Graduate Program: Master of Arts in History
The MA degree in History is offered with concentrations in American history, Medieval history, Early Modern European history, Modern European history (encompassing English, Irish, Continental European, Eastern European, and Russian), and Latin-American history. The department also offers coursework in African history, Middle Eastern history, and Asian history. In addition, the department sponsors interdisciplinary work leading to a Master's degree in Medieval Studies.
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for secondary school history teachers is administered by the Lynch School of Education. It requires admission to both the Graduate School of Education and to the Department of History. Course requirements vary depending upon the candidates's prior teaching experience; however, all Master's programs leading to certification in secondary education include practica experiences in addition to coursework. For further information on the MAT, please refer to the LSOE section on Master's Programs in Secondary Teaching, or call the Lynch School of Education, Graduate Admissions Office, at 617-552-4214.
The MA degree in history requires 30 graduate credits, a distribution requirement for each particular program, and an oral comprehensive examination.
Students are not allowed to complete the MA program by attending only summer sessions, but are required to take a total of at least four courses (12 credits) during the regular academic year.
All candidates for the MA in history are encouraged to pursue an individual course of study developed in conjunction with their faculty advisor and selected by the student during the first year in the program. In making their selection of courses and seminars, students are urged to widen their chronological and cultural horizons while deepening and specifying one special area of concentration.
Students must chose a major and minor field. As many as seven courses (twenty-one hours) can be taken in the major field. Major fields for the MA are:
- American history
- Medieval history
- Early Modern European history
- Modern European history (encompassing English, Irish, Continental European, Eastern European, and Russian)
- Latin-American history
The minor field is made up of a minimum of three courses (nine hours), at least one of which must be a graduate level course. Minor fields can be chosen from the same list of major fields or can be more conceptual or historiographical. Such fields, for example, could include a field in economic, social, or labor history; or could concern race, gender, or world history. Minor fields must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Students whose prior academic preparation warrants an exception to the above requirements may, with the consent of their faculty advisor, request permission to substitute a different proportion or variety of courses and areas than those generally required. The opportunity for study in a major or minor area is open to the extent that the department offers sufficient courses in the student's area of interest.
Students may study in departments outside history, and, with the permission of the Graduate Committee, a candidate whose advisor so recommends may earn as many as six credits in Classics, Economics, English, Political Science, Sociology, or other related disciplines. Graduate credits earned in a related discipline will be included in the distribution requirements for the appropriate area.
In addition to the general requirements for the MA degree, students in the History program are required to complete a seminar in their major area.
Master's candidates must pass a foreign language reading examination, ordinarily in French, German, Russian, or Spanish. Another foreign language, when relevant to the research of the student, may be substituted with permission of the Graduate Committee.
Students must complete one of the following culminating examinations:
- students can sit for an oral comprehensive exam administered by the student’s advisor and a faculty member from the minor area;
- students can prepare a portfolio, including reading lists and sample syllabi in both the major and the minor areas, and then sit for an oral examination on that portfolio with two faculty members;
- students may complete a six-credit thesis in their final year in the program, culminating in an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of two faculty members.
Students interested in an MA in Medieval Studies will be expected to take at least nine credits in Medieval history and at least six credits of graduate study in a related discipline. If the student is doing a thesis, it will be written under the direction of a member of the History Department and will be read by a member of the department in the related field of study. The candidate must pass a language exam in Latin.