MA in History

Online and In-Person

MA in History Online and In-Person

About Our Program   

Students applying for admission to the Master of Arts in History should have some background in history, though not necessarily a BA in the subject. 

Our program prepares students for a wide variety of professions, including teaching, government service, museum management, and historic preservation, as well as further degree work in history, law, librarianship and business. The department encourages applications from individuals of any age interested in resuming their education.

Plans of Study

The Master of Arts in History requires 36 credits of coursework.

Masters Plan of Study

The Masters of Arts in History offers three capstone options: Thesis, Curriculum, and Project + Elective. 

What is the Master’s thesis?
Bigger than a term paper, smaller than a book. Students pursuing the thesis plan must submit a Master’s thesis for six 6000 level credit hours. The Master’s thesis is a major, original scholarly project, based largely on primary source research. Students develop the thesis topic, design and carry out research, and write the Master’s thesis with the guidance of the major thesis advisor and two other thesis committee members. Students are responsible for putting their thesis committee together with the help of their major advisor. The form of a thesis manuscript must meet Graduate School requirements.

How do I choose a thesis advisor and committee?
The thesis advisor often, but not always, is your major field advisor. In any case, the thesis advisor should be a faculty member whose teaching and research specialties are related to the proposed thesis topic. It is helpful, but not as important, for the other thesis committee members to have some scholarly interest in the thesis topic.

What is the thesis defense?
The thesis defense is similar to the oral part of a comprehensive examination, but it focuses on the thesis itself. Usually lasting an hour or more, the defense is the student’s opportunity to present the thesis and engage in a scholarly discussion of its quality and merit.

What is the Advanced History Curriculum Development?
Teachers or students intending to become teachers who are enrolled in the History graduate program may choose to complete a curriculum development capstone project of three credits. Students arrange curriculum development projects with a sponsoring faculty member. Generally, students are expected to develop and submit a complete course curriculum plan for the three-credit project. Projects need to show evidence of familiarity with the relevant historiographies and primary sources.

Students wishing to complete a one-semester project may sign up for 3 project credits under the supervision of a faculty member and take one extra elective. “Projects” include experiential learning (i.e. internships), digital dissemination projects that do not require extensive primary source or historiographical research, or other project ideas as agreed to after consultation with a faculty member and the Graduate Advisor. 

Concentrations and Research Focuses

Select your major and minor fields from two of the following three groups. You may choose a major field in any of the following three groups.  Then, your minor field must concentrate on one of the other two groups.  Example: Major in Latin American History, with a minor in Cultural History.

  • East Asia
  • Latin America
  • Mexico
  • South America
  • Middle East
  • Europe
  • Germany
  • France
  • Britain
  • The Mediterranean
  • United States
  • Colonial
  • Early Republic
  • Nineteenth Century U.S.
  • The West
  • Twentieth Century US Foreign Policy
  • Colorado
  • Global (See also thematic fields)
  • Atlantic World
  • Pacific World
  • ​Colonialism and Imperialism 
  • Cultural History
  • Social History
  • Foreign Policy
  • Economic and Business History
  • Environmental History
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Citizenship and National Identity
  • War, Revolution, and Genocide
  • Globalization
  • Urban History
  • Frontiers and Borderlands
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Science, Medicine, and Society
  • Intellectual History
  • Material Culture
  • Migration and Immigration
  • Policing and Legal History
  • Indigenous Histories
  • Public History 
  • Memory and Community
  • Museum Studies
  • Historic Preservation
  • Fellowships, Internships & Publishing Opportunities 

    Learning Outcomes

    History students will

    • Identify people, events, and processes significant to their courses of study
    • examine similarities and differences across chronologies, geographies, and themes
    •  explain how past peoples understood their worlds and how those understandings shaped the ways they acted
    •  analyze the range of social, cultural, political, and economic possibilities available to people in particular contexts
    •  analyze why change occurs

    2.1 Inquiry and Analysis – History students will

    • develop a creative, focused, and manageable question for historical research
    • synthesize evidence representing a variety of perspectives
    • explain the challenges of constructing historical narratives using incomplete and contradictory evidence  
    • formulate a thesis and conclusion substantiated by primary and secondary source analysis
    • critique alternative conclusions

    2.2 Critical Thinking – History students will

    • identify and analyze the central issues, arguments, and points of view in primary and secondary sources
    • evaluate authors’ arguments and assess their evidence and conclusions
    • critique their own and others’ assumptions and the contexts in which they develop those assumptions
    • use the concept of historiography, in order to compare and contrast a variety of scholarly texts
    • analyze the ways the histories historians write are products of particular historical contexts

    2.3 Written Communication – History students will  

    • establish the context, audience, and purpose of their written assignments
    • master the conventions of historical writing, including: clear paper organization (thesis, evidence, conclusion); logical paragraph organization; clear, direct, and engaging language; proper citation methods, using Chicago style
    • compose papers employing narrative, descriptive, and analytical writing to convey their historical knowledge and analytical skills  

    2.4 Information literacy – History students will

    • determine the types of sources that are relevant to a research question
    • locate and evaluate appropriate materials for historical research, using book catalogs (Skyline, Prospector, WorldCat), article databases (particularly America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, and JSTOR), and interlibrary loan
    • demonstrate understanding of the ethical and legal issues surrounding the use of published and unpublished materials, including what constitutes plagiarism and how to cite sources

    3.1 Intercultural knowledge and competence – History students will  

    • evaluate how their cultural biases inform their understandings of history  
    • evaluate the ways that historians of different cultural perspectives produce different histories
    • interpret historical evidence with consideration to historical actors’ various cultural perspectives

    3.2 Ethical reasoning and action – History students will  

    • analyze the ethical issues embedded in historical events and processes
    • evaluate different ethical choices present in historical decision-making
    • evaluate the ethical assumptions of the texts they read

    History students will

    • demonstrate connections between different courses and readings
    • synthesize academic experiences with their experiences outside the classroom
    • seek out applications of their historical knowledge and skills beyond the classroom

    Quick Links for MA Students