Quick Links

How to Apply

Important Note

The Department of History and Classical Studies accepts applications between November 1 and January 15 and offers full-time programs only starting in September. Applications are not accepted at any other time of the year. Applications to MA programs in History or Classics will not be accepted after January 15.

Application Form and Fee

For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents, please see:  http://www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/prepare.

Do not apply to both the thesis and the non-thesis master's programs as two separate choices; select only one. An applicant may request a change of option at a later time, once accepted into the program.

MA Program Choice

Important note: The two MA programs (MA (Non-thesis) and MA (Thesis)) are of equally high quality and rigour. Both are highly regarded by other universities, should you wish to apply for a PhD elsewhere after your master's or to another graduate program. Indeed, for those thinking of going on for the PhD in History, we recommend the MA (Non-thesis) because it gives greater breadth of foundation. Students accepted into the MA in History of Medicine must follow the MA (Non-thesis).

Students applying to the MA (Thesis) should contact potential supervisors to determine their availability. Students applying to the MA (Non-thesis) should indicate under sub discipline their particular geographic, chronological or thematic interest. It may not be possible to accommodate specific research interests in the research paper, as these usually develop from available seminars in any given year.

Application Fee

Application fees and other charges are listed on the student accounts website. Applications cannot be processed without this payment.


You must upload unofficial copies of transcripts for all courses at all universities attended. Include transcripts for courses taken at other universities that apply to your BA or MA degrees, even if the credits have been transferred. It is important for the department to see the titles of the courses and the grades given.

Please note that uploaded transcripts will be considered as unofficial.  Once you are admitted you will be required to supply final, official transcripts before enrolling for courses.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to provide references from two instructors familiar with their work. McGill will request letters of recommendation on your behalf from referees you identify on the application form. Note: There is no template or form required for reference letters.

MA applicants who graduated with a BA in History several years ago (5 years or more) may have some difficulty submitting letters of recommendation. If possible, it is a good idea to contact a professor who has given you a good grade in a History course. The letter could explain what would be required of a student to achieve this grade in the course. Although academic references are preferable, personal references (e.g., supervisor in the work place) may be accepted with a letter of explanation. References for applicants who are recent graduates must be from academics and normally from historians.

Quebec law requires that, upon request and in certain circumstances, candidates be given access to letters of recommendation written on their behalf. You are requested to notify your proposed referees of this fact.

On the Department's "Application Checklist" (see below), indicate the two names of referees who have agreed to send references on your behalf. Please include names, position, university address, telephone number and email address for each referee.

Curriculum Vitae

Please submit a copy of your curriculum vitae. If applicable, please include the following in your curriculum vitae:
- Research experience (archival or major undergraduate papers)
- Employment experience (or other full-time activities): Please indicate any employment, including research positions you have held. Provide dates, starting from the most recent.
- Honours, awards, distinctions: Indicate if national/local/institutional and monetary value if applicable.
- Publications: List any refereed publications and non-referred publications. For co-authored publications, briefly describe your contribution.

Personal Statement

For students applying to the non-thesis program, please indicate your geographic, thematic, or temporal area of interest. If applicable, you may wish inform us of any special circumstances that should be taken into consideration of your application.

Written Work

Submit a brief essay (maximum 750 words) on the following topic:
“What was the best undergraduate history course you took, why, and what did you learn from it?”

Indicate at the top of the MA essay which MA program you are applying for.

MA Research Proposal (MA (thesis) only)

Students applying to the MA (thesis) option must submit a research proposal as a separate document, independent of the application form.
- Title
- Nature of proposed research: Provide a non-technical summary of your proposed research (maximum 1 page).
- Proposed Supervisor(s)

MA Writing Sample

Submit a good BA paper (graded copy), maximum 15-20 pages.


Please note that the GRE is not required for applications to programs in History at McGill. However, if you have taken the GRE, you may wish to add it to your application. Test scores must be less than three years old and received directly from the testing agency. You must indicate McGill University's institution code: 0935.

Proficiency in English

The language of instruction at McGill University is English. Students must write term papers, examinations and theses in English or in French. Non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate degree from a recognized institution where English is the language of instruction are required to submit documented proof of competency in oral and written English prior to admission.

Test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 567 (paper-based) or 86 (Internet-based), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum overall band score of 6.5 are required. Test scores must be less than three years old and received directly from the testing agency. You must indicate McGill University's institution code: 0935.

More information can be found here.

Notification of Decision by the Graduate Committee, Department of History and Classical Studies

A letter will be sent to each applicant after final recommendations by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies GPS) are received in the department. The department attempts to make recommendations to GPS on acceptance or rejection within six weeks of the application deadline. Applications that are incomplete or arrive after January 15 may not be considered for September registration in the same year. In cases where marks for courses or other work in progress are not available, the History Graduate Committee may make provisional recommendations for admission, pending receipt of these marks. Two final transcripts indicating “Degree Conferred” must be sent to the department as soon as it becomes available. Please provide a permanent address to which mail can be addressed at any time and be sure of reaching you. [Please also note that e-mail originating from "hotmail" or "yahoo" accounts are not guaranteed to reach us.]