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Department of History

How to Apply

“Durham history department is one of the best in the country, and the university is one of the best in the world. The course sounded interesting too, so it was an easy choice to make.”

Michael, MA student

Entry Requirements

Taught degrees: the standard requirements for entry into the programme are a 2.1 (with an overall average of 65% or above) or GPA of 3.5, or equivalent. A first degree in History or a related subject is required. For international or EU applicants, please refer to the 'Information on your County' webpages or contact the Admissions Co-ordinator for advice.

Research degrees: for doctoral research we would normally require a good performance, merit or above, at Master's level or equivalent. As entrance requirements for other research degrees vary, please contact the Admissions Co-ordinator.

For international students whose first language is not English: we require IELTS of 7.0 (with no component under 7.0) or equivalent.

Application Procedures

The application process requires you to complete the online application form and upload supporting documents. (If you are unable to use the on-line form, please contact the Graduate School for advice.) We do recommend that you contact the History Department if you are applying for a research degree before making your application, so that you can discuss your proposed project with a potential supervisor.

Documents Required For All Programmes

Please complete the standard University online application form and upload all supporting documentation, with the exception of the references, requested in the bullet points below. If you are unable to upload these with your online application form, please email them to the Admissions Secretary.

We require the following documentation for all applications:

  • Two Academic References - please ask your referees to email their references directly to
  • An Academic CV - this should be no longer than 2 A4 pages and should contain information about your academic achievements to date and any related-work experience you have undertaken.
  • Sample of written work (up to 2500 words for MA programmes, up to 5000 words for the PhD programme)
  • Academic Transcripts and Certificates, if available - copy of your undergraduate degree and postgraduate programmes (dependent upon which degree programme you are applying for) transcript and/or certificate, if degree already attained. Please note - we will accept unofficial transcripts for courses still being studied but these transcripts should be on University letter headed paper. If the transcripts and certificates are not in English, we do require the original and the certified translation. You can find out more about translated documents and what is required here.
  • A 750-word outline of your intended research, concentrating on the research problem you will address, the research context in which it is located, and the methods, critical approaches, and sources you will use. You can upload this as part of the online application form, or if you have difficulties with this, you may email it to the Admissions Secretary as an attachment. For advice on writing your research proposal and what it should contain, please see our guidelines.

Additional Supporting Documents Required

For MA Programmes

  • Personal Development Self-Assessment Table - Applicants are requested to complete and submit a self-assessment table with their online application, or as a seperate attachement by emailing our Admissions Secretary. Please find the Personal Development Self-Assessment Table below under 'Resources' available to download.


As part of the application process you may be requested to attend an interview and this will most likely be through Skype. Please indicate on the application form which dates you would be available for interview.

College Preference

If you wish to read for any full-time programme you must become a member of one of our Colleges or Societies as well as being accepted by a department. You can indicate preferences on your application but you will be send further infromation from the Colleges Office, if you are made an offer.


The department will consider applications for places on postgraduate programmes throughout the academic year, and there is no formal deadline for applying for a place. There are some studentships and bursaries available to fund or to contribute to the costs of postgraduate study, and if you wish to be considered for these, you must make sure that you apply by the relevant deadlines - usually in January or February (see Funding and Fees for more information). Please indicate on your application form which (if any) of these schemes you wish to be considered for.