Welcome to Arkansas State University!
Master of Arts (M.A.)

College: College of Liberal Arts & Communication

Department: History


The graduate program in history at Arkansas State University trains students in historical research methods, historiography, and historical content in global, public, and US history.

Students may choose a general MA degree (which commonly incorporates more US history courses) or an emphasis in either public history or global history.

The public history emphasis focuses on teaching students to be historians who are strong academics but who also engage the greater public. Students are required to take 12 hours of history electives (global or US), 12 hours of public history, and 6 hours of thesis or internship. Accepted students who had not taken the Practice of History or an equivalent historical methods course as an undergraduate will have to take this course at a graduate level for additional credit hours. The Department of History will allow up to 6 credit hours from another institution. Graduates with a MA in public history often go on to pursue a PhD in public history or heritage studies, work at museums or heritage sites, or apply for careers in historic preservation or other public history-related professions.

The global history emphasis is for students who are interested in studying big questions, especially those pertaining to the processes, events, and people who have created an increasingly interconnected world. Students will engage with the works of important historians in the field, theory, and historiography while honing their ability to research and write as global historians themselves. This program is aimed at students who want to subsequently pursue global or non-US history PhD programs, who want to teach high school world history at an advanced level, who want to teach world history in community colleges, and who are interested in foreign service careers. Global history students are required to take Theory and Practice in Global History, Seminar in Global History, 9 hours of world history, 9 hours of history electives, and 6 hours of either thesis or additional history electives.

Master's Degree Grad Pack

This will help you navigate the MA program with information on applications, policies, check sheets, and tips for writing books reviews and theses.

View the grad pack [PDF] >>


Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

Visit the bulletins page >>

  • Admission Process

    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

  • Additional Information

    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.