Site Description

This Blog is a collection of messages we have sent in response to inquiries on a number of issues, as well as selections from announcements and other resources. It constitutes a FAQ page for many elements of the Graduate Program in History at Loyola University Chicago. If you have any questions, first carefully consult the web site for the program. Then, look and search these posts (via site search and labels). If you still have questions about details, first contact the Graduate Program Secretary, Lillian Hardison ( If you have particular questions about the Public History program, contact Professor Ted Karamanski ( All best!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dual Degree Program--Public History/MLS--Dominican University

Question: Upon graduation, I hope to begin working on my Master's degree and the Public History and Library Information Science Dual Degree program offered by Dominican University and Loyola University of Chicago is of much interest to me.  I have begun an online application for Loyola University Chicago and also one for Dominican University, both of which I hope to submit soon, but I do have a few questions regarding applying to the dual program before I proceed.
  • Do I apply to both institutions?  If so, how is it recommended that I go about this?
  • What are the application deadlines?
  • Is there anything else that needs to be completed in addition to the standard materials required (transcripts, personal statement, etc.) that I need to complete?
Answer: Application to the two programs is completely separate. Follow the instructions for each institution. The Loyola program is smaller and more selective so acceptance here is often harder than Dominican's MLS program. Students generally do the history section first and after  a year and a half move over to Dominican, but you do it the other way around or do both programs at the same time being part-time in each.
Application evaluation at the Loyola Program puts a heavy emphasis on your writing sample so choose that carefully to show strong rhetorical skills and an ability to do good research.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dissertation Proposal Seminars

One should not take the proposal class until one has completed the major examination.  The course is run as an independent study where you work with your advisor to produce a proposal. When it is time, the student just signs up via LOCUS.  You will, however, need a chair for your committee (your main advisor) from History.  It is fine to have an outside person, non-History faculty member, on the committee.  The other two should be from History. In general, people have most of the committee put together by the time they take the proposal seminar (at least a chair!).  You will have to fill out the forms with Lillian for the committee too. [n.b. these are now found through GSPS]   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dissertations into databases

Graduate students at most universities are encouraged or required to include their dissertations in Proquest’s Dissertations and Theses database and more recently in local digital repositories such as Loyola’s eCommons. Inclusion of dissertations in these types of services is considered beneficial to students and degree granting institutions. Students, recent graduates and newer faculty are encountering new obstacles in academic publishing as a result of the conflict of interest between the goals of the open access movement and those of academic presses. Join representatives from The Graduate School, the Libraries, Proquest, and others for a lively discussion on these issues. Refreshments will be provided. 

Admission Selection Process

Our admissions procedure is a multiple level, "blind" process of assessment by a range of faculty members.  Therefore, it is difficult to be precise about why or why not an applicant receives the final ranking score she or he  does.  Through the process, we assess the complete package submitted, including GREs, but also GPA, letters of recommendation, and especially writing samples.  We also consider very carefully whether the specific interests of a student coincide enough with our faculty offerings to warrant the cost and effort required to come and study at Loyola.  We don't want to invite persons just in order to increase our enrollments.

So, as the manager of this process, but not the "authority" over it, I can not be too specific about any particular case.  
My advice is that you consult with your professors and advisers at your present institution about every aspect of your applications,  and pay particular attention to the quality of your writing sample. We do not have a formal, or even informal, policy about multiple applications.  If you feel that your record has strengthened and might submit a stronger writing sample, etc., you have every right to do so and we will consider the new application on its own merits,  along with all others in the coming "season."

Non-US applicants

 For further information about the application process, please visit our program web page, especially the section on graduate admissions.  As a non-US student, would need to have your non-US transcripts evaluated by ECE ( and request the "General Evaluation with Grade Average."  If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, she will need to also submit the TOEFL or IELTS language test. Assuming you are able to process all of these elements, we would assess your application as we would any other.  Please keep in mind, as you consider this option, that we only offer financial support in the form of Teaching Assistantships to Ph.D. students.  

MA Admission Requirements and Link

We are very glad to learn that you will be applying for the MA program in History at Loyola University Chicago.  The application information you requested is available on this link.

Here is the list of elements you must include:


  1. A B.A. degree and a B average. Normally, students should have 18 hours of undergraduate coursework in history. You must send official transcripts of all undergraduate work as well as any graduate coursework.
  2. GRE scores: General Test
  3. one- to two-page statement of your objectives in applying for the M.A. program
  4. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from those familiar with work in the field of history
  5. sample of your historical writing, preferably a research paper written for a history course
  6. completed application,accompanied by a $50 non-refundable application fee (fee waived for online application)
You may apply by submitting these materials on paper via mail, or electronically.  For instructions either way, go to this link.

