Department of History College of Arts and Sciences
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Guide for Graduate Students

Master of Arts in History

The program
Admission requirements
Nature of course offerings
Requirements and restrictions
Time limitation
Comprehensive examination
Statement of intent to graduate
Timetable for M.A. program
Forms and applications

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Nature of the Course Offerings in the M.A. Program

Students in the M.A. program may enroll for credit in all courses on the 6000 and 7000 level. You can find details on the content of each graduate course for the semester in the departmental minicatalog, (MS doc).

Courses on the 6000 level are open to both graduate students and upperclass undergraduate students. These courses usually center around lectures and discussions and survey an entire period, enabling students to get a background in fields they have previously not studied. In addition to the lecture materials, readings, and examinations required of the undergraduates, graduate students are expected to do a significant amount of additional work. By close consultation with the professor about the precise nature of this additional assignment, students may be able to do work in accord with their interests and needs. If you have taken a course at the 4000 level (undergraduate) or its equivalent you cannot take the same course again at the 6000 level. Only six credits of 6000-level coursework may count toward the M.A.

7000 and 8000-level courses are the same in content, meeting times, and requirements; they differ only in the fact that M.A. students register at the 7000 level and Ph.D. students at the 8000 level.

Courses on the 7000 level are open only to graduate students and are usually limited to a class size of 15 or fewer.

Those 7000-level courses designated “Studies in...,” “Thematic Studies in...,” or “Topics in History” are designed primarily to survey the important secondary scholarship on a period, a part of a period, or a theme and to familiarize students with leading scholarly interpretations. The emphasis is on extensive reading, rather than on a major writing project on some narrow topic. Class discussions of common readings, written critiques, and student presentations, rather than the lecture, are the basic format of these courses. They typically differ from term to term, and if this is the case you can retake them as often as you like.

Research Seminars, all designated, History 7070, in contrast, emphasize research using primary materials in announced topics and on preparation of a scholarly paper. There should be few common readings not directly geared to the paper. Every Research Seminar will be different, so you may always retake them.

Courses with historiography in their names are designed to give broad coverage of the important scholarship in an entire field. All M.A. students must take at least one of these, in a field of their choice. This is a prerequisite for History 7070 research seminars. You are encouraged to take more than one historiography course, since they are designed to give broad coverage of the important scholarship in an entire field. Most years we intend to offer historiography courses in all of the fields in which we specialize: U.S history before 1877, U.S history after 1877, African American history, modern European history, and Egyptian history. Historiography courses in other fields may be available occasionally. You may take a historiography course in a given field only once.

History 7012 is a directed readings course taken individually with a professor. By advance consultation with and approval by a professor, students can arrange for directed readings in a field of interest not offered as a regular class, fill in gaps in knowledge, or investigate possibilities for a thesis topic. Taking this course requires the express agreement of the professor who will direct it; no one has the right to a directed readings course. You must file a directed readings registration form ( (pdf)) with the department office prior to enrolling. M.A. candidates may normally enroll for no more than 3 hours of directed readings, but we may give permission to take 3 more, for a total of 6 hours, upon petition to the Graduate Coordinator. In this case you must (1) supply the Coordinator with a description of both the previous readings course and the one under consideration (including a list of books read or proposed for reading) and (2) state the reasons why a second readings course is necessary. As an exception, M.A. students in ancient history may without such a petition take three additional hours of Directed Readings with the consent of one of the faculty members in the ancient history field. It is our policy not to approve readings courses if there is a class available that covers the same or similar general topics.

History 7070 is a research seminar. The emphasis is on research using primary materials in announced topics and on preparation of a scholarly paper. All M.A. students must take at least one 7070 seminar. In order to take History 7070 you must already have taken an historiography course, although not necessarily in the same field as the Research Seminar.

History 7991, Independent Readings, is an individualized readings course for students preparing for comprehensive examinations. It does not count toward the degree, and normally only assistants take it. You need to fill out a form to register for this course. Get it at (pdf)

Assistants are required to take History 7025 (Principles & Practices in History Education), a rigorous readings course exploring approaches to the teaching of history. Non-assistants are also encouraged to take this course.

History 7996 is the course number assigned for the 9 hours of thesis credit. You may take as many credits of this as you want, but only nine count toward the degree. You need to get the approval of a thesis advisor and fill out a form to register for this course. Get it at (pdf). Once you register for thesis credit you must take at least one credit every fall and spring semester until graduation.

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