All M.A. students must complete 27 credit hours, including three required courses (700, 900, and 901, attain basic competence in one foreign language, write an article-length M.A. thesis, and defend it in an oral examination. Students must meet all MA degree requirements by the end of the third semester in residence. In cases that require additional language training or other special circumstances, students and their advisers can petition the DGS for a one-semester extension to complete their MA by the end of the fourth semester. On successfully completing all MA requirements, a committee of three faculty members will recommend that the student become a Ph.D. student.

This course introduces students to the intellectual currents and schools of thought that have characterized the historical profession over time. Emphasis is placed on understanding the major historiographical dilemmas that have (re)shaped the historian’s craft. By examining such diverse conceptual frameworks, students will prepare themselves to tackle more confidently the research projects they will design and execute in History 900 and 901. Assignments will consist of discrete projects focused on developing the specific research, analytical, and writing skills needed for professional historical work in the students’ fields of interest (e.g. compiling annotated bibliographies; identifying relevant databases; crafting book reviews).
HIST 900 is intended to help students develop a plan of research and writing, select bibliography, develop an understanding of the secondary literature available for their topic, identify primary sources, and articulate a problem or facet of the topic to which they can contribute original research in their MA thesis. The course will be flexible in order to encourage students who want to work with primary documents they have already located to initiate this phase of their research or to craft a focused historiographical essay based primarily on the secondary literature they have identified and read for their topic.
HIST 901 is the capstone to the three-course sequence, exposing students to primary research and to organizing and writing a lengthy research paper. The course also enables students to earn a master’s degree at the end of three semesters of full-time coursework. Drawing upon their work in History 900, students will conduct primary research and write a publishable-quality essay of approximately 10,000 words in length. This paper will follow proper citation methods and will include a full bibliography which will not be tabulated in the word count.
Students complete HIST 993 (3 hrs.) under the supervision of the student’s adviser. This is required for completing the MA degree.
Graduate students must complete five courses in addition to the four core courses (HIST 700, 900, 901, and 993).
Certification of reading proficiency in at least one foreign language.
The M.A. thesis should demonstrate that the student can handle the primary source material of the field, has a working knowledge of the secondary literature, and can present the results of research in a coherent, well-written essay. Each student will work closely with a faculty member advisor while writing the thesis.
Each student will assemble a committee of three faculty members, one of whom will be the student’s adviser. The committee will meet in person with the student to discuss the completed MA thesis before the end of the third semester. (One member of the committee may arrange to attend remotely if necessary.) Students may, in consultation with their advisers and the DGS, submit the MA thesis at the close of the fall semester and schedule the defense for early in the following spring semester. The committee is responsible for determining whether the thesis and the oral examination are of passing quality. After passing the oral exam, students must submit the final version of their thesis to the Graduate School according to the Graduate School’s formatting specifications and deadlines.

Note: Unsurprisingly, there is necessary paperwork to complete. Well in advance of the exam, the student should consult with the thesis director on the nature of the examination and secure from the Graduate Coordinator the formal application (available on the Graduate Intranet) to take the exam. The application should be completed via the Graduate Student Intranet at least three weeks prior to the exam. The student should also schedule a room with the Graduate Coordinator once the time and date of defense have been established. The student is responsible for completing the Application for Graduation by the required deadline. You must apply to graduate via Connect Carolina. The deadline for applying to graduate can be found on the Graduate School’s webpage.

The decision to allow students to proceed into the PhD program will be made at the time of the MA thesis defense. Students who successfully defend their theses and have completed all requirements for the MA will receive their diplomas the following May. For students who elect or are recommended not to continue in the program, the MA defense and submission of the thesis will conclude their course of study at UNC and departmental financial support.
At the end of a student’s first year in the graduate program at UNC-CH (whether or not entering with the MA), the student’s adviser will prepare a one page report on progress made. This report should incorporate evaluation of work in courses during both semesters, discussions of performance at the spring field meeting and, when relevant, evaluations of performance as a Teaching Assistant or Apprentice Teacher. The purpose of the report is to give students an overall sense of their performance—their strengths, their prospects, and, in particular, the specific areas in which they should concentrate on improving in the future. These reports should be approved by the field convener, and copies will be provided to the student and the DGS.