Master of Arts in History

The History Department prepares its graduate students to read, write, research and think critically and analytically about the past on an advanced level.  The program provides students with skills that are transferable to other disciplines and essential to success in graduate and law schools, and in careers in business, civil service, government, research and teaching. 

The M.A. program in History addresses a variety of student needs, offering intellectual challenging courses taught by a nationally-recognized faculty.  A mix of seminars and advanced lecture courses challenge students by addressing the most recent scholarship and trends in a wide variety of historical specialties. In both the Seminar and Thesis plans, we develop student’s abilities to pursue independent research and interpretation through exposure to the widest possible range of historical writing and a variety of theoretical, investigative and pedagogical approaches.  The program encourages students to explore history across a variety of chronological, regional and thematic frameworks, with particular opportunities to work in comparative history. 

The program offers current educators the opportunity to enhance their professional status and enrich their understanding of the past.  The diverse seminars and courses are well suited to enhance the professional opportunities of teachers, to hone their research skills or to serve as continuing education credits for teaching professionals.  Finally, the program welcomes students who simply seek to expand their knowledge and critical skills in specialized fields of historical study.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will have an advanced understanding of the origins of the field of History, and of the various methodological approaches to the study of History.
  2. Students will be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the various interpretive schools of historical writing, with an emphasis on causal relations and multiple perspectives, and an advanced understanding of the role of bias in the construction of historical narratives.
  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding and mastery of advanced research skills, and of how historians gather, interpret, and analyze a wide range of primary and secondary source materials.
  4. Students will demonstrate a comparative understanding of world cultures and diverse peoples.
  5. In the thesis track, students will demonstrate an understanding of how to research and write a major research paper based on primary.

Admission Requirements

  • A completed application form accompanied by a fifty-dollar nonrefundable application fee.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate records.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in undergraduate course work.
  • A minimum of 24 credit hours of undergraduate courses in history (these courses should not include a Western civilization series or its equivalent).
  • An official report of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Three letters of recommendation, with two from history professors.
  • A plan of study approved by the advisor and appropriate dean.
  • An interview.

Course Requirements

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A candidate may choose between a thesis plan and a seminar plan. The thesis plan requires a minimum of 30 semester hours, including History 501, 521, 561, 562, and 571. Six semester hours must be in History 599, which culminates in a written thesis. With advisor's approval, three semester hours may be elected in a related discipline, such as languages, statistical methods, or computer science. After completion of the program, students must pass an oral examination on the thesis and the major field.

The seminar plan also requires a minimum of 30 semester hours, including History 501, 521, 561, 562, and 571. In addition, History 561 must be taken a second time. With advisor's approval, three semester hours may be elected in a related discipline, such as languages, statistical methods, or computer science. Students in the thesis plan or the seminar plan may take up to six semester hours of graduate courses at the University of Rhode Island from the university's 400- and 500-level Department of History course offerings with consent of advisor or department chair.

Master of Arts in Teaching in History

Students who already have an undergraduate degree with a major in history may become certified to teach history/social studies in secondary schools upon completion of the requirements for the M.A.T. The Academic Disciplines Component of the M.A.T. in history consists of the following courses: History 501, 521, 561, 562, and 571. See Secondary Education.

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Page last updated: March 30, 2015