Master of Arts in History
Our terminal Master of Arts degree provides students with rigorous training in the skills of historical thinking, archival research, and the different modes of expression scholars use to communicate their findings to a wide audience. Completely integrated with our Ph.D. program, the M.A. in History at KU offers students the opportunity to develop subject expertise in fields of study, learn the conventions of professional scholarship in History, collaborate with other students, and receive one-on-one career advice and intellectual mentorship from our faculty.
Our M.A. program allows for full-time or part-time study, and has defined tracks in U.S. History and World History. Students also have the opportunity to take coursework outside the department in fields such as African and African-American Studies, Environmental Studies, Museum Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.
Students in our terminal M.A. program are self-funded, and are encouraged to inquire regarding current information for in-state/out-of-state/international tuition costs and university fees.
Admission to Graduate Studies
An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.
In History at KU, we privilege high-quality graduate advising and mentorship at every stage of a student’s interaction with our department. As such, our application processes for the M.A. and M.A./Ph.D. are geared towards ensuring the best possible fit between faculty and graduate students. Graduate applicants who seek to study at the University of Kansas are required to correspond with at least one prospective faculty advisor well in advance of the application deadline. On the most basic level, these preliminary contacts with faculty give applicants a sense of whether or not the prospective advisor is currently taking new students. More than this, these conversations offer candidates for admission a better sense of how they might fit into the program at KU. Our admissions process is designed to educate prospective students about what studying at KU would really be like and about the resources the Department and University possess in their areas of interest, as well as offering an opportunity to get to know some of the people they’d be working with during their time here. Moreover, the early establishment of a relationship between prospective faculty and applicant permits students to refine their applications to better articulate the candidate’s fit with our program. The prospective faculty advisor will be able to more effectively advocate for the applicant’s candidacy based upon this correspondence.
Once candidates for admission have established correspondence with at least one prospective advisor, they must complete the online application through the KU Office of Graduate Admissions. International or domestic applicants who are non-native speakers of English should carefully review Graduate Studies’ English Proficiency Requirements.
The application deadline is December 15th for all applicants. Please schedule the TOEFL exam with this deadline in mind—scores must be received by the application deadline.
- Statement of Academic Objectives, including a clear plan for graduate research in a specific field of study. This statement should be largely academic rather than biographical and should achieve the following objectives:
- Suggest a potential direction for your research at KU as concretely as possible;
- Outline how you see an M.A. in History fitting into your broad career goals; and
- Identify specific chronological, geographical, and thematic areas of interest
- Curriculum Vitae
- Writing Sample (maximum twenty-five pages, double-spaced)
- The Department is interested in reviewing the best-crafted, most persuasively argued writing sample that applicants are able to provide. Such papers are often derived from an upper-level undergraduate history class in which the student conducted independent research and employed both primary and secondary sources.
- GRE Scores are no longer required
- Official Transcript from each institution that has granted you a degree, or at which you are currently enrolled
- Three letters of recommendation – The letters can be directly uploaded online by those who write the recommendations, or they can be mailed to the University of Kansas, Department of History, ATTN: Graduate Academic Advisor, Wescoe 3650, 1445 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045. A recommendation form for hard copy letters can be downloaded here.
Please note that documents, including a writing sample and transcripts, should be uploaded to the application. Applicants should not send hard copies of application materials to the Department of History. When you submit your online application, it is made available to the Department of History for review, yet it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the Office of Graduate Studies has received all materials by the deadline. The Department of History Graduate Office cannot process your application and move it forward for consideration by the Graduate Committee until all materials have been received. The Department of History reviews applications for completeness, and the Graduate Program Coordinator will contact you if your application is not complete.
M.A. Degree Requirements
The master’s program in history requires satisfactory completion of 30 credit hours of graduate courses including at least 6 hours in history research seminars and the passing of a comprehensive oral examination. Students must complete a minimum of eighteen credit hours in courses numbered 700 or higher.
Soon after admission, students should select a faculty member as their advisor. The advisor directs the student’s work and advises the student on appropriate coursework for their interests.
- A minimum of 30 hours of credit at the graduate level including the following:
- At least 24 hours of the minimum credits must be taken as HIST courses.
- At least 9 hours of work in courses at the 800 level or higher (excepting HIST 800).
- At least 18 hours of the minimum credits must be taken at the 700 level or above.
All master’s candidates must produce 2 professional-quality, article-length papers (7500-10000 words) in the 2 required HIST 802 seminars.
Research Language Requirement
Terminal M.A. Students: Upon admission to the program students should consult with their advisor to determine if their research interests require knowledge of a research language. Students should discuss research language expectations with potential advisors during the application process. If a non-English research language is required, the faculty advisor should designate the primary research language. Students must demonstrate proficiency in the primary research language by the end of their first year in the program. (See the Graduate Handbook for certification requirements)
If English is sufficient as the primary research language, there is no additional research language requirement for M.A. students.
For M.A./Ph.D. Students: Students must complete the Ph.D. Research Language Requirement.(See the Graduate Handbook for certification requirements)
Terminal M.A.: Students will sit for a ninety-minute oral examination that covers the student’s research fields and the papers prepared in the two research seminars.
M.A./Ph.D.: Students will submit final drafts of the two required research seminar papers to their committee for a written evaluation of their work.
See the Graduate Handbook for additional details of the M.A. Examination process.