M.A. Degree in History


Welcome to the M.A. program in History! The M.A. program is designed for students interested in extending their undergraduate knowledge of historical issues, who wish to prepare for jobs in historically related fields, or who are interested in teaching at the secondary or community college levels. Our masters students use their training in a variety of professions and endeavors.


The M.A. degree consists of 30 credit hours. A minimum of 18 of these credit hours must be taken in a primary field and a minimum of six must be taken in a secondary field. The remaining six credit hours can be taken in either the primary or secondary fields or in any other approved coursework. The fields offered are ancient, medieval, early modern European, modern European (including British), Russian, Asian, United States, Latin American and global history. Students may also pursue an appropriate secondary field outside of the department upon the approval of the director of graduate studies. Global History degree requirements are slightly different and are explained in the graduate catalog. All students also take at least three 600-level reading seminars and two 700-level research seminars.

Master’s Essay, Comprehensive Examination, and Language Requirement

Students complete a “master’s essay” while taking History 756 (directed research) at the end of the program. The “master’s essay” is a major original research project employing primary sources that builds upon the work that the student begins in their 700-level research seminars. Other requirements for the master’s degree are the successful completion of two field essays as the M.A. Comprehensive Examination, and demonstration of at least "average" proficiency in a foreign language for students studying areas where English is not the predominant language or who wish to go on to the Ph.D. When appropriate, quantitative skills can be substituted for the language requirement.

For a comprehensive introduction to graduate work at NIU, consult the Graduate Student Handbook and graduate catalog.

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Department of History
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