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Requirements for the MA shall be finished in three semesters after the completion of 30 credit hours (9 per semester in each of the first 2 semesters, 12 in the third semester), a thesis designed as a research paper of article length (25–35 pages), and an oral defense of the thesis.

For more details about the MA Degree Requirements, click here to download the Graduate Student Handbook.


MA students must complete the following course of study: Hist 700 (Thinking Historically); Hist 900 (Crafting a Historical Project); Hist 901 (Researching and Writing a Master’s Thesis); and Hist 993 (Master’s Thesis research and writing credit). This coursework should be followed by the oral defense of the MA before the student’s MA committee.

In addition, MA students should take six elective courses, two of which should be reading colloquia or the equivalent in the student’s major field, and complete their certification of reading proficiency in one foreign language as determined by field.

At the end of the first year (second full semester in the MA program), each student’s adviser will submit to the DGS a written report assessing the student’s progress and promise for further graduate study. The decision to allow students to proceed into the PhD program will be made at the time of the MA paper defense.

Each field will determine how best to incorporate these MA requirements into its requirements and itinerary toward the PhD, considering language proficiency, research abroad, and field-specific funding opportunities.