History (M.A.)


Our Master of Arts degree programs are highly flexible, so students can design programs tailored to individual needs. All MA students will work with a three-member faculty committee for their final capstone experience. The three-member faculty committee will take the form either of a thesis committee, an oral exam committee, or (for museum studies students) a project committee.

M.A. Degree Requirements

Completion of the MA degree requires at least 30 credits of coursework.  A master's student designs a specific program to meet one of three plans. Plan A allows substantial training and research in a single subfield of history but within a foundation of broader coursework. Plan B allows substantial breadth over at least two subfields. The subfields in history include the following: the ancient world, medieval Europe, early modern Europe, modern Europe, European intellectual history, medieval England, early modern England, modern England, early modern France, modern France, early modern Germany, modern Germany, Iberia, Russia, early U.S., modern U.S., colonial Latin America, modern Latin America, the Far East, the Near East, sub-Saharan Africa, and the history of science. Plan C allows students who enter the doctoral program without an M.A. to pursue the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees simultaneously.

Plan A requires at least eight courses in history numbered 800 or above, including at least one research seminar, and a 6­-credit thesis (HIST 899 Master's Thesis) in a single subfield (equivalent to two courses).

Plan B requires at least 10 courses in history numbered 800 or above, including at least one research seminar, and an oral examination demonstrating competence in two subfields of history.

Plan C requires at least 30 credits of coursework during preparation for the Ph.D. qualifying examinations; submission of a seminar or other research paper as a demonstration of competence in basic research techniques; and passing Ph.D. qualifying examinations. An MA will be awarded when the qualifying examinations are passed.

Please consult the History Department's Graduate Student Handbook for additional details.

  • Students will be able to demonstrate broad knowledge of historical events and periods and their significance.
  • Students will be able to explain and critique the historical schools of thought that have shaped scholarly understanding of their fields of study.
  • Students will be able to deploy skills of critical analysis:
    1. Formulating persuasive arguments
    2. Evaluating evidence and critiquing claims in the literature
    3. Interpreting a variety of primary sources
  • Students will be able to conduct research that makes an original contribution to knowledge, deploying these essential skills:
    1. Reviewing the state of the field to identify a new topic and locate their work within larger scholarly conversations
    2. Identifying and accessing a sufficient base of primary sources
    3. Producing a high-quality research paper, well-written and meeting professional standards typical for conference presentation or academic publication.