Graduate Program Information

The University of California, Riverside offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History, as well as M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Public History, which prepare graduates for careers in museums, archives, and historic preservation, among other professions.

The UC Riverside History department is a dynamic department that is deeply committed to graduate training. We seek to produce highly qualified professional historians with exceptionally strong research and teaching skills, a breadth of historical knowledge, and an understanding of the variety of methods and approaches that historians employ. No single approach to history prevails among the faculty. Research activity and interests cluster in ways that cross traditional fields defined by places and periods. Notable concentrations of faculty strengths include material culture, public history, Native American history, cultural contact and confrontation, women and gender, and family history.

We feature Ph.D. fields in World History and Native American history (and are one of the only universities nation-wide to offer the Ph.D. in Native American history), in addition to broad strength in Europe, the United States, and Latin American History. In addition, our program in Public History at the M.A and Ph.D levels is one of only two in the University of California system. Public History students receive training by UCR faculty and by adjunct professors of history who are professionals in nonacademic institutions such as archives, museums, and historic preservation organizations. The department also participates in systemwide programs of the University of California, such as the Tri-Campus Classics Program and the Multi-Campus Research Program in Late Antiquity.

Successful applicants to the graduate program generally have a clear idea of the program of study they intend to pursue when they apply for admission. Individual faculty with whom applicants wish to study take part in the admission process.


Most students entering the M.A. program should expect to spend two full academic years completing work for the degree. Students entering the Ph.D. program should expect to spend at least two and one-half years of course work in preparation for the Ph.D. comprehensive examinations. The time for completing the dissertation varies depending on the student's interest and ability to devote all of his or her time to the project.


The UCR History Department works with the UCR Graduate Dean's office to offer outstanding applicants guaranteed multi-year financial aid packages (up to five years) that combine fellowship with teaching assistant support. Many students also receive teaching assistant support, short-term and quarter-long research fellowships, and dissertation fellowships on a competitive basis as they proceed in their course of studies.


Graduate study involves mastering fields of study, not simply taking courses. Students are therefore encouraged to identify their major interests early in their graduate career.

The Department offers four kinds of graduate courses: lectures, reading seminars, directed studies, and research seminars. Each course normally carries four credits per quarter.

  • Reading seminars, called "materials" courses, are small, one-quarter (4 unit) courses that introduce students to the basic historical literature of a period, such as Early America or Early Modern Europe, or a field, such as Native American History. These are intensive, demanding courses centered around weekly three-hour discussions that involve substantial amounts of reading and writing.
  • Research seminars are two-quarter (8 unit) courses designed to train graduate students to do professional historical research. These are extremely demanding courses involving a major research paper. Students normally take a research seminar only after having taken reading seminars in that field.
  • Directed studies (History 290) consist of individually directed reading and discussion; these generally supplement material seminars.
  • Lecture courses are one quarter upper-division undergraduate (4 unit) courses that can be taken by graduate students for credit. This usually involves additional assignments for graduate students.

Application Details:

Applications for admission along with requests for financial aid are due December 1st for those wishing to enroll the following fall. The Department does not accept applications for entry in the winter or spring quarters. Nearly all admission decisions take place from January to March.

To complete your application, the following items will need to be completed:

1. Online application with all required materials, including a writing sample (such as an undergraduate or MA-level paper) uploaded directly to the graduate admission online application.

2. Official Transcripts, of all institutions attended after high school, should be sent directly to the History Department to the address below:

Graduate Advisor
Department of History
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Applicants must apply online to the Graduate Division.

For detailed requirements please consult the UCR General Catalog.

For more information, please e-mail the Graduate Student Affairs Officer.