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M.A. in History

History StudentThe 30-credit Master of Arts in History is designed for educators, or those considering entering the field of teaching, those in the fields of law, journalism, business, and government seeking to deepen their knowledge of history. It also provides a springboard for those who plan to enter doctoral history programs. Graduates of the Master’s program are ideal candidates for positions as researchers, journalists, museum curators and public service professionals.

The Master’s program places emphasis on acquiring proficiency in a wide range of historical scholarship, developing analytical and research skills, and producing well-argued written and oral presentations. Faculty members in the Department of History have broad teaching and research interests, with particular strengths in American, European, Latin American and East Asian history. Courses are scheduled in the late afternoon or evening to accommodate those who are employed full- or part-time.


Program Options

A candidate who is admitted to the Master of Arts degree program has a choice of three plans. All M.A. students are required to take HIS 601 (Historiography) that examines past and current theories of historical thought and models of historical methods.

Plan I – Thesis Option

The thesis option is designed for those students who seek to develop their skills in historical research and writing as well as those planning on continuing study at the doctoral level. The thesis is designed to demonstrate a candidate’s mastery of the scholarship about a focused historical subject, the ability to interpret primary sources, and success in formulating a. Students must submit a written proposal for a thesis topic and have it approved by a faculty member who will act as the thesis advisor. A Master’s thesis is approximately 50-60 pages in length and an oral thesis defense is required for completion.

HIS 601 Historiography
HIS 707 Thesis Seminar
HIS 708 Thesis

Elective Courses (21 credits)

Plan II – Comprehensive Exam Option

The comprehensive exam option is designed to give M.A. students broad exposure to graduate-level coursework in history.  Students must pass two oral examinations that demonstrate their ability to interpret secondary sources on distinct historical subjects. The Graduate Advisor will provide a list of possible exam topics, each of which will have four scholarly books. Students choose two topics and prepare to discuss the works in the presence of two faculty members. Comprehensive exams are offered three times a year. This option requires 30 semester hours of courses.

HIS 601 Historiography

Elective Courses (27 credits)

Plan III – Public History Option

The public history option provides an opportunity for Master’s students to investigate the application of history in public venues. Students may choose to design a public history project in cooperation with a local museum or historic site and work under the joint supervision of a qualified member of the site’s staff and a department faculty member. Alternately, students may choose to develop a “contemporary issue project” that results in a research paper that explores the historical background of a current social problem. Interested students must present a proposal to a faculty member who will serve as the project advisor. This option requires 30 semester hours of graduate history courses, including HIS 705, the independent study in public history.

HIS 601 Historiography
HIS 705 Practicum in Public History or Policy

Elective Courses (24 credits)