Graduate Info Sheet

M.A. in History

Fields of Study

  • National, Continental, or Regional studies
  • Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, or Modern periods
  • Comparative History (see graduate faculty area of specialization)
  • Archives and Records Management

Graduate Teaching Assistantship (TA) Deadlines

Date for receipt of graduate teaching assistantship applications is April 1, for all program specializations. Contact the Graduate School for application forms.

M.A. History, Thesis and Non-Thesis

For further information, contact departmental office, Bond Hall 364, (360) 650-3429.


Admission to graduate status and to graduate courses requires completion of an undergraduate major in history or the permission of the department. Applicants must also complete the General section of the Graduate Record Examination prior to admission to the program.

Program Options

The department offers two programs Option I (thesis) and Option II (non-thesis):

Option I (Thesis): Basic Requirements

  • Hist 505 (4)
  • Hist 690a,b,c [thesis] (12)
  • A written thesis prospectus is a prerequisite for 690b registration
  • Three courses in a primary field and two in a secondary field
  • Elective courses (13)
  • 45 total credits

Option II (Non-Thesis): Basic Requirements

  • Hist 505 (4)
  • Four reading seminars* (16)
  • Three courses in one field and three courses in another with no more than one 400 level course in each area (maximum 10 credits at the 400 level)
  • Submission of three revised graduate seminar papers to a committee of three department faculty no later than week seven of the final term of study. Proposed revisions to be arranged with that committee no later than week seven in the term prior to the final term of study.
  • 48 total credits

*Reading and writing Seminars: Reading seminars revolve around reading and discussion of special topics; shorter written exercises such as exploratory or bibliographical essays may be assigned, but not major papers. Writing seminars are extensions of reading seminars in which students write major research papers based on previous preparation in a reading seminar.

Fields of Study

Fields of study fall into four broad areas: (1) National, continental, or regional studies;

(2) Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, or Modern periods; (3) Comparative History; and (4) Archives and Record Management. Students who choose Option I are required to complete at least three courses in a primary field and two courses in a secondary field, those fields to be determined in consultation with the graduate advisor and thesis committee chair. Students who chose Option II are required to complete at least three courses in one field and three in another with no more than one 400 level course in each as determined in consultation with the graduate advisor.


To complete a program in either Option I or II, electives may be chosen, in consultation with the graduate adviser from other seminars, readings courses, 400-level undergraduate courses (maximum of 10 credits) or Hist 500 (in rare cases, only with permission of the graduate adviser).

Language Requirement

The foreign language requirement may be met in one of two ways: by taking an examination approved or administered by the department; or by earning a B grade or higher in the last course of a second-year language program. Courses graded on a pass/no pass basis would not qualify for satisfying the language requirement. Tests and course work taken before entry into the graduate program may be counted if taken within five years of acceptance into the graduate program, or, where appropriate and with departmental permission, a demonstrated competence in mathematics, statistics, or appropriate computer programs/processes, as determined by adviser.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available in limited number in nearly all graduate programs. Graduate assistants must meet or exceed all criteria for maintaining graduate status and make satisfactory progress toward the degree. Graduate students are limited to no more than the equivalent of six full-time quarters of service as graduate teaching assistants.

These assistantships are competitive. Duties vary according to the department and program, the needs of the program faculty and the students' graduate plan of study. A full-time assistantship does not allow for additional salary or employment from the University. Information about assistantships can be obtained from the Graduate School. To apply, submit the graduate assistantship application to the Graduate School. Some programs have specific due dates; see individual program description.

TA's are required to be enrolled full time (see later section on Academic Load for details). Graduate students also are eligible for several types of financial aid; information can be obtained from the University's Office of Student Financial Resources.

If you have questions not answered here, contact the Graduate School office.

Page Updated 05.18.2012