The Department of History offers MA and PhD programs that prepare students for careers in teaching, in historical research, and in archives, historical agencies, museums, libraries and government. The Department offers a wide array of geographically, chronologically and thematically defined courses.

At the master’s level, the Department offers four options:

  1. A general degree in History;
  2. A specialization in Public History for those interested in areas such as museum work, archival administration and historic preservation;
  3. A coordinated Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Science degree program;
  4. A specialization in Urban Historical Studies for students who intend to pursue a PhD in Urban Studies or in Urban History.

At the doctoral level, the Department offers the PhD in History.

The Department also participates in the interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral programs in Urban Studies. For more information, see Urban Studies.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission

To be considered for admission, an applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements:

  1. An undergraduate minor or 18 credits in history or equivalent preparation.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s scholastic achievement and potential.
  3. A sample of the applicant’s written work that demonstrates his or her ability to conduct historical research and/or the ability to analyze critically the work of others.

Please visit the History department’s website for information on the History Department Application.

Applicants may be admitted with course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses. The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted toward the degree.

Advising

The Director of Graduate Studies provides initial advising for students in selecting courses and assists in selecting a Major Professor for long-term advising; the Director may assign a provisional graduate advisor before students select a Major Professor. Students are required to consult periodically with, and have their schedules approved by, the Director of Graduate Studies, the provisional advisor, or the Major Professor. The Major Professor normally serves as the chair of the student’s academic review and supervises either the writing of the student’s thesis or the student’s reading for the comprehensive exam.

Credits and Courses

General History Option A: Thesis Option

Minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits, at least 24 of which must be taken in History. Required credit distribution:

HIST 712Historiography and Theory of History3
or HIST 713 Historical Research Methods
Select 6 credits in two colloquia 16
Select 6 credits in two seminars6
Select 6 credits in thesis6
Select 9 credits in electives in consultation with the student’s advisor9
Total Credits30
1

 Students may take 3 credits of either HIST 716 or HIST 717 as a substitute for 3 credits in one colloquium.

Academic Review and Thesis Prospectus

Within the first semester after completing 9 credits (including two of the following courses: HIST 712, HIST 713, a colloquium and/or seminar), Option A students are subject to an academic review. The Review is a one- to two-hour meeting involving the student, the student’s Major Professor and two other members of the History Graduate Faculty who will serve as secondary readers of the student’s thesis. With the assistance of his or her Major Professor, the student must prepare a thesis prospectus in advance of the Review. The Review involves an evaluation of the student’s academic progress in master’s coursework, two unrevised course papers, and the thesis prospectus.

General History Option B: Non-Thesis Option

Minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits, 24 of which must be taken in History. Required credit distribution:

HIST 712Historiography and Theory of History3
or HIST 713 Historical Research Methods
Select 6 credits in two colloquia (800 numbers) 16
Select 6 credits in two seminars (900 numbers)6
Select 15 credits in electives in consultation with the student’s advisor15
Total Credits30
1

 Students may take 3 credits of either HIST 716 or HIST 717 as a substitute for 3 credits in one colloquium.

Academic Review and Comprehensive Examination Reading List

Within the first semester after completing 9 credits (including two of the following courses: HIST 712, HIST 713, a colloquium and/or seminar), Option B students are subject to an academic review. The Review is a one- to two-hour meeting involving the student, the student’s Major Professor and two other members of the History Graduate Faculty who will serve as examiners for the student’s comprehensive exam. With the assistance of his or her Major Professor, the student must prepare a reading list for the comprehensive exam in advance of the Review. The Review involves an evaluation of the student’s academic progress in master’s coursework, two unrevised course papers, and the reading list for the comprehensive exam.

Urban Historical Studies Specialization

This specialization combines historical approaches with those of the social sciences in studying urban processes, organizations, and society. It is designed to meet the needs of students who intend to enter the interdisciplinary Urban Studies Ph.D. program or a similar program after completion of the Master of Arts degree.

The minimum degree requirement is 33 graduate credits distributed in the following manner:

HIST 712Historiography and Theory of History3
or HIST 713 Historical Research Methods
HIST 595The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data3
Select 6 credits in History colloquia (800 numbered courses)6
HIST 971Seminar on the History of American Urban Problems3
Select 3 additional credits in History seminars (900 numbered course)3
HIST 985Master's Concluding Project Research6
Select three of the following:9
Urban Social Structure
Seminar in Urban Political Process
The Internal Structure of the City
Seminar: Research Methods in Urban Studies
Total Credits33

Additional Requirements

General History Option A: Thesis Option

Thesis

The student must write an acceptable thesis.

Thesis Defense

The student must pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

General History Option B: Non-Thesis Option

Thesis

Not required.

Comprehensive Examination

The student must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment

Urban Historical Studies Specialization

Thesis

A thesis is required in this specialization.

Thesis Defense

The student must pass an oral defense of the thesis.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.