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Master of Arts in History

Our Master of Arts in History program is divided into three tracks.

  1. Thesis Option: this track offers the student a course of study that leads to the writing of a Master’s Thesis (80-100 pages). The thesis is a major scholarly work that is the capstone of the program. This track trains research historians. Often, students who pursue the thesis option have ambitions of heading on to a Ph.D. program where thesis work contributes later to a Ph.D. dissertations. However, sometimes students choose this track to gain higher level research and writing skills that can be utilized in a number of ways in the job market.
  2. Public History Option:  this track is designed to train professionals in public history. Public history emphasizes the skills and knowledge necessary for engagement with the community in a non-academic way. A public historian is academically trained but uses their knowledge to converse with a public audience. Practitioners may make documentary films, work in a museum, a national park, a historic site. provide historical tours, or run history themed websites. The training specializes in how to engage effectively with a non-academic audience. Our program does not micro-specialize in narrow skills such archival studies or preservation but instead focuses on the ability to communicate complex history to diverse audiences and perhaps influence public debate.The department expects the same level of rigor and quality in labor, research, and expertise of public history students as of students on other MA tracks.  Students complete a Project which is a research study that leads to a public history demonstration along with a written narrative.  Recognizing that public history projects of different types provide different challenges and opportunities to demonstrate a student’s level of mastery, the department requires that students and their committees agree upon a written portion to complement the public history demonstration. This written portion will typically take the form of a packet of written work accumulated and revised from the student’s coursework.   Overall this packet must demonstrate scholarly competence in writing, research, analysis, and historical documentation and will be from 60-80 pages.
  3. Non-Thesis Option — also known as the Teacher Track or the Portfolio Option: this track offers the student a course of study that involves only graduate level classes and not the writing of an 80-100 page thesis. However, the department expects the same level of rigor and quality in labor, research, and expertise of portfolio history students as of students on other MA tracks.  The portfolio student chooses a major and minor field and takes more classes than the Thesis option student and therefore gains a broader amount of historical content. This work is then compiled into a portfolio consisting of several of the revised versions of the students best research papers and a new essay totaling between 75-100 pages.  This option is often pursued by students who do not plan to go on to Ph.D. program such as a secondary education teachers who simply desire to reach a deeper level of historical knowledge and avenues for promotion, including the teaching of concurrent enrollment (high school classes taken for college credit)

Overall, if attending full time, both tracks are designed to be completed in two years. However, we have many part-time students — such as teachers — who require three or four years to complete the program and that is just fine.

Our department officially supports three geographic areas in general during most time periods. This is not an exhaustive list as faculty members change the emphasis of their research at times and the list would be too long.

  • US (especially Western US history — 19th and 20th centuries)
  • Europe (Western Europe [specifically the UK and France], Eastern Europe and the Balkans [specifically Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Serbia, Croatia] in Medieval, Modern periods); and Italy and Greece in the ancient period.
  • Non-Western: Asia [specifically Korea and Pacific Oceania] and Middle East [specifically Iran])

In practice we also specialize in the following multidisciplinary areas.

    • Public History
    • Environmental History
    • Religious History
    • Military History
    • History of Racism
    • Gender History
    • Constitutional and Intellectual History
    • Migration and Refugee History
    • Police History
    • Economic History
    • Historical Archaeology

Degree Requirements

The three tracks in the Master of Arts program each require 33 credits to graduate.  There are no foreign language requirements.  However, if a student chooses a topic that requires a foreign language for research then the student must have a knowledge of that language or they will have to choose another topic.