Degree Requirements

For detailed information regarding degree requirements, see the Graduate Handbook.

The Master of Arts degree in History requires completion of one of the options below.  All students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better to graduate.  For more information on each type of course required, scroll down to the definitions below. For more information on both the thesis and exam options, see below.

Students may check their progress toward degree in DegreeWorks.

The following requirements are valid for all students beginning their degrees in Fall 2007 or later.  Students who registered before that date will be held to the old requirements.


M.A. in History (thesis option): 30 credit hours

Required Courses (15 total hours)

  • Three colloquia (9 hours)
  • HIST 6693: Historiography and Methodology (3 hours)
  • HIST 6694: Seminar in Historical Writing  (3 hours)

Electives (9 total hours)

  • At least 3 hours must be in 6000-level history courses.
  • No more than 6 hours of electives can be at the 5000-level, in independent study (HIST 6894), or outside the department of History (in any combination).

Thesis (6 hours)

Note: At least 6 hours of History courses must be in fields other than United States history.


M.A. in History (exam option): 30 credit hours

Required Courses (15 total hours)

  • Three colloquia (9 hours)
  • HIST 6693: Historiography and Methodology (3 hours)
  • HIST 6694: Seminar in Historical Writing (3 hours)

Electives (12 total hours)

  • At least 3 hours must be in 6000-level history courses.
  • No more than 9 hours of electives can be at the 5000-level, in independent study (HIST 6894), or outside the department of History (in any combination).

Exam Preparation (3 hours)

Note: At least 6 hours of History courses must be in fields other than United States history.


M.A. in History, Public History Concentration: 36 credit hours

Required Courses (21 total hours)

  • Two colloquia (6 hours)
  • HIST 6693: Historiography and Methodology (3 hours)
  • HISt 6694: Seminar in Historical Writing (3 hours)
  • HIST 6330: History in the Digital Age
  • HIST 6320: Introduction to Historic Preservation
  • HIST 6310: Introduction to Museum Studies

Electives (9 total hours)

  • At least 3 hours must be a Public History elective.
  • No more than 6 hours of electives can be at the 5000-level, in independent study (HIST 6894), or outside the department of History.

Internship (3 hours)

Thesis (3 hours)

For more information on requirements for the concentration in Public History see the program's web page.


Thesis Defense/Comprehensive Exam

After completing the required courses, students must either prepare a Master's thesis based on original primary research or take three comprehensive written examinations based on reading lists compiled in consultation with faculty members. In both cases, the candidate must then pass an oral examination based on their thesis or written examinations.

An Examining Committee, consisting of two faculty members from the Department of History and a third member selected from History or another department, oversees the student's thesis work or conducts the comprehensive written and oral examinations.


Course Descriptions

Colloquia [3 offered each Fall, one in the Spring]

  • Broad readings courses in the following fields, each of which will be offered on a regular rotation: U.S. to 1865; U.S. since 1865; Europe in the Long 19th Century; Europe in the 20th Century; Colonial Latin America; Modern Latin America.  The courses are conceived as the foundation for a comprehensive exam in that field.
  • Emphasis on critical reading, analytical writing, and mastery of historiography in the given field.
  • Students in traditional M.A. program must take three colloquia, including one from outside of their national or geographical area of focus; students in Public History must take two different colloquia.
  • Students in the traditional M.A. program should take two colloquia in the fall of their first year.  Public History students taking only six hours in the fall of their first year may request an exemption to take only one colloquium.

HIST 6693: Historiography and Methodology Seminar (required for all students) [Spring]

  • This course will introduce students to different theoretical approaches and methodologies for writing history.  Over the course of the semester, students will, in conjunction with a faculty adviser, write a draft thesis proposal.  All full-time students must take this course in the spring semester of their first year. Otherwise, it should be taken only after completion of at least six hours.

HIST 6694: Seminar in Historical Writing  [Fall of Second Year]

  • Research and writing course to be taken in the third semester.
  • Some common readings, but the focus is on student research and writing skills. All students will complete a major research paper--ideally,  a thesis chapter--based at least in part on primary sources.

Thematic Electives  [Fall and Spring]

  • Courses addressing a particular theme, method, or problem, generally involving readings that cover more than a single nation/period.  Examples might include courses on gender history, nationalism, industrialization, urbanization, or race.
  • Final paper may be research paper or substantive historiographical essay; the former is encouraged for students on the thesis track.

Public History Sequence

  • A sequence of three courses, History in the Digital Age, Museums, and Preservation, which introduces students pursuing a concentration in Public History to the basic outline of the discipline. 
  • These courses are taught in a three semester rotation.  All Public History students should take one of these courses in each of their first three semesters.

Public History Electives

  • Courses that address more specialized aspects of the field of public history; may address either methodologies (for example, Oral History or Documentary Editing) or fields of practice (for example, Preservation Law).