Carnegie Mellon University

Application Requirements

In addition to biographical information and small questions, our application includes the following major elements:

Writing Samples

The Admissions Committee places particular emphasis on this part of your application. We prefer writing samples that demonstrate your ability to analyze and write from primary sources. We will, however, accept other writing samples that demonstrate your analytic skills.

Most applicants submit one piece of writing, of approximately 10,000 words. You can submit two separate pieces of writing, if you prefer. Please do not submit a writing sample longer than 30,000 words total.

Statement of Purpose

In a 300- to 750-word essay, address such questions as: Why do you wish to have a Ph.D. in history? What sorts of questions do you imagine addressing as a historian? What attracts you to the Carnegie Mellon graduate history program? Which of our faculty's research interests most closely match your own, and how? What are your major career goals after completing study at Carnegie Mellon University? Describe any relevant education, research, or teaching experience.

Test Scores

Please provide the date and scores for the GRE general test (required for all programs) and the TOEFL (if applicable). If your native language is not English, then you must submit a TOEFL. If you have not yet taken the required tests, provide the dates you are scheduled to take tests. It is highly recommended that you upload copies of your test score reports (if available) in PDF format.
If you are currently working on or have received a bachelors of masters degree in the US and your native language is not English, the TOEFL is still required, but you may submit a copy of a previous TOEFL report even if it is more than two years old. Request that an official score report be sent to:

Graduate Coordinator
Department of History
240 Baker Hall
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

GRE codes: Institution 2074, Department 2704
TOEFL codes: Institution 2074, Department 86

All official GRE and TOEFL score reports are due by the application deadline. Please make certain that you use the correct institution and department codes. If you do not use the correct codes, the score reports will not reach our offices. If you have not used the correct codes, it is your responsibility to contact ETS and request score reports be sent with the correct codes as listed below.


Three letters of recommendation are required. At least two should be from faculty. Recommenders should know you well and be able to evaluate the quality of your academic abilities.

All letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically. Enter and Save the required information for each recommender. You must select the Send Request button for an email to be sent to the recommender. Do NOT wait for the letters of recommendation to be received before submitting your application.

Select your recommenders carefully and type their email addresses correctly. Absolutely no changes or additions to the recommenders section will be allowed after the application deadline.

Please send the requests to your recommenders as early as possible and well before the application deadline. It is your responsibility to request that your recommenders submit their letters of recommendation by the application deadline. If a recommendation is not submitted promptly, you may send a reminder email to the recommender. Any recommendations sent after the deadline may not arrive in time for the review process.