FAQ's for Prospective Students in Arts & Humanities

Listed below are some of the most commonly asked questions about applying to and attending the School of Arts and Humanities at Claremont Graduate University. Should you still have questions after reading this list, please feel free to email us at humanities@cgu.edu or call us at (909) 607-7811 and we will answer any additional questions you may have.

Who should apply to programs in the Arts and Humanities?

The most successful applicants are intelligent, passionate about their education, driven to excellence, and serious about becoming an active contributor to the learning environment. Because the School of Arts and Humanities is interested in building a very diverse, interdisciplinary, community of scholars, we do not use a restrictive set of standards for admissions, but rather seek to evaluate each applicant on his or her individual merit and specific profile of experiences and goals.

Do you have any information sessions that I can attend?

Of course! We offer sessions regularly throughout the year. Click here for a list of times and dates and to register for a session. If you can't make one of those sessions please contact our Recruiter (humanities@cgu.edu or 909-607-7811 ) and we'll be happy to set up a personal visit for you.

What are the application requirements?

The School of Arts and Humanities generally will not evaluate your application for admission until all of the required documents have been received. The following is a list of the materials required when applying to CGU (you may go to the Office of Admission and Records web page for more information on each of these items or to apply online):

Though not officially required by most A&H departments, we highly recommend that you include an additional writing sample(s), along with your personal statement. You may submit samples of any length which you feel indicate your writing ability, but please note that we will be unable to return any items submitted as part of your application (and please, no books). *Cultural Studies applicants: A writing sample is required in addition to the personal statement. This sample should have a maximum length of 30 pages.

Art and Music applicants have additional requirements. For more information, please see their departmental pages at www.cgu.edu/art or www.cgu.edu/music.

I'm ready to apply!  How do I get an application?

    Click here for an online or paper version of our application

Must I have an undergraduate degree in the subject I wish to pursue at the M.A. level?

No. Our students come to us with degrees in a variety of fields within the social sciences, humanities, and the arts as well as other academic backgrounds. Obviously, the greater the background you have in your chosen field of study, the better prepared you will be to complete the assigned work.

Music and Art applicants should have demonstrated ability in their medium or performance area and are required to submit supplemental information along with their application (see Music and Art pages for specific requirements).

Must I have completed a Master’s Degree to be accepted into a Ph.D. program?

Usually, but again, exceptions have been made. Because the nature of Ph.D. work is so highly specialized, we want to make sure that our faculty and resources will be sufficient for research and scholarship at that level. Additionally, we want you to succeed. If you choose to apply to a Ph.D. program and the admissions committee feels you are not quite ready to enter at that level but are a strong applicant, they will likely offer you admission to the M.A. program. After completing your Master's course work, should you and your faculty advisor believe it would be beneficial for you to enter the Ph.D. program you can submit a Change of Degree form and will not have to reapply to the Ph.D. program. At the same time, you have the option of earning your M.A. “on the way.”

Is there a specific undergraduate GPA required?

No. Every effort is made to review transcripts of previous academic work carefully and to consider the many factors that can affect the picture they present. We are aware of the differences that occur between one’s freshman and senior years, and of the many outside factors that may impact a student’s academic performance. We do expect a student to do well in his/her major, but we do not set a requisite grade point average. We take into consideration not merely the grades received, but also the quality of the institution, the difficulty of courses taken, and the reputation of the professors with whom an individual studies.

What test scores must be submitted for my application?

Applicants to all of the programs within the School of Arts and Humanities, with the exception of Art, must submit test scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Please note that Music applicants are not excused from the GRE requirement. We will only accept official GRE scores from tests administered within the last five years. GRE subject tests are not required for any of our programs, but we will be happy to review any additional exam results that you choose to send. Applicants to the M.A. in Arts Management program may submit scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) in lieu of the GRE. When reporting your GRE or GMAT scores to CGU, use Institutional Code 4053.

International applicants must submit additional items (please read below for more information).

Is there a minimum score required on the GRE/GMAT?

No. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when reviewing test results.

Most other programs require writing samples. Are they required here or just optional?

Cultural Studies, Philosophy and English, require writing samples, and we highly recommend them for all humanities programs. You may submit samples of any length you feel indicate your writing ability, but please note that we will be unable to return any items submitted as part of your application (please, no books). Most applicants submit one or two scholarly papers or excerpts of around 10-15 pages.  Cultural Studies writing samples should not exceed 30 pages.

I am a Music Department applicant. Where can I find information on the audition requirements?

You can find that information here. Please note, Music applicants are required to submit scores from the GRE as part of their application.

I already have a Master’s/graduate degree from another institution. Must I still submit test scores?

Yes. All applicants must submit current GRE scores, regardless of whether a previous graduate degree has been obtained.  Test scores must be no more than 5 years old at the time your application is received.

Do extracurricular and professional activities count when applying?

Yes. The admissions committee is careful to weigh community and campus activities, as well as professional experience, when considering an applicant. While we are clearly an academic institution, we know that “real life” experiences contribute significantly to a students’ education. We therefore respect the time, effort, and learning a student gains from work outside the classroom.

Can I get an application fee waiver? How?

Application fee waivers are only granted to CGU Alumni and undergraduates from the Claremont Colleges, as well as to McNair Scholars and Project 1000 participants. If any of these categories applies to you, please indicate in the section provided on your application.  The documents you submit as part of your application will verify your eligibility. 

Do you allow students to attend courses part-time?

Absolutely. Our faculty and staff are aware that many students cannot devote themselves exclusively to full-time study, and we appreciate the time constraints that many students face. CGU requires a minimum of twelve units of coursework a year for domestic students (equivalent to three 4-unit courses), which can be arranged at your discretion.

Exception: International students are required to study full-time and must complete a M.A. degree within 2 years or a Ph.D. in 6 years. To learn more about new regulations for international students, including information on SEVIS, please contact the International Student Coordinator and review the information at this web site.

Do you have any distance or online learning options?

No. At this time all classes offered by the School of Arts and Humanities are taken at CGU or at the campuses of the other Claremont Colleges.

What is the cost of tuition?

The cost of attending CGU as well as various payment plans and policies can be found through Student Accounts.

What financial aid is offered, and how are the decisions made?

Most aid is provided in the form of fellowships, equal to a percentage of tuition. Tuition remission fellowships vary from program to program. The school endeavors to support as many qualified students as possible, but the budget is limited, and the competition for funds is high. At this time we are not providing any full funding opportunities, but most programs offer admitted students fellowships that cover somewhere between 25% and 40% the cost of tuition. All applicants (including international and out of state applicants) are considered for aid in the same manner. Application for fellowships is made at the same time as applying for admission. In order to be considered for departmental fellowships please indicate that you are applying for institutional aid on the CGU application.

The School of Arts and Humanities has a very limited number of Research Assistant (RA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) positions available for the simple reason that we educate only Masters and Doctoral students. The RAs and TAs that we do employ are selected directly by our faculty and receive compensation in the form of payment, rather than tuition reduction. As a general rule, the faculty select continuing students for these positions. If you would like to be considered for either an RA or TA position please contact your faculty advisor and let him or her know that you wish to be considered if such a position becomes available. For additional funding opportunities please click here.

Federal loan programs are administered from a central CGU Financial Aid Office. For more information on Financial Aid please contact the CGU Office of Student Financing.

I am an international applicant, are there any additional requirements for me?

Please see the FAQ page for prospective international applicants for more information.


Ready to apply?  Click here!


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