? 
Do they have faculty members that you want to work with? 
Is the faculty member you want to work with going on leave, or is he or she likely to be retiring soon and therefore not taking on new students?

Consider writing letters or emails to appropriate faculty members at your target schools.Tell them about your academic interests and ask them about the graduate program. Read some of their published work to see if their interests correspond to yours. Try to maintain some dialogue with prospective faculty mentors so that you become more than just another name on a list of applicants.
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To how many schools should I apply? 
Apply to a range of schools. The nation-wide increase in the number of applications to graduate school makes the competition for the limited number of openings in most graduate programs very rigorous. 
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When are graduate school applications due? 
Most graduate school applications are due between December and February. 
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How do I find funding for graduate school? 
Look into what types of funding are available at the schools to which you are applying. Look into fellowships, Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistanships, and other funding from the schools; there may be different deadlines for applying for funding, so read the information carefully. Look into outside funding. See the ^To Graduate School

What are the components of a graduate school application? 

Most schools have a minimum GPA for graduate applications (the UW's is 3.0 based on the last 90 quarter credit hours or last 60 semester credit hours). But, in the current competitive climate higher GPAs, usually in the range of 3.5 (A-/B+) or better are the norm.

Please note that not only are your grades important, but also what courses you took. For example, if you are applying to study Chinese History and you have little or no preparation in that area, you will not be a competitive applicant, even though you have a strong GPA. (See also language preparation below.)

Request official copies of your transcripts as early as possible. Transcript offices get very busy in December and January due to the large number of last-minute requests. Your file will be considered incomplete and may be denied if the transcripts do not arrive by the application deadline. 
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Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 
Most schools require the General Test, but some schools may also require the Subject Test. Read each school's application materials to find out what exam you need to take. Be advised that GRE scores are not valid after five years.

Be sure to take the GRE well in advance of the graduate program's application deadline to ensure that the scores arrive in time. You can register for the ^To Graduate School

Letters of Recommendation 
Most applications require three letters of recommendation.

Good letters of recommendation are an important component in admission decisions. Request letters of recommendation from faculty members who know you well enough to discuss your work and your potential in detail and can attest to your scholarly abilities. Graduate admission committees need to see letters that speak specifically to your accomplishments as an undergraduate, your potential as a graduate student, and your potential for fitting into and contributing to a community of scholars. It is also important to have the support of a professor whose specialization closely relates to they field that you want to study so that he or she can speak to your potential in that area.

To assist faculty whom you've asked to write recommendations for you, consider providing them with a draft of your statement of purpose or a brief summary of your recent work and accomplishments and your plans. It can also be helpful to them if you're able to provide them with copies of papers you wrote for their courses or other work you completed under their supervision.

Ask for letters well in advance of application deadlines. If possible, collect letters and mail them with the rest of your application materials. Letters should be in sealed envelopes and the professor should sign his or her name across the seal. If it is not possible to send the letters with the rest of your materials, check with your recommenders to be sure that they send the letters directly to the graduate program. 
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Writing Sample 
Above all, the writing sample should show your mind at work. The writing sample should be a seminar paper or other research paper written in the general field of History that you intend to pursue at the graduate level. Graduate programs require writing samples of 10-25 pages. The most impressive writing samples demonstrate an ability to conduct research in a variety of sources, to write analytical prose, to construct a reasoned argument based upon evidence, and to create a context for assessing the significance of what has been presented.

Your critical writing sample should represent your best work in an area related to the academic interest(s) you want to pursue in your graduate study. Continue to revise and refine. Work with faculty whenever possible on your revisions. Prepare to turn in an clean, polished writing sample that has been edited thoroughly. 
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Statement of Purpose 
Overall, give an impression of purpose and self-awareness. Be specific about the intellectual experiences that led you to your proposed areas of study; include courses you have taken, research you have done, books read, methodologies discovered, etc. Note any speacial relevant skills that your possess. Link these to some reasonably specific statement of your research or teaching interests and ultimate career goals. Discuss how these interests and goals can be advanced by pursuing graduate work in a particular graduate program by working with specific professors or by utilizing resources of the school. If you are aware of any weakness in your application, mention your plans to deal with them.

Work hard at perfecting your statement of purpose. Your statement of purpose is an extremely important component of your graduate admission packet. Ask peers, faculty, or advisers to review what you've written, and plan to make multiple drafts. 
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Foreign Language 
Good foreign language preparation is impressive evidence of seriousness and likely success in a graduate program. Language training is often neglected by undergraduates, but is vital to graduate study, particularly in areas such as Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern, Asian, Latin American, Western and Eastern European, Russian, and African History. Speak to faculty members in your field about what languages will be necessary for graduate study.

If you do not have sufficient language study, discuss in your statement of purpose your plans to acquire the appropriate language training, such as taking intensive summer courses or attending foreign language institutes. 
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Note: Fill out all of the application paperwork completely and submit all requested information (personal statement, GRE scores, recommendations, etc.) on time. Most schools have an application checklist. Make sure that there's nothing missing. If you have questions about any of the materials, contact the graduate adviser for the targeted program. Be sure to read the application materials carefully. Failure to complete application forms accurately and to submit required supporting materials to the appropriate offices by the indicated deadlines may result in denial. 
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