Ph.D Application Deadline

The deadline for all Ph.D. applications, with or without TAship consideration  is January 1 . 

Contact Graduate Program Secretary

For administrative assistance with any details, please contact or plan to meet Lillian Hardison ( 


Tuition is determined by the number of credit hours you take in any semester. For further information about tuition, the application process,  etc., you may contact the Program Secretary, Lillian Hardison at

Admissions materials; deadline for Spring admission

For admissions, we assess the complete package submitted, including GREs, but also GPA, letters of recommendation, and especially writing sample.  There is no clear cut off for GRE scores.  

Regarding the deadline for entering as an MA Spring semesters: it would be October 1 in the fall. No Spring admissions for Ph.D. students. 

Consult Funding Page

Information about funding appears on this page

Consult Faculty Pages!

 I recommend that you look through our faculty page carefully to see if your interests coincide with our areas of expertise.  Then, if you have specific questions about a particular aspect of our offerings, you can contact me or the most relevant faculty member directly.  

Sources of Funding

As is usual, we don't offer support to MA students, but we do offer financial support in the form of competitive Teaching Assistantships awarded to graduate students working toward doctoral degrees.  Ph.D. students are also encouraged to compete for sources of funding from outside the History Department.  Those sponsored by the Graduate School include:  Crown Fellowships for Humanities and Schmitt Fellowships for Dissertation Research.   

US Urban, Cultural, and Public History

As you can see from our website, we offer a range of programs that may coordinate with your interests, particularly in US Urban and Public History.  I recommend that you look through those offerings carefully, and also consult the list of US History faculty members on our staff.  There you may be able to determine whose expertise coordinates with your areas of interest. 

MA degree while working

As you can see from the program website, we offer an MA program in a range of fields.  A large number of our students do work at the same time as pursuing their studies.  While it is impossible to say precisely how the schedule might work, depending on course offerings from semester to semester, we do offer most of the graduate-level classes in the late afternoon and evening.  Exactly how long it would take you to complete the 27 credit hours required for an MA would depend on how many of those classes you could fit in.  Full time, normal time to degree is two years.  But part time, more gradual fulfillment of the class requirements is feasible.  

I urge you to explore the program for information about the specific requirements, our faculty, and the areas and courses offered.  If they fit your interests, it should be possible to complete a degree while continuing to work.

Public History contacts

The persons responsible for Public History in particular are Professors Ted Karamanski andElizabeth Fraterrigo.  While I can give you general information, they can help you with the particulars of the Public History program.  I recommend that you contact them directly with any questions about Public History.

No Ph.D. in South Asian History

Dr. Pincence is a wonderful teacher and member of our program.  But, as you can see on our web site, we only offer graduate studies in the areas of Medieval Europe, Modern Europe, Transnational Urban, US, and US Public histories.  I'm afraid we cannot offer a Ph.D. program in South Asian history.

Writing Sample: not multiple submissions

I'm sure you have seen that the admissions requirements do stipulate "a sample of your historical writing that consists of 20 plus pages, preferably a research paper written for a history course." I think you will find that this is standard in the field, which is--of course--primarily one which involves intensive writing and teaching about writing.  Therefore, I urge you to try to make your applications as complete as possible--to Loyola and all your other selections.   Of course, it is possible that a combination of shorter papers may impress an admissions committee, so you may try that alternative--with accompanying explanation.  But I cannot predict how our, or any other admissions committee, will assess it in comparison with all the other applications. 

Ph.D. Application for Funding deadlines

Regarding deadlines, the January 1 applies to any application department funding.  It has nothing to do with other forms of loans or financial aid outside of our program.  You will need to determine the particular deadlines for any other forms of financial support you might pursue.  If you choose to apply to our program without asking for funding from us in the form of assistantships, you can apply up until May 1.

Average Times to Degree

Our MA program takes 2 years if the person goes full time (three courses
a term).  The average time for completing a doctorate is more tricky and
depends.  But I would address it this way.  For someone in the
accelerated program, it can take anywhere from 5-8 years with 6-7 years
being about average.  With a MA, I would say its about the same (5-8
years) but more likely that the person will finish in 5-6 years.  Also,
we give out 5 years of funding and then expect our students to be able
to win one of three fellowships offered by the Graduate School for years
6 and 7 (if needed).  

p.s. Statistics are tricky here because it's only in the last three years that
we started giving out 5 years of funding.  Before that, we gave only 3
years and so our students took much longer to finish.

