M.A. History

Master of Arts Degree in History Overview

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in History is designed to expand a student's knowledge of history and historical method, and to develop a student's research, writing, and analytical abilities in U.S., European, and world history. The degree prepares students for careers in public history, further study towards a doctoral degree, and teaching at the secondary and postsecondary levels.


After the student has met the requirements for university admission, the M.A. in History program will permit registration for graduate history coursework once a student has submitted documentation demonstrating either an undergraduate degree in History with a GPA of 3.0, or the equivalent of an undergraduate major in History (minimum 24 credit hours) with a GPA of 3.0. Official transcripts should be provided in order to document all prior history coursework. If a student has not satisfied this requirement, they may be required to take up to 24 credit hours of undergraduate leveling in history, in which they must earn a GPA of 3.0. Once any required leveling has been completed, the student will be permitted to register for graduate history coursework.


Once a student has completed 12 credit hours in graduate history coursework, consideration will be given for full admission to the M.A. in History program. The Graduate Coordinator will review all records submitted to the university and program at the time of the university admission decision and at the time the student was permitted to register for graduate history coursework. If not already submitted, the student will be required to submit the university admission essay and a GRE score taken within the previous six years. The Graduate Coordinator, in consultation with full-time program faculty, is responsible for making the program admission decision.

The Graduate Coordinator is responsible for communicating the program admission decision and should be the point of contact for all inquiries regarding the M.A. in History program. The Graduate Coordinator is also responsible for all advising, including assisting with the student’s selection of either the thesis or non-thesis track. Students must have the approval of the Graduate Coordinator to change tracks once they have completed 24 credit hours of coursework.

If at any point a student’s GPA in the M.A. in History program falls below a 3.0, the student could be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or removal from the program. If a student receives a failing grade in a course, he or she will be required to retake that course; and if the failing grade results in suspension, the student could remain on suspension until the course is retaken with a satisfactory grade.

Core Requirements

The M.A. in History requires 36 hours of approved coursework, including HIST 5300 (Elements of Historical Inquiry), 5380 (Historiography and Historical Method), and one research course (HIST 5320, 5322, or 5342). In consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, a student may take 12 hours in an appropriate supporting field. A student must take coursework in United States and non-United States history.

Each student must demonstrate reading proficiency in at least one foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Proficiency will be measured by the successful completion (with a "C" or better) of 14 hours in a single foreign language (either in the undergraduate or graduate level, at the equivalent of the intermediate level).

Common Courses (30 Credits)

Courses that are common to all emphases may be applied to all. At least 36 hours are required for the degree.

Required Courses
HIST 5300Elements of Historical Inquiry3
HIST 5380Historiography and Historical Method3
Select one of the following:
HIST 5320Selected Topics in State and Local History3
or HIST 5322 Selected Topics in American History
or HIST 5342 Selected Topics in European History
Other Degree Requirements
Approved graduate-level History electives 121
Emphasis Requirements (See Below)6
Total Semester Credit Hours36

12 Credit hours can be used in a support field.  For further information consult with your graduate coordinator.

Without Thesis

HIST 5090History Comprehensive Examination0
Other Degree Requirements
Approved graduate-level History electives 16
Total Semester Credit Hours6

12 Credit hours can be used in a support field.  For further information consult with your graduate coordinator.

Additional Requirements

Each student must take a written comprehensive examination based on coursework submitted for the M.A. degree. An examination committee, composed of three faculty members, administers the examination. If the examination result is unsatisfactory, the committee allows the student to retake the comprehensive examination one additional time. Additional coursework in areas of weakness may be required.

With Thesis

Required Courses
HIST 5198History Thesis (1)3
HIST 5198History Thesis (2)3
Total Semester Credit Hours6

Additional Requirements

Each student completes a thesis under the direction of a thesis advisor, who chairs the student's thesis committee. The student does not begin work on the thesis prior to completion of 24 hours of coursework and will enroll in Thesis (HIST 5198) only with the prior approval of the graduate coordinator. Six hours of Thesis (HIST 5198) may count toward graduation. Students should prepare their thesis in accordance with the procedures specified by the Office of Graduate Studies. Upon completion of the thesis, the student sits for an oral defense before the student's thesis committee.

Course Information and Schedule

The Course Information page includes a complete list of courses and course descriptions. 

See the courses offered this semester using the Online Course Schedule.

Program Level Student Learning Outcomes 

  1. Identify connections between historical issues and life outside the classroom, and compare the historical development of their own and other cultures
  2. Think historically about the past by identifying and critiquing historical interpretations (historiographical analysis) and analyzing issues in a historical context
  3. Select and use evidence from a variety of sources, including primary sources, and complete assignments that prompt them to argue effectively and critically
  4. Examine current issues from a historical perspective and examine the role of historical interpretation in shaping current actions and policies


Click here to go to the handbook for the M.A. in History.