College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Degree Requirements

(applicable to students enrolled prior to Fall 2010)

Master of Arts in History (Thesis Option)

Checklist: M.A. in History

Foreign Language: Knowledge of a foreign language is not required for admission to the master's program, although all applicants are asked to give evidence of experience in at least one (1) foreign language. A student's major professor may require a departmentally administered written translation examination in one (1) or more languages for completion of the M.A. degree. The stipulated language requirement must be fulfilled prior to registration for the Master's Thesis, Research, and/or Examination (History 700), or by the beginning of the student's third semester in the program. If a student has English as a second language and if it is appropriate to his or her program, the student may count the native language as the foreign language. Students are encouraged to satisfy this requirement as soon as possible.

Program Requirements: The program consists of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree; 6 of the 30 credit hours must be Master's Research, Thesis, and/or Examination (History 700). At least 21 hours must be in courses and seminar work at the 400 and 500 level taken for traditional letter grades (A–F). Of these 21 hours of course work, up to 6 credits of non-graduate credit (300 or 400 level) may be used. Six (6) of these credit hours may be taken outside the history department from courses listed in the Graduate School Bulletin. At least 15 hours must be taken in the history department; these must include Historiography (History 580), one (1) research seminar in the student's primary field, one (1) field course in the primary field and one (1) field course in the secondary field. Course work outside of these core requirements at the 400 or 500 level should be taken in the student's 2 fields of study. All M.A. students are expected to take at least 3 graduate-level, 3-credit, letter-graded courses in their primary field, and at least 2 of the same in a second field. If required courses are not available during the student's tenure in the program, appropriate substitutes my be taken (History 597, independent readings, etc.) with the approval of the major professor and the director of graduate studies.

Fields of Study (only the starred fields can be chosen as primary fields):

  • *United States
  • *Public (a coordinate primary field usually taken with U.S. History; see Public History Track)
  • *Early Europe: Ancient Greece to 1450
  • *Early Modern Europe: 1450 to 1815
  • *Modern Europe: 1815 to the present
  • *Latin America: Colonial period to the present (currently unavailable as a primary field)
  • *World (see World History Track)
  • Middle East and Islamic World
  • *Modern East Asia: 1800 to present
  • Women's History
  • Environmental History

The Master's Thesis: Students taking the thesis option in the M.A. program must complete a master's thesis for the purpose of demonstrating advanced research skills in preparation for the pursuit of the doctoral degree. M.A. students in the thesis track are expected to have identified a thesis topic, organized a thesis committee (with the major professor as chair), filed a program with the Graduate School by March 1 of the second semester of enrollment, and hold a T-1 meeting by the end of the second semester of enrollment. At the T-1 meeting, the student will present the committee with a thesis proposal for the committee's approval. If necessary, meetings with the thesis committee will continue until such approval is achieved. The major professor will place a memo in the student's file when agreement has been reached and will provide a copy to the student and other members of the committee.

Oral Examination: When the master's thesis has been accepted by the thesis committee, the student will present him- or herself for an oral examination. The oral examination must be scheduled in advance by the student in consultation with the major professor and should ordinarily be attended by members of the student's thesis committee. It will be conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School and will center primarily on the thesis and only secondarily on course work. The student is required to provide the history department with a hardbound copy of his/her thesis once the degree is completed. Any departmental expenses incurred in submitting the completed thesis (office printing, xeroxing, and thesis binding) will be charged to the student's account.

Master of Arts in History (Non-Thesis Option)

A non-thesis M.A. degree is normally understood to be a terminal degree.

Foreign Language: Knowledge of a foreign language is not required for admission to the master's program, although all applicants are asked to give evidence of experience in at least one (1) foreign language. A student's major professor may require a departmentally administered written translation examination in one (1) or more languages for completion of the M.A. degree. The stipulated language requirement must be fulfilled prior to registration for the Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (History 702). If a student has English as a second language and if it is appropriate to his or her program, the student may count the native language as the foreign language. Students are encouraged to satisfy this requirement as soon as possible.

Program Requirements: The program consists of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree; at least 26 credit hours must be in course and seminar work at the 400 and 500 level, taken for traditional letter grades (A–F). Of these 26 hours of course work, up to 9 credits of non-graduate (300- or 400-level) courses may be used. Six (6) of these credit hours may be taken outside the history department from courses listed in the Graduate School Bulletin. At least 21 credit hours must be taken in the history department and must include Historiography (History 580), at least 2 field courses from 2 different fields of study and at least 2 seminars in which research papers are prepared. Four (4) credit hours of Master's Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (History 702) must be taken and should be devoted to the preparation of scholarly work approved and directed by the student's major professor and by an advisory committee made up of professors from the student's 2 fields of study. The major professor will preside as chair. If required courses are not available during the student's tenure in the program, appropriate substitutes may be taken (History 597, independent readings, etc.) with the approval of the major professor and the director of graduate studies.

Oral Examination: A final oral examination will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School. The examination will concern the areas and periods covered in the seminars and field courses taken in the master's program. The student must submit to each member of the advisory committee, at least 2 weeks prior to the date of the examination, a copy of the work prepared in History 702, as well as polished copies of the research papers prepared in the 2 seminars. (If more than 2 seminars were taken, the student and the major professor shall stipulate which 2 papers shall be submitted.) After gaining the approval of the advisory committee for each of the seminar papers, the student must pass the final oral examination. The papers must be deposited in the student's departmental file for permanent retention.

Academic Standards: The academic standards set forth in the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School will be strictly observed. M.A. students who fall below a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in any 2 semesters will be permanently barred from further enrollment. The director of graduate studies will send a letter informing the dean of the Graduate School that the student will be barred from further enrollment in graduate study in history and stating the reasons for the decision. A copy will be sent to the student. Only grades of B or better will be accepted for program credit.

Department of History, PO Box 644030, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4030
301 Wilson-Short Hall, Pullman Campus • 509-335-5139 • Fax 509-335-4171 • Contact Us