Placement Record

Regarding our recent placement record, you can consult the following link:

Admissions Selection Process

You need to put together the best possible application, including a statement of purpose, on the basis of your training so far and any advice you may obtain from other professors, etc.  A graduate program director is not in a position to anticipate the participants, process, terms, or outcomes of the admissions process.  If you feel that you might work well with an individual faculty member, you are encouraged to contact them and discuss your options and opportunities.  But this in itself would not guarantee acceptance.  That is determined by rigorous process of selection which involves the whole department. In the end, the process is a "blind" one, as is the case in many professional areas, to insure fairness, etc.  

Application materials; Admissions: Public History; Public History

1. Is it acceptable to submit more than three letters of recommendation? Will only three be read if more are submitted?
You may submit more than three if you desire. 

2. Do you have any information regarding the average GRE scores for your accepted students for the last fall semester?
Between 550 and 580, verbal.  But we take the whole application into account.

3. Is there a page recommendation for the research paper requirement?
Twenty or more pages are desirable. 

4. Is it recommended to apply for both the MA and PhD programs in Public History? I've had some professors tell me to wait until I earn my Masters degree and others encourage me to go ahead and apply for both. I understand the reasons behind both arguments, but I'm still unsure as to the best course of action. My close friend who attended Loyola as an undergraduate suggested that I ask a professor who teaches in the Public History program. Would you advise this also? If so, could you suggest a professor who I could contact?

 In regard to your question about applying for the accelerated program, y0u could go ahead and  apply for the doctoral program because we make those decisions first.  But you should also state in your personal statement (toward the end) that you wish to be considered for the MA program, if your are not admitted into the doctoral program.  Then, we will know to shift your application over to the MA if necessary.  

If you have further questions about Public History, please contact Professor Ted Karamanski:

Non-US undergraduate degrees, etc.

 Below you can read the response I received regarding your question about credits, etc., from a non-US program.  As you can see, it will ultimately be determined by the specific courses and the Graduate School cannot make that decision until you actually submit your materials.  

We would first want to see the evaluation and the US transcript before making any assessment or recommendation.  It's difficult to say without have the documents before us.  But ultimately, if she does not have bachelor's equivalency and has taken additional courses in the US, it will be a question for The Graduate School.

US Urban and Cultural History; Public History

Thank you very much for your interest in our program.  As you can see on our website, we do emphasize US Urban and Cultural History with a program in Public History as well.  That page will also provide information about our requirements, etc.  I likewise recommend that you consult the page which indicates individual faculty and their specializations.  You should feel free to contact any of those persons whose work seems relevant to your interests.  They will be able to give you more detailed responses about the program.  If you have further questions, I will be glad to try answering them, or to direct them to the most appropriate person.

Accelerated Ph.D.; Apply for Ph.D and/or MA?

I saw that I could apply for the fast track 2 1/2 year doctorate program. If I don't get into the program for the fast track doctorate degree, then I would be perfectly fine doing my studies the traditional way starting at Loyola with a masters and then finishing at Loyola with my doctorate. I am wondering, however, how do I go about the application. Do I fill out two applications? One for the fast track doctorate program and one for the masters program or can I fill out one.

Thank you very much for your interest in our program.  In regard to your question about applying for the accelerated program, I recommend that you go ahead and  apply for the doctoral program because we make those decisions first.  But you should also state in your personal statement (toward the end) that you wish to be considered for the MA program, if your are not admitted into the doctoral program.  Then, we will know to shift your application over to the MA if necessary.  

US Urban; US Evangelicism

 We do, indeed, focus on US Urban History and some of the other areas you have mentioned.  In addition, we have recently hired Professor Kyle Roberts who is expert in, among other things, 19th-century evangelicism.  Here is a link to his website.  If you have more detailed questions about that area, or any other specialization, I recommend that you contact the relevant faculty members directly.  They will be able to give you more precise answers.

Non-Degree Status

You can also apply to our graduate program as a non-degree student.  As a non-degree student, a person can take up to 3 classes.  NO more.  You can  then apply these classes to their degree program, if you do apply and get admitted into the program at a later date.  The non-degree option is something that students may want to do as a way to test the waters and see if they really want to do a MA degree (or Ph.D.).  You would also be able to write a paper that they could use as a writing sample for a degree application.  If you don't have any history credits, they will have to take three more courses somewhere else.  If a student is admitted as a non-degree student, we admit them last and after registration has already started.  That way, you only take classes that are still open and don't take spaces from students who are in the program.

