Academic Guidance Good grad schools for medieval to early modern European history?

Apr 2016
37
Iowa, USA
In just a couple of months, I will be taking the GRE and beginning to apply to grad schools. My aim is to focus my studies toward European history (especially the medieval to early modern eras). I intend to go for an MA-PhD track, in the hopes of going the funded route. As an Iowa resident, I kind of have my sights set on the University of Iowa and that in-state tuition. However, I would also like to apply to several other grad schools in order to keep my options open.

My first Bachelor's degree (in Liberal Studies) that I earned about a decade ago has a terrible GPA (something like 2.3) because I was young and irresponsible. By the time I start applying to grad schools this fall, I will be in the senior year of my second Bachelor's degree (in History), and will have about a 3.6-3.7 GPA. (I wonder if these circumstances will limit my realistic options for acceptances?)

Which grad schools have good European history programs for English-speakers? I'm looking for any suggestions, from well-known Ivy League universities all the way down to little-known public or private colleges. They can be anywhere in the United States (or Europe, for that matter, if they can accommodate English speaking students).
 
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Dec 2011
1,304
If you are going for a PhD track, it might be useful to delineate your field of interest a little bit more. This will help you both with finding suitable programs, and would help us to suggest a department, as well as increase your chance of getting accepted. Could you tell us which period, region and topic you are interested in and which languages you read or intend to learn?
 
Apr 2016
37
Iowa, USA
If you are going for a PhD track, it might be useful to delineate your field of interest a little bit more. This will help you both with finding suitable programs, and would help us to suggest a department, as well as increase your chance of getting accepted. Could you tell us which period, region and topic you are interested in and which languages you read or intend to learn?
My primary area of interest is social history in late Medieval to early Early Modern (might have just invented a new term there) West-Central Europe. I am especially focused on Germany. I have a decent reading proficiency in German and have mastered the old German scripts (Sütterlin, Fraktur, etc.), but not quite fluent yet (studying using Rosetta Stone, mainly).
 
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Dec 2011
1,304
I see, I guess you already have an overview over the "usual suspects" (Princeton, Cambridge etc.), so I would say the Universities of York (Medieval History) and Manchester (Medieval and Early Modern History) might be of interest to you, too. Both focus on England and are quite expensive, however. A cheaper alternative would be the "European History" MA program at Humboldt University in Berlin, but it is taught only partially in English and the options in medieval and early modern history are rather limited. If you are willing to attempt a German language MA, I would recommend to take a look at Berlin, Heidelberg and Vienna.
 
Apr 2016
37
Iowa, USA
I see, I guess you already have an overview over the "usual suspects" (Princeton, Cambridge etc.), so I would say the Universities of York (Medieval History) and Manchester (Medieval and Early Modern History) might be of interest to you, too. Both focus on England and are quite expensive, however. A cheaper alternative would be the "European History" MA program at Humboldt University in Berlin, but it is taught only partially in English and the options in medieval and early modern history are rather limited. If you are willing to attempt a German language MA, I would recommend to take a look at Berlin, Heidelberg and Vienna.
Thanks! Do you have any recommendations as to grad schools in the United States with good programs for my particular area of study, in addition to Princeton?
 
Dec 2011
1,304
Thanks! Do you have any recommendations as to grad schools in the United States with good programs for my particular area of study, in addition to Princeton?
I'm sorry, but I don't really have much to say on the US. According to Patrick J. Geary (Medieval Germany in America - Medievalists.net) Harvard and John Hopkins University might be good addresses, too. Incidentally, Geary is professor for medieval history at the IAS in Princeton... :p
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,964
Blachernai
My primary area of interest is social history in late Medieval to early Early Modern (might have just invented a new term there) West-Central Europe. I am especially focused on Germany. I have a decent reading proficiency in German and have mastered the old German scripts (Sütterlin, Fraktur, etc.), but not quite fluent yet (studying using Rosetta Stone, mainly).
This is a very good start. I'd suggest worrying less about programs and more about developing a topic and finding someone you would want to work with. Find some books in your field that really excite you, try to get a sense of why, and see where the authors are teaching. You don't need to go to a big name school, although of course it helps: they tend to have loads of money and will support their students well.

You won't need an exact topic for a while, but when you're making the grad school applications think about what recent books in your field are interesting and why and how you think you can use/move beyond them. This is very much the key to American Ivy academia.

Cambridge is strong in medieval history. The admission process isn't too brutal, and there is funding available, so it's worth looking at. The fall of the pound to the US dollar would probably help you, too, but it's a very expensive place to live. Oxford is less generous with the funding, at least in my experience.

