M.A. Program

The M.A. degree in History is offered with concentrations in United States, early modern European, and modern European (including British/Irish/British Empire) history. We also offer course work in Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern history.

The Boston College M.A. is a “taught” degree, meaning that while students will take at least one research seminar, and have the opportunity to write a Master’s Thesis, the degree is largely based on course work. The M.A. is a terminal degree, but many students will use it as an opportunity to strengthen their application to Ph.D. programs. Others will find employment in education, public history, archives and the private sector.

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Course Requirements

MA students are required to take a total of 30 credits, or 10 courses. Among those courses, they will need to take one colloquium and one seminar, although those who are considering continuing their graduate education should consider taking more than this minimum. 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.

Plan of Study

All candidates for the M.A. in history are encouraged to pursue an individualized 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 choose a major and minor field. As many as seven courses (twenty-one hours) can be taken in the major field. Major fields for the M.A. are:

  • US history
  • Early Modern European history
  • Modern European history
  • British and Irish
  • Asian history
  • Latin American history
  • Middle Eastern history
  • International and Global history

The minor field is made up of a minimum of three courses (nine hours), at least one of which must be numbered 7000 or above. 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.

Language Requirement

M.A. candidates are required to pass one foreign language reading examination before graduation. The use of dictionaries is permitted. Students who fail an exam are welcome to retake the exam until they obtain a passing grade.

Comprehensive Exercises

Students must complete one of the following comprehensive exercises:

  1. An oral comprehensive exam administered by the student’s advisor and a faculty member from the minor area;
  2. 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.

MAT Program

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for secondary school history teachers is administered by the Lynch School of Education. 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.

How to Apply

The application deadline for the M.A. program is February 1. The submission of GRE General Test scores is optional. To start an application, please visit the Admission page of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.