Course Loads per Semester

 I tell all new students that if they are working 20 hours or more, they should only take 2 courses because 3 will be too much.  If they are going to go full time (3 courses), then they may want to take a 300 level class for graduate credit in their first term (to help with the transition to grad school).  This is especially true for Medievalists and Europeanists since we offer less at the 400 level. 

18 Hours of undergrad History credit for admission

I am very interested in specializing in Modern Europe and minoring in Early Modern Europe or Britain and Ireland. My concern is that admission requires 18 hours of undergraduate coursework in History and also a sample of historical writing. I took 12 hours of History courses in college and none of those classes required any historical writing outside of exams. Does this make me unqualified for admissions? Is there something I could do, such as take another history course, to make up for this?

The 18 credit hours is our rule.  But you can certainly take two more history courses to get to 18 credit hours.  Students do that all the time.  That would be fine.  You could even apply as a non-degree student and take our courses.  That way, you would develop a paper that could be used as a writing sample.  The writing sample is key.  If you do take two more courses, they should be at the 300 level or higher and include some kind of long (preferably research) paper.  

MA Essay as Seminar and Research Tool

The MA essay (history 599) does count for your second 500 level seminar.  You do NOT need two research tools for a MA.  You only need one research tool.  But your research tool can not also count for a public history minor field. (You can't double dip).

Basic GRE scores

Old System: 500-800

New System: 144-166

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TA Information

ESL requirement
Any teaching assistant (regardless of the duties assigned) for whom English is not the primary language will need to take the English Language Assessment Test the week before school begins. If the student does not receive a passing score, the student will need to take the appropriate ESL class during the fall semester.  Please communicate this to any student (new or continuing) who falls into this category.  It they do not do this, they cannot hold their award. Students will be required to cover the cost of the ESL class; tuition awards can only be used for courses that count towards their degree.
Requirements for Teaching Assistants
All new teaching assistants must attend the Teaching Assistant Workshop [in August]. Any currently funded students, such as the Dean’s Fellow or any other assistant who will be a teaching assistant for the first time, should plan on attending this workshop as well.  Please forward the names of all of these students (new and continuing but new as teaching assistants) to me no later than [June 1]. Please communicate this information to the students who fall in this category by  [June 1] so that they can plan their summer.
Any student serving as a teaching assistant should be given his or her Fall assignment and the contact information for the professor they will assist by  [June 1]   Before [August 15], the supervising professor should have secured any desk copies for the assistant and should have sent a copy of the syllabus to the teaching assistant.
All fellowship and full assistantship students receive health insurance.  However, they must register for fall  by July 1 so that they can be loaded into the system appropriately.  Please remind all of your funded students that we do the health insurance drop only in the fall so they need to carefully think through their insurance needs.  Students have until late September to opt out of insurance if they can produce evidence of other coverage.

Basic Program Size Information

About 50-60 MA students in program now.
About 30-40 are in PhD program now, including ABDs.

Ph.D Program Questions

I am considering applying to your PhD program in History with a concentration in United States History. I have a few questions about your program:

1. What are the most important things you look for in an applicant? What is the average graduate GPA and GRE score of people accepted into the program? What is the range of these scores for students you accept? How much do undergraduate grades factor into the decision? What is your overall acceptance rate?

First, I want to let you know that our doctoral program is largely geared toward students working in U.S. history who focus on urban history or social/cultural history.  So our successful applicants usually work in these areas.  We also take seriously students who work in women and gender history, race/ethnicity and/or the Atlantic world.  These are our areas of strength and we generally look for applicants who work in these areas.
When we judge an applicant's file, we generally put the most emphasis on the writing sample.  We like to see a research paper that uses primary sources to make an original argument.  The paper should be at least 20/25 pages in length.  It is fine to send an entire M.A. thesis (applicants often do).  We use the writing sample to evaluate an applicant's ability to do original research and make historical arguments.  We also put a lot emphasis on the personal statement and like to see that students are aware of our department strengths and have a sense of how their own scholarly interests fit with our strengths.  Letters of recommendation are also important.  Lastly, grades do matter and we would certainly want students with an MA to have at least a B+ cumulative average and would prefer that it be higher.   Undergraduate grades are less important since we know that students are sometimes late bloomers.  GRE scores are important but not as important as the other parts of the application.  We have accepted students with less than stellar GREs if the other elements of the application package are strong.  The quantitative score is not really important.  Don't worry about it.  For the verbal score, we like to see something that is in the 600s or 700s.  We like to see an analytical score that is 4 or better.    The scoring system for the GREs is about to change but you can use this general framework to get a sense of what we expect.  I don't have exact figure for our acceptance rates.  But I can tell you this: we accept six doctoral students a year into our program and we get about sixty applicants a year for the program.  So it is competitive.

