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Master’s Degree – Graduation Requirements

The Master’s Degree

The Master of Arts in History emphasizes the development of the analytical, organizational, and research tools necessary to study the past. The curriculum accentuates comprehension of the subtleties inherent in academic historical discourse, stresses primary research, and provides the skills necessary to interpret the past for a public audience. The program offers a choice among three areas of concentration: American History, European and World History, and Public History. The curriculum is designed to serve students with a variety of goals, including those interested in teaching; those pursuing careers with business, labor, or community organizations; those seeking employment in historical agencies, museums, historical societies, or archives; those desiring the intellectual stimulation of a challenging discipline; and those interested in continuing advanced education. Some program scholarships are available.

Entrance Requirements

Students holding a bachelor’s degree in history or a related academic field are especially encouraged to apply for admission to the History Department’s master’s degree program.  Applicants for admission into the master’s degree program in history should have a baccalaureate degree with an undergraduate major in history.  However, applicants who majored in disciplines that are closely related to history (such as English, political science, sociology, archaeology, anthropology) and who meet the GPA and other requirements, may be fully admitted to the graduate program if they have sufficient course work in history.  Students lacking a firm background in history who otherwise meet program criteria stated above can be admitted on a conditional basis and may be required to take additional course work before they are fully admitted.

Applicants must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum 3.0 GPA in history. Applicants must submit a sample of their writing and include a statement of purpose (not to exceed 500 words) to be considered for full admission into the program.  Applicants who have earned a cumulative GPA and/or a GPA in their major of 2.50 to 2.99, and who submit all required materials for program review, may be considered for conditional admission.  In this case, applicants may be required to take additional course work, or to take specified graduate courses, depending on each applicant’s situation.

M.A. Requirements

Master’s degree candidates in history must complete 44 semesters hours. These hours must include:

The Masters’ Core

HIS 501 Graduate History Colloquium (satisfies 4 hours of the campus’s communications skills requirement) 4 Hrs.

HIS 503 Researching and Writing History 4 Hrs.

HIS 510 Graduate Readings Seminar 4 Hrs.

HIS 560 Position Essay and Historiography or

HIS 570 Public History Internship and Project or

HIS 580 Thesis

Total Core 20 Hrs.

Areas of Concentration

To fulfill the requirements for the Master’s degree, the student must complete the courses listed for one of the three areas of concentration following:

American History

The American concentration stresses research and study of topics pertinent to the origins and development of the United States, the land, its people, and its place in the world. American concentration requires:

History courses examining methods and applications: 4 Hrs.

Courses emphasizing periods, regions, or themes in American History: 16 Hrs.

Elective History Course (European, World, or Public History): 4 Hrs.

Total Hours in concentration: 24

Closure Requirement: HIS 580 Thesis: 8 hrs.

European and World History

The European and World concentration highlights the research and study of topics in non-U.S. History germane to the interests and specializations of the current faculty. European and World concentration requires:

History courses examining methods and applications: 4 Hrs.

Courses emphasizing periods, regions, or themes in European or World History: 16 Hrs.

Elective History Course (American or Public History): 4 Hrs.

Total Hours in concentration: 24

Closure Requirement: HIS 560 Position Essay and Historiography or HIS 580 Thesis: 8 hrs.

Note: The University of Illinois at Springfield does not offer foreign language instruction sufficient to qualify students in the European or World History concentration for admission to most Ph.D. programs.

Public History

The Public History concentration stresses the blending of academic and applied history with intent to broaden public awareness of the value of studying the past. The Public History concentration requires:

HIS 502 Public History Colloquium: 4 Hrs.

History courses examining methods and applications: 8-12 Hrs.

History courses emphasizing periods, regions, or themes (American, European and/or World History): 8-12 Hrs.

Total Hours in concentration: 24

Closure Requirement: HIS 570 Public History Internship and Project or HIS 580 Thesis 8 hrs.

Advising

During the first semester of study, each student is assigned an initial faculty adviser who assists in defining career goals, selecting courses, and developing an education plan.

Closure Requirements

To attain a Master’s degree, the student must complete a closure exercise appropriate to the chosen area of concentration. Candidates must successfully complete twelve hours of core requirements (HIS 501, HIS 503, and HIS 510) before enrolling in credit hours toward the closure requirement (HIS 560, HIS 570, or HIS 580).

The thesis (HIS 580) is a formal written presentation of historical research based on primary sources. The project (HIS 570) derives from an internship served with an historical agency or other entity. The position paper and historiography (HIS 560) is a thorough written examination and evaluation of the essential secondary sources devoted to a specifically defined topic.

The position paper and historiography is offered in the recognition that primary research facilities in European and World History topics pose difficulty of access. The student is encouraged to master the research and analysis undertaken by professional historians in these areas.

In each case, the student will defend the completed exercise before a committee comprised of at least three faculty members (two from the History Department, one from another Academic Program).

Grading Policy

Students must earn a grade of B or better in all courses counting toward the master’s degree. History graduate students may repeat program courses for grade improvement only once.

Graduate Credit in 400-Level Courses

Graduate students enrolled in 400-level courses are expected to perform at a higher level than undergraduates and to complete extra work as defined by the instructor.  Examples of such work include reading and reporting on material in accordance with that required of undergraduate students, completing an annotated bibliography in the professional literature of the field, or meeting separately with the instructor to research a specified topic.

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University of Illinois Springfield
One University Plaza
Springfield, Illinois 62703-5407
217-206-6600

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