Graduate Degree

History - Master of Arts

History - Master of Arts
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Master of Arts
College of Social Science

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Social Science

Department of History

Graduate Study
History - Master of Arts

The Master of Arts degree program in history is designed for students who desire a general course of advanced study in the field.
In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Admission to graduate study in the Department of History is primarily to the doctoral program. However, under certain circumstances, the department will consider applications for admission to the Master of Arts in History from students who wish to earn a master’s degree in preparation for a career in a supporting discipline or profession that does not require a Ph.D. Please consult with the Departmental Graduate Studies Director if you wish to apply for the Master of Arts in History.

To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts degree program in history, an applicant must:

  1. Have an official transcript forwarded from the applicant’s undergraduate institution(s) that verifies conferral of a baccalaureate degree.
  2. Have the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test forwarded to the department.
  3. Submit a writing sample to the department that the applicant considers to be a fair representation of the applicant’s ability to conduct scholarly research and produce academic writing.
  4. Submit a statement (500-1000 words) that clearly indicates the primary field of intended study and addresses the applicant’s goals in pursuing a Master of Arts degree in History.
  5. Have at least two individuals, preferably scholars with whom the applicant has had course work or other professional contact, submit letters of recommendation to the department.

An international applicant is required to have fulfilled the university's English language proficiency requirement as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog in one of the following three ways:

  1. Have a  total score of 580 (paper version) or 237 (computer version) or 100 (Internet version) or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language with no subscore below 55 (paper version) or 21 (computer version).
  2. Have an average score of 85 or higher on the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery with no subscore below 83.
  3. Have an average score of 85 or higher on the Michigan State University English Language Center Test with no subscore below 83.

Guidance Committee

Before completing 8 credits in history courses, the student, with the assistance of the Graduate Director, must constitute a guidance committee of at least two faculty members in the Department of History who represent different fields of history.  Until the student's guidance committee has been established, the student's program of study must be approved by the Graduate Director.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in History

The program is available under both Plan A (with thesis) and Plan B (without thesis).  A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under either Plan A or Plan B.  The student's program of study must be approved by the student's guidance committee.  The student must meet the requirements specified below:

Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B

  1. Complete HST 803 Seminar in Methodology of Historical Research (3 credits).
  2. Complete at least 15 credits in 800-900 level history courses including one 3 credit course in historiography relevant to the student’s program of study.
  3. Competency in a foreign language. Credits in courses in foreign language may not be counted toward the requirements for the Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy in History degree programs.

Additional Requirements for Plan A

  1. Complete 6 credits of HST 899 Master’s Thesis Research.
  2. Pass a final oral examination that covers the student’s program of study and thesis.
Additional Requirements for Plan B
  1. Pass a certifying examination, consisting of three parts, one testing the major area and two tests in each of the student’s minor areas.