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.

Degree Requirements

The degree consists of at least 30 semester hours. A minimum of 18 of these hours must be taken in the primary field and a minimum of six must be taken in the secondary field. The remaining six hours can be taken in either the primary or secondary fields or in any other approved course work. 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. Global History as a primary field must take 12 - 15 credit hours in approved courses, two of which need to be designated as Global History and two additional from two different geographical areas. In addition, students in Global History as a primary field are required to take an additional 9 hours of research and 6-9 hours completing coursework in a secondary field. Global History as a secondary field requires 9 credit hours rather than the 6-credit minimum typical for most other secondary fields. Consult the graduate catalog for a full listing of requirements.  

Global History

Our “Master’s Field in Global History” lets you study the history of major world regions from a comparative or interactive perspective. This field recognizes that interactions between societies, economies and polities through exploration, conquest, colonialism, imperialism, migration and trade have played an important role in shaping the historical experiences of every major world region. This approach looks beyond national or regional boundaries to examine historical experiences in a global perspective. Our global courses are designed to contain content from two or more major world regions, at least one of which is outside of Europe and post-Columbian North America. Students may opt to take global history as either a primary or secondary field. 

Master’s Research, Comprehensive Exam and Language Requirement

Nine semester hours of M.A. course work (included in the 18 hours for the primary field) are devoted to completing “the master’s essay,” a major original research project employing primary sources. This research requirement may also be fulfilled by a conventional thesis option. Other requirements for the master’s degree are successful completion of two field essays in the primary field and, in the case of students studying areas where English is not the predominant language or who wish to go on to the Ph.D., demonstration of at least "average" proficiency in a foreign language. Where appropriate, quantitative skills can be substituted for the language requirement.

For a comprehensive introduction to graduate work at Northern, consult the Graduate Student Handbook.