History (MA)

Master of Arts in History (HISTMA)
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: History
Program Webpage: louisville.edu/history/graduate-studies

Program Information

The Master of Arts program in History provides advanced training in historical theory, investigation, and writing. Among other things, it prepares students for further graduate studies in history, employment in educational institutions or in public history, and careers in law and government.

The varied specialties of our faculty, combined with the structure of the program, allow our students to acquire a worldwide vision of history.  In addition to completing a set of core courses, all students are required to select a Major Field in Americas, World, or Public History. 


Accelerated BA/MA in History Program

Undergraduate History majors who are already thinking about pursuing an MA in history can speed up the process by applying some of their undergraduate credit hours toward a master's degree.  Students take three graduate level courses/nine hours (either 500-level with the additional graduate level assignments, or 600-level) while still an undergraduate, and then have those credits apply both toward the undergraduate degree and towards an eventual master's degree from UofL.  

Interested students should:

  1. Complete an application for admission to the History Department's Master of Arts program (including GRE scores, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose) no later than the end of their junior year.
  2. Have a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.35, a history GPA of 3.35, and meet all other requirements for admission to the History Department's Master of Arts program (including at least 21 hours of history courses).

Students must retain a 3.35 GPA in history during their senior year to remain in the program.  Once admitted to the accelerated BA/MA program and starting the graduate work, students are expected to maintain a full graduate load of 9 credit hours.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the MA program in History should have: 

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale (a GPA based on a 3.0 scale will be converted to a 4.0 scale)
  • 21 undergraduate credit hours in history, with a minimum GPA of 3.0. 
  • Successful students have a combined score of at least 300 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). 

Students with an undergraduate GPA of between 2.5 and 2.99 may be accepted conditionally into the program at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, provided they meet all other requirements for admission. Conditional admission requires that the student maintain a GPA of 3.0 in the first 9 credit hours of graduate coursework. 

Students with a combined GRE (verbal and quantitative) score of less than 300 may be accepted conditionally into the program at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, provided they meet all other requirements for admission. Conditional admission requires that the student retake the GRE and receive the required minimum scores (listed above) before or during the first semester of graduate coursework. 

Students with fewer than 21 undergraduate credit hours in history will be required to take additional history courses to bring their total undergraduate hours up to the required number. 

Non-Degree Students
At the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, non-degree students may be admitted to pursue graduate coursework. 

Admission Materials

Applicants must submit the following materials to the University of Louisville School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions:

  • A completed graduate application; application fee (available online at louisville.edu/graduate/apply)
  • Official transcripts, verifying the receipt of a BA from an accredited institution
  • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination
  • At least two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential
  • A writing sample of no more than 15 double-spaced pages
  • A statement of purpose, not to exceed 500 words, outlining in reasonably specific terms, the applicant's academic and career objectives and how they can be advanced through graduate work in our program. The statement should also indicate the applicant's intended area(s) of interest, preparation for this field of study, and, if possible, the departmental faculty with whom the applicant wishes to study.

Deadlines:

Applications for Fall semester: February 15 *

Applications for Spring semester: December 1

* February 15 is the deadline for all students who want to be considered for available fellowships, assistantships, and internships. Students who do not intend to apply for these funding sources may submit their applications until May 15. For a list of the graduate assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and internships, see louisville.edu/history/graduate-studies/funding Applications for these awards are normally due on February 15.

Program Requirements

All graduate students are required to take the Core Courses (15 credit hours in total) along with approved Major Field courses.

Core Courses15
Research Methods and Materials
Practicum in Public History
Seminar in American History
Oral History
Introduction to Public History
Thesis
Major Field Courses15-18
Thesis option students take 15 hours; non-thesis/exam option students take 18 (see below).
Minimum Total Hours30-33

All History MA students choose one of the following three Major Fields and take 15 credit hours (if they are working toward the thesis option) or 18 credit hours (if they are working toward the exam option):

  • Americas: Five (thesis option) or six (exam option) content courses with at least one course on Latin American/Borderlands history. 
  • World: Five (thesis option) or six (exam option) content courses on the history of regions, peoples, and cultures primarily outside of the Western hemisphere. 
  • Public History: Two public history methods courses, two (thesis option) or three (exam option) content courses, and one additional HIST 608 Practicum in Public History course. 

MA students in the History Department normally take 9 credit hours of coursework per semester (three courses). With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, a student may take up to 12 credit hours (four courses) in a semester. Students may take up to 6 credit hours HIST 601 Directed Study and up to 6 credit hours of 500- or 600-level courses outside of the History Department. No pass-fail courses may be applied to an MA in History.

If a student's cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, he or she is subject to academic probation and may be dismissed from the MA program. A non-degree student who fails to maintain an average of 2.0 will not be allowed to continue taking graduate courses.

For MA-level work in certain areas, knowledge of foreign languages or knowledge of other specialized research tools may be required.

Students will be allowed to transfer up to 6 credit hours of appropriate coursework from outside the University of Louisville. Up to 9 credit hours of non-degree graduate coursework in History may be transferred into the MA program.

Students may choose to complete the MA by thesis or by exam. 

Thesis Option

Completion of 30 credit hours of coursework, 15 credit hours in the required Core Courses and 15 credit hours in the student's chosen Major Field. The thesis must be in the Major Field. Following an oral defense, it must be approved by a thesis committee consisting of the thesis director and at least two other faculty members, one of whom must come from another department. The committee requires prior approval by the Department Chair and the Academic Unit. 

Examination Option

Completion of 33 credit hours of coursework, 15 credit hours in the required Core Courses and 18 credit hours in the student's chosen Major Field. The exam consists of two written examinations, one covering the competencies addressed in the Core Courses and one in the Major Field, and an oral examination. A committee will evaluate the written and oral examinations on their content and the relevant areas of history. The committee will consist of three faculty members, normally the two faculty members who administer the examinations and a third faculty member who may be in the Department of HistoryThe committee requires approval by the Department Chair and the Academic Unit.

Accelerated BA/MA

This program allows a history major to use a maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate coursework towards both a BA and an MA. After completing the undergraduate program and receiving a BA, the student will enter the graduate program and complete the remaining requirements for the MA.

To be considered for admission to the accelerated program, students must:

  • Have a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 3.35 in history
  • Complete an application for admission to the graduate program (including GRE scores and at least two recommendations) no later than the end of the junior year (see details on Admission tab)

In addition, students must retain a GPA of 3.35 in history (have a B+ in graduate history courses) during their senior year to remain in the program.

In general, students will work with Associate or Full Professors as their academic advisors. To work with an Assistant Professor, students will have to receive approval from the faculty member and the Director of Graduate Studies.