Ph.D. Pipeline Program

The UC Berkeley History Ph.D. Pipeline Program provides general information and personalized guidance for prospective History Ph.D. students from historically excluded and underrepresented backgrounds. Funded by UC Berkeley's Graduate Division and offered to participants free of charge, it features roughly a dozen Saturday seminars led by Berkeley faculty, staff, lecturers and graduate students over Zoom in the Spring semester and a program of individualized one-on-one mentorship during the subsequent summer.

Applications for our first year closed on February 15th and we are now busy reviewing the files. We are grateful for everyone's interest and look forward to letting applicants know our decisions before March 8th.

Applications for 2021 have now closed.

Please check back next fall for information about the 2022 cohort!

Pipeline Program brochure

Check out our brochure!

Frequently asked questions

For a PDF version, click here!

What is the structure of the program?

The Pipeline Program is divided into two parts:

Part I of the program consists of ten online seminars led by Berkeley historians, staff, alumni, and graduate students, offered every Saturday morning from March 20 to May 15, 2021. The contents of the weekly seminars will vary, but aim to cover three key areas: (1) demystifying the application process, (2) exploring the work of a professional historian, and (3) providing strategies for wellness in academia and beyond.

In Part II of the program, which will run over the summer, Fellows will receive individual support and mentorship from Berkeley faculty and advanced graduate students in the process of choosing and applying to a Ph.D. program in History. Mentors will be assigned to Fellows and will help them craft application statements, select and polish writing samples and target graduate schools and programs consistent with their specific research interests. They will also help Fellows identify reference letter-writers or make themselves available to serve in this critical role themselves.

How much does the program cost?

The program is free of charge.

How do I apply?

The official application form is available online here. If you have any questions or concerns about the application, please contact us at

What is the deadline for application?

The deadline for application is Monday, February 15th, 2021 at 11:59pm Pacific.

Do I need a letter of recommendation?


Do I need an official or unofficial transcript?

Transcripts are not required to apply to the Pipeline Program, but you may submit an unofficial transcript if you feel it would help us better understand you as an applicant.

Are there written components to the application?

Yes. The application consists of two short responses (no more than 500 words) and a writing sample.

What is the selection committee looking for in the short responses?

Responses should collectively communicate why you’re considering a doctorate in history, what your professional goals are, and why you’re interested in the Pipeline Program. You should indicate familial, educational, cultural, economic, and/or social experiences that have affected your decision to consider a career in history.

What makes a good writing sample?

Your writing sample should showcase your ability to articulate your thoughts in writing. A writing sample on a topic of a historical nature (broadly conceived) is preferred, but not required. Above all, your writing sample should be a piece of writing that you’re proud of.

Is there a length requirement for the writing sample?

The writing sample may not exceed ten pages. There is no minimum length requirement.

What if I’m not sure that I want to apply to a History Ph.D. program?

Though applicants should at least be seriously considering the pursuit of a Ph.D. in History, we view our program as an opportunity, not an obligation. If you decide at the end of the program that a Ph.D. in History is not a good fit, we understand.

Who is eligible to apply?

We welcome all juniors and seniors, as well as college graduates who have a serious interest in pursuing a PhD in History. If you have a question or concern about your eligibility, please contact us at

Do I have to live in Berkeley to participate?

No, the 2021 Pipeline Program will be held exclusively on Zoom and is open to anyone in the United States.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

All persons residing in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are eligible for the Pipeline Program.

I applied this year but didn’t get in. Can I apply again?

All applicants are welcome to apply again.

Who runs the program?

The 2021 program is led by the Berkeley History Department Chair Peter Zinoman and Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of American History and Citizenship Waldo E. Martin, with support from an advisory committee made up of Berkeley faculty, staff, and graduate students.

Who funds the program?

The Program is funded by the Berkeley Graduate Division’s Graduate Diversity Pilot Program as part of a series of both new and ongoing anti-racism initiatives. More information about the Berkeley Graduate Division and about these initiatives can be found here.

What if I have more questions?

If you have questions about the program or the application, please email us at