Our students are engaged in a wide range of academic pursuits that include degree programs in 160 undergraduate and graduate fields delivered by 11 different colleges.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
The graduate program in history at Arkansas State University trains students in historical research methods and historiography.
Students may choose an emphasis in either Public History or Global History.
The Public History emphasis is qualitatively different than undergraduate education in that it prepares students to enter the junior ranks of the profession, which is to say that is less concerned with teaching students about history and more concerned with teaching students to be historians. Students are required to take 12 hours of U.S. History, 12 hours of Public History and 6 hours of Thesis or Internship. Those who did not take the Practice of History as undergraduates, will have to take this course on a graduate level for additional credit hours. The Department will allow up to 15 hours of earned graduate credit hours to holders of an M.A. in History degree from Arkansas State University or up to 6 credit hours from another institution.
The Global History emphasis program is intended to respond to the growing need for teachers at both the High School and Community College level who are trained in the “New World History" not just in non-Western history, but also with an understanding of the main themes and approaches that the best world historians are bringing to their research and teaching. In addition to course work and the option to write a thesis, students in the program will have the opportunity to teach a section of World History under the supervision of a professor. Students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. will also find that this program prepares them to do further graduate study.
Applications from students who meet the minimum requirements of Graduate School are forwarded to the History Department to be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in History. Please allow at least 6 weeks for your application to be processed.
The admissions committee weighs a number of factors in its decisions. So success in one area may offset a less successful record in other areas. Not all of our applicants were history majors as undergraduates, but students with Bachelor’s degrees in other fields are expected to have taken one introductory-level US History and one Introductory-level World History course and 18 hours of upper-level undergraduate history (equivalent to 3-4000 level course at Arkansas State) before applying to the program. Courses in allied fields may be counted toward the 18 hour requirement at the discretion of the department.
Students seeking to enter the graduate program in history must satisfy the admission requirements of both the Graduate School and the History Department. Applications to program must include:
1) A completed application form
2) An official transcript
3) Official GRE Scores
4) Two letters of recommendation from professors familiar with the student’s academic work
Thesis and Comprehensives
The thesis represents the culmination of the Masters program. Completing a thesis demonstrates that one has become a historian rather than just a student of history. None of our programs require a thesis, but we encourage students to write theses, especially those who intend to pursue the Ph.D.
Students in all three programs must take written comprehensive exams. These are meant to test the breadth and depth of a student’s knowledge of the historical discipline.
Comprehensive exams are given once per semester and once in the summer. Students can register for comprehensive exams any time after they have completed 18 hours of course work (not including HIST 6001).
Students must select five courses (not including HIST 6001) over which they wish to be examined. On the day of the exam they are presented with three questions (chosen by their examiners) and have four hours to work on their answers.
Students who fail on their first attempt are allowed one additional attempt. Because of the high stakes nature of the comprehensive exams, students are strongly urged to begin preparing for them early.
Why Should You Apply to Our Graduate Program?
- Student success in employment. Our graduates find success in all venues within the historian’s profession but other fields as well (administration, government, and journalism to name a few).
- Student success in doctoral studies. Our graduates have been accepted into History Ph.D. programs in 5 states since 2006. Recent graduates who have completed a Master’s Thesis have received doctoral assistantships.
- Distinguished faculty. Our faculty have researched and worked on every continent. They provide a global perspective for a global age.
- Engaged faculty. Our faculty genuinely want to mentor students and set them on the path toward a meaningful career.