Department of History

MA Program

Guidelines for 5th Year MA and Open Graduate Education History MA.

The terminal MA in History is suspended as of winter 2018-19.

The History MA program is offered for applicants in the Fifth-Year Master's and Open Graduate Education programs. It is designed to be intellectually rigorous yet also flexible enough to permit students to adapt it to a variety of professional contexts and goals. The intellectual rigor is achieved through MA-specific coursework and its combination with PhD seminars. The flexibility is achieved through a choice of one of two tracks.


Professional Track

Professional Track incorporates two “skills” courses (for example, in writing, language, computer science, design, or public history) that will help students meet individual professional goals.

Academic Track

Academic Track is designed to prepare students to continue work at the PhD level. It replaces one of the “skills” courses with a research credit in the spring for which the student will produce an article-length research paper. In choosing the other “skills” course, a student on this track might select a language course or another PhD seminar, as appropriate.


A standard MA curriculum is 8 credits. 5th year MA students may apply up to two undergraduate courses toward this curriculum. Open Graduate Education students may double count up to two courses from their other degree program. Please consult the DGS on course planning. Course distribution for the overall eight credits is as follows:

Number of Courses Level Number of Credits
1 2000 level course (Ph.D. Colloquium by petition only) 1
3 2000-level courses 3
2 1000- or 2000-level courses 2
2 1000-level skills courses outside History, chosen in consultation with the History DGS OR 1 research credit for MA paper + 1 1000-level skills course, chosen in consultation with the History DGS, typically either a language course or an additional PhD seminar 2

5th Year MA

The 5th year MA is designed to be completed in one year. Open Graduate Education MA degrees can be pursued more gradually. Each student will plan an individual curriculum in consultation with the DGS; for a yearlong program, eight credits are typically distributed as follows:

  • PhD Seminar (Ph.D. Colloquium by petition only)
  • PhD Field Seminar (2970 series)
  • Elective (1000- or 2000-level course)
  • Elective (skills course)


  • PhD Thematic Seminar (2980 series)
  • PhD Thematic Seminar (2980 series)
  • Elective (1000- or 2000-level course)
  • Elective (skills course or MA research paper)


Seminars should be taken with at least two different instructors. All courses must be completed with grades of B or better for the student to receive graduate credit. There is no foreign language requirement for the master's degree.