2. Are there any pre-requisite courses?

There are not pre-requisites.  If  you have a MA in history, you are fine.

3.  I would be interested in doing GIS or Paleography for my second research tool.  Do I need to have experience in either of these to enter the program?  How many courses in these subjects are needed to fulfill the research tool requirement?

We require two research tool for the doctorate.  GIS and paleography are both acceptable.  A course in either would allow you to meet the tool requirement as long as you get a B or better.  We also have a foreign language test and variety of foreign language classes.  Students can take GIS at Loyola or somewhere else.  Paleography is not regularly offered at Loyola but could be taken elsewhere and used for the requirement. 

3. What kind of funding do you offer students? Do you offer funding for every student you accept into the program?   Can the funding be renewed each year, or do students need to re-apply for it?

 Our funding comes in the form of 5 year TAships.  If you were offered this funding, you would be given a full tuition scholarship and a stipend of $1x,000 a year and health insurance too.  This would be good for 5 years as long as you were in good academic standing (a cumulative GPA of B+ or better).  We have a variety of fellowships that students apply for after their five years of funding are up.  These usually help students finish up while they are writing the dissertation.  We try to fund all six people that we admit.

Ph.D Funding

Ph.D. Funding: All our doctoral funding comes in the form of TAships.  There are a few fellowships available from the graduate school but they are rare to get.  So, students are looking at TAships. 

--TAships are for FIVE years as long as the students is in good academic standing (cum GPA of 3.3/B+ or better).
--TAs receive a tuition fellowship that covers full tuition, plus a stipend of $18,000 (each year), and get a subsidy for health insurance (get covered via Loyola's plan).  They do have to pay some kind of minimal student fees
--TAs serve as graders for a professor their first year.  They go to the class, have office hours, and help grade.  They do not necessarily get to TA in their own field; they go where they are needed.
--TAs, in year two, will serve as a TA for a large lecture lecture where they run discussion sections for the class.  So now they go to class, have office hours, run weekly discussions, and grade for students in their discussion sections.
--TAs in year 3 and 4, wil do one of the two options above as needed by the GPD.
--TAs in year 5 teach their own class each term (an core class in their field: 111, 112, 103 for Americanists or 101/102 for Europeanists, etc).
--Finally, if you are not done after 5 years, students apply for fellowships from the graduate school.  We have three that they apply for: a teaching fellowship, the advanced doctoral fellowship and the Schmidt fellowship (for the last year of writing and finishing up).  Our students usually get one or more of these if they have done well in the program.  So there is basically funding available for about 7 years to get students done.

We also have two TAships that go to MAs in the public history program.  These students get TWO years of funding, full tuition coverage, $xx,000 stipend each year and a health insurance subsidy.

Time to Degree

Students usually ask what the process is for doctoral students (how long is course work, etc).  Here is what I tell them:
1. If you come in with a MA, we expect that it will take roughly 2 years to complete require coursework.  We have a 60 credit hour program and students with MA usually get about 30 credit hours transferred from their MA (usually but not always).  Then, they do their comprehensive exams in year 3 (both major and minor fields).  Year four, they should defend their diss proposal in the fall and then spend the rest of the year researching for the diss and maybe writing.  Year 5, 6, 7, etc are spend on the diss.
2.  If students come into the doctoral program with only a BA, it usually takes 3 years to get course work done.  They usually get one exam done in year three too and finish up comps and the diss proposal in year 4 and move on to diss work after that.  
3.  Students take a variety of courses to complete a major field and minor field of study.  400 level courses are generally readings courses where students learn the historiography of the field.  500 level courses are research seminars, where students produce primary-source research papers.  These should be the spring board to dissertation topics/research.  Students must take ONE 500 level seminar if they come in with a MA (they can take more if they like) and students MUST take 2 if they come in with only a BA degree to the doctoral program.

4. Students doing the traditional MA do courses in one and half years.  They have to take TWO research seminars at the 500 level and do a take home comp exam in the major field only.

5. Students in the MA in public history have a different program all together and it is best to let Ted explain it to prospective students.  The joint PHD in US and Public history is a little different too and  you may wish to let Ted explain that too.