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Thinking about an M.A. in History?

Why should I consider an M.A. in History?

  • Maybe you’re thinking about a Ph.D., but aren’t yet sure if it’s the right option for you—or, you are sure but want to improve your chances of getting into your dream program.
  • You want a career teaching in Middle or High School, but are turned off by the idea of an M.A. in Education—besides, you like History and want your students to like it too!
  • Teaching’s not for you: I’m interested in “public history,” or the presentation and interpretation of history outside the classroom in museums, cultural heritage sites, state parks, etc., including government service, library and archival work, preservation and museum management, or maybe journalism or a career in media or documentary film.
  • You’re thinking about a career in law, or politics, or planning, or social services.

You can also request further information regarding the M.A. program on-line.

contemplativeOur M.A. program may be just the right move for you!

O.K., it may be a good idea—but what am I committing myself to?

  • Not as much as you might think! You’ll need 30 credits to get your degree: 10 courses (some required), most of them seminars, some can be independent study courses.
  • You’ll need to complete an M.A. project—think of it as a long research paper. Usually, you’ll start the project in a research seminar, and complete it by later taking an independent study course simply called “M.A. Project.”
  • The “public history” concentration requires more courses (13, five of them in Arts Management), including one hands-on “field research” internship and a practical M.A. project.

I don’t want to be in school forever: how long will it take me to get my degree?

  • We recommend that students take 9 credits of graduate history (3 courses) per semester. Students in the “public history” track take 12 credits (four courses) most semesters, 2 in history and 2 in Arts Management.
  • If you’re really ambitious, it is possible to take 12 credits of graduate history (4 courses) per semester, in which case you can finish the program in a year plus a summer and/or another semester.

I need to work: can I do the degree part-time?

  • Yes! You can take up to four years to complete the M.A.
  • All graduate History courses meet once per week at 4pm or 7pm to accommodate school teachers and others with day jobs.

I’m not an “A” student in History: do I have a chance of getting in?

  • Yes—if you have a GPA of 3.0, or higher, or a GPA in History over 3.0, you should be competitive!

Great! But is it too late to apply?

  • For Fall semester admission, the target date to complete your application is April 1st—but we accept applications through the Spring and even into the summer until our class is filled.
  • (The target date for Spring semester admissions is October 1st, and rolling admissions continue through November.)

How do I apply? What do you need from me?

Actually, it’s pretty simple—and we can help! Here’s what we need from you:

  1. Application with a $75 nonrefundable fee.  Please note: if you are interested in the PUBLIC HISTORY CONCENTRATION please indicate your intention by answering YES to the question under ENROLLMENT INFORMATION.
  2. Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  3. Two letters of recommendation
  4. Sample of written work
  5. Personal statement of purpose
  6. For international students, the financial statement and a TOEFL score (for those whose native language is not English)

Whom should I ask to write a recommendation for me?

  • We strongly recommend that you ask two history professors from whom you have taken at least one course each to write a recommendation for you.
  • Letters from non-history professors may be fine in many cases; please ask our Director of Graduate Studies!

What is the writing sample? What should I submit?

  • Ideally, it should be a paper of ten or more pages that you’ve written for an upper-level history course.
  • Try to submit a sample of your writing that represents your best work, and that reflects your ability to write coherent, attractive English and to present an effective argument.

What is the “Statement of Purpose”?

  • Just tell us about yourself! Why are you interested in history, and what aspects of history most interest you? Why do you want to earn an M.A. degree in History? How will such a degree help you achieve your short-term and long-term life goals? This is your opportunity to show us your best side!

Is any funding available for the M.A. program?

  • A. students are eligible for regular student financial aid (see
  • The Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship Program supports a small number of students “who can demonstrate that they would contribute to the diversity of the student body, especially those who can demonstrate that they have overcome a disadvantage or other impediment to success in higher education” (see Please note that this Fellowship requires THREE (3) letters of recommendation, as well as a second personal statement. Applications are also usually due before the M.A. program “target date.”

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about the M.A. Program at all! We’re here to help you.