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History Graduate Degrees

The Master of Arts degree consists of thirty credit hours. Normally students take courses at the graduate level (700 and above), although some courses numbered 500- and 600- (excluding History 696) may count for graduate credit with the approval of the primary advisor. Students must complete a minimum of eighteen credit hours in courses numbered 700 or higher. 


Students are required to take HIST 805, The Nature of History in their first semester of study. M.A. students must also complete two sections of HIST 802 (in the second and third semesters of study for full-time students). In each of these seminars, students must produce an original research project, suitable for consideration for publication in a scholarly journal, with the following characteristics:

  • Selection of a significant topic
  • Demonstration of original insight into that topic
  • Development of a source base consisting of primary sources in the original language
  • Integration into the historiographical context of the secondary literature
  • Preparation of a well-defined thesis statement and clear argument throughout
  • Use of complete and accurate citations using a consistent style (usually following the Chicago Manual of Style (
  • Length of 7,500 to 10,000 words.


Students in fields in which the primary research language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in their primary research language within their first year in the M.A. program. Students should consult the Department's Foreign Language requirement policy in the Graduate Handbook for more information about how to fulfill this requirement.


In their final semester of study, terminal M.A. students will sit for a ninety-minute oral examination that covers the student’s research fields and the papers prepared in the two research seminars. More information regarding the structure and content of this exam can be found in the Graduate Handbook.



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