The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Master of Arts

This summary is intended to provide an overview of the requirements. Details may be found in the Graduate Program Handbook.

Each M.A. candidate selects a major area of concentration from those offered by the History Department. The M.A. areas offered include the following: United States, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, East Asia, and History of Science. Selection of the student's adviser is based on the choice of area of concentration. M.A. candidates may choose to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Public History (available to any master's candidate in any department on campus) or a concentration in Global History in addition to the regular course of study.  More complete information on graduate study in history may be found in the departmental statement, Graduate Programs in History, available from the Department of History office.

Course Work

A normal course load is three courses per semester, or two courses for students with an assistantship.

Students may write a Master's thesis for 8 credits as a substitute for two courses in the 600 - 800 series, one of which may be a seminar.

Each student must obtain 30 credits, at least 24 of which must be in the 600 - 800 series.

  • One course must be History 691P, Introduction to the Study of History, in the first semester of the first year.
  • One course must be a historiography course in the relevant area.
  • One or two courses must be 700-level research seminars, taken as regular courses or independent studies.

Fields and Final Evaluation

To complete their degree, M.A. candidates craft a portfolio of work and present it at a capstone departmental event in their final semester of study. The portfolio covers three broad fields of history, one of which must be outside a student's major (geographical) area. See the list of currently approved fields here.

Language Proficiency

All M.A. candidates must demonstrate a reading knowledge in one foreign language. U.S. history specialists may substitute proficiency in an alternative tool of research.