In the case of Princeton, you may also want to look up the names Anthony Grafton and William Chester Jordan.

Do not forget that a PhD is a major commitment. If you don't want to spend the next five-ish years of your life living in the middle of nowhere, then maybe scratch off places like Cornell or Princeton.

Incidentally, Geary is professor for medieval history at the IAS in Princeton... :p
IAS is often its own little world. Some professors at IAS come to Princeton's campus regularly and are closely engaged, while others are ghosts.
 
Apr 2016
37
Iowa, USA
Hey folks. So, here we are 1.5 - 2 months from grad school application submission deadlines, and I have a list of 35 good grad schools with faculty in my specialty area (early modern Germanic social history). I need to narrow this list down to maybe a dozen. Included are the school name, their national rank (according to US News & World Report's ranking of history graduate programs), their city, and their website.

I'm thinking I should maybe apply to a mix of top-tier schools (dream schools) and less-prestigious schools ("safety" schools). Any advice you could give me on which schools I should apply to, and which I shouldn't even bother applying to?

A little background on me as an applicant: I'm 31 years old; I earned a BA in Liberal Studies in my younger years with a pitiful 2.3 GPA; worked as a professional genealogist/ancestry researcher for the last several years; am almost done with a second BA (in History) and will have a 3.7 GPA at the time I apply next month; my GRE scores fall in the 97th percentile for Verbal, 66th percentile for Quantitative, and 82nd percentile for Analytical Writing.

Thoughts?

Binghamton University 69 Binghamton, NY https://www.binghamton.edu/history/graduate/
Boston University 44 Boston, MA Graduate Program » History | Boston University
Brandeis University 34 Waltham, MA https://www.brandeis.edu/departments/history/grad/index.html
Carnegie Mellon University 44 Pittsburgh, PA Graduate Studies - Department of History - Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University 11 Ithaca, NY Department of History | History Cornell Arts & Sciences
Duke University 18 Durham, NC https://history.duke.edu/graduate
Emory University 27 Atlanta, GA Graduate
Fordham University 79 Bronx, NY https://www.fordham.edu/history/
Georgetown University 21 Washington, DC https://history.georgetown.edu/
Northwestern University 11 Evanston, IL Department of History - Northwestern University
Ohio State University 27 Columbus, OH https://history.osu.edu/graduate
Ohio State University 27 Columbus, OH https://history.osu.edu/graduate
Princeton University 1 Princeton, NJ https://history.princeton.edu/
Southeast Missouri State University 93 Cape Girardeau, MO Master of Arts in History - Southeast Missouri State University
Stony Brook University 63 Stony Brook, NY Department of History at Stony Brook University
Syracuse University 91 Syracuse, NY https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/hist/
Tufts University 59 Medford, MA https://ase.tufts.edu/history/graduate/
University of Arizona 63 Tucson, AZ https://history.arizona.edu/grads
University of California-Davis 32 Davis, CA Doctoral Studies ? History
University of California-Los Angeles 9 Los Angeles, CA UCLA History
University of Chicago 6 Chicago, IL https://history.uchicago.edu/
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign 23 Urbana, IL https://history.illinois.edu/academics/graduate-studies-illinois
University of Iowa 53 Iowa City, IA https://clas.uiowa.edu/history/graduate
University of Maryland 27 College Park, MD Graduate Programs | History Department
University of Miami 91 Coral Gables, FL Department of History - College of Arts and Sciences
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 6 Ann Arbor, MI https://lsa.umich.edu/history/
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 32 Minneapolis, MN https://cla.umn.edu/history/graduate
University of Missouri 79 Columbia, MO https://history.missouri.edu/grad/graduate-program
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 69 Lincoln, NE https://history.unl.edu/
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 11 Chapel Hill, NC http://history.unc.edu/
University of Oregon 53 Eugene, OR https://history.uoregon.edu/graduate/
University of Virginia 18 Charlottesville, VA Corcoran Department of History, U.Va.
University of Wisconsin-Madison 9 Madison, WI https://history.wisc.edu/graduate.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison 9 Madison, WI https://history.wisc.edu/graduate.htm
Vanderbilt University 23 Nashville, TN https://as.vanderbilt.edu/german/
Washington University in St. Louis 38 St. Louis, MO https://history.artsci.wustl.edu/
Yale University 1 New Haven, CT Department of History |
 
Jun 2017
3,034
Connecticut
Back when I was going to actually go down the History MA path, my top choice was Tufts. I honestly don't remember why(think I'd heard a positive anecdote or two and decided that was where I wanted to next go to school) but I'd recommend looking into it, seeing as it's on your list.