• Dr. Louis Woods studies historical economic discrimination and racial disparities
  • Holocaust survivor and WWII liberators share memories at MTSU conference
  • Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk specializes in U.S. cultural and intellectual history
  • The Windham Lecture series brings notable figures to campus annually

History, M.A.

MTSU's Master of Arts in History program is grounded in well-developed skills in research, writing, and critical thinking. Students may choose a major field in U.S. or European history while pursuing the degree. Master's candidates get to select from graduate readings seminars that are chronologically and topically based, with a focus on the historiography of each field. All students take a common core of courses in historiography and historical research methods. Research seminars teach students how to conduct effective and significant inquiry into primary source records and how to ground their work in the existing historical literature. Thesis and non-thesis options are offered. Global history coursework may serve for the minor field.

MTSU grad named Mellon Fellow for doctoral research

MTSU grad named Mellon Fellow for doctoral research

Jay Carroll, who earned an M.A. in History at MTSU, was awarded an Andrew Mellon Fellowship in Gender and Sexuality Studies to pursue his doctoral degree at Northwestern University. He chose MTSU to add a master's in American history to his previous M.A. in European cultural history, helping him prepare for doctoral work in transnational/comparative history. "The program is well-known for its Public History graduate degrees and rightly so, but the smaller history graduate program is equally thorough in its preparation of students for qualifying exams, producing a master's thesis, and repeatedly supporting its students through job-market or Ph.D. program searches," Carroll said. Carroll’s thesis explored Russian ballet's impact upon Western masculinity and culture at the fin-de-siècle.

Thesis subjects cover topics from Vietnam to Virginia

Thesis subjects cover topics from Vietnam to Virginia

MTSU master’s candidates in history delve into an impressive array of topics during their thesis research. Recent M.A. thesis subjects have ranged from Williamsburg to Mexico and Vietnam to France. Brad H. Wright wrote about resistance movements in Guadalajara, Mexico, between 1968 and 1994. American history students have written about topics near and far. Alisha Linam studied the Tennessee Mormon Massacre of 1884 in Lewis County, Tennessee.  Evan Buchanan wrote about psychological combat trauma among American veterans of the war in Vietnam. European topics have included Savannah Teague's thesis titled “Conspicuous Consumption Amongst the Aristocracy in 18th Century France” and Bethany Stoller's evaluation of the scholarly impact of Yale historian John Boswell, a pioneer in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. 

Graduates with master's degrees in history have the training to work not only as a historian, but also in a variety of other fields. In addition to writing, teaching, or preserving history, historians may find occupational opportunities in corporate, government, or non-profit settings. Professional possibilities, with some requiring additional studies, include

  • Archaeologist
  • Archivist/librarian
  • Attorney
  • Collections manager
  • College professor/instructor
  • Documentary editor
  • Foreign service officer
  • Genealogy consultant
  • Government worker
  • Historian
  • Historic consultant
  • Historic site administrator/tour guide
  • Intelligence officer
  • Journalist
  • Legal researcher
  • Legislative staffer
  • Market analyst
  • Middle or high school teacher
  • Museum curator
  • Paralegal
  • Park ranger
  • Preservationist
  • Public relations/communications director
  • Researcher
  • Scholarly publishing
  • Technical writer

For more information on careers for M.A. in History graduates, please see the Organization of American Historian's publication, "Careers for Students of History." 

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • The Dunham School (Baton Rouge, La.)
  • Graceland University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Nashville State Community College
  • New Mexico Military Institute
  • Pinnacle Financial Partners
  • S.O.C.M. (Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment)
  • Tennessee National Guard

M.A. History graduates have been admitted to Ph.D. programs at many fine universities such as 

  • Kent State University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Notre Dame
  • Texas A&M University
  • UNC-Greensboro
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Tennessee

The History Department offers a traditional Master of Arts (M.A.) in History and the Master of Arts (M.A.) in History with a concentration in Public History.

Admission to the Master of Arts in History program requires

  • an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college;
  • an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken;
  • completion of at least 18 semester hours of undergraduate history courses;
  • completion of the Graduate Record Exam with acceptable scores.

Modifications to the above requirements may be made with the permission of the department’s director of graduate studies and the department’s graduate committee.

Students in the Master of Arts in History program may choose a major field in United States or European History, but graduate classes in global history can fulfill requirements for the minor field. (Those students who pursue the History M.A. with a concentration in Public History may specialize in one of five areas: historic preservation and cultural resource management, museum management, archival management, oral history, and public archeology.)

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Other programs

MTSU also offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Public History. The Ph.D. program, which began in 2005, is the first to declare public history as the major field of study. The innovative, practice-based, individualized program of study is offered in partnership with the Center for Historic Preservation, the Albert Gore Research Center, and the Center for Popular Music.

A 12-credit hour Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Museum Management is available to students currently pursuing an M.A. in Public History at MTSU, to MTSU alumni who hold an M.A. in Public History, and to applicants who hold an equivalent M.A. from another university.

A graduate history minor is also available. 

Undergraduate

The undergraduate degree in history comes in four forms: the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History, the B.A. in History with Teacher Licensure, the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in History, and the B.S. in History with Teacher Licensure.

An undergraduate minor in history is also offered. The department additionally coordinates interdisciplinary minors in African American Studies; Media, History, and Culture; Environment and Human Society; Medieval Studies; Southern Studies; Twentieth-Century European Studies; American Culture; and War, Policy, and Security.

History, M.A.

Mark Doyle, Graduate Studies Director
(615) 898-2545
Mark.Doyle@mtsu.edu

The History Department offers the Master of Arts in History, Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Public History, and a Ph.D. in Public History.

For the most current information about the program, department policies, and admission standards, please visit the department website at www.mtsu.edu/history.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Arts in History program requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken;
  3. completion of at least 18 semester hours of undergraduate history courses;
  4. completion of the Graduate Record Exam with acceptable scores.

Modifications to the above requirements may be made with the permission of the department's director of graduate studies and the department's graduate admissions committee.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application deadline for the M.A. program is March 1 for Fall admission and October 1 for Spring. The History Department does not consider graduate students for Summer admission.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  4. submit letter of intent, explaining why applicant wishes to pursue graduate education in History and why applicant wishes to pursue those studies at MTSU;
  5. submit writing sample (preferably a lengthy research paper that demonstrates writing and research skills);
  6. submit three letters of recommendation from professors or professionals that address the applicant's potential to successfully complete an M.A. program in History.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the Master of Arts in History degree may choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option.

Thesis Option (30 hours)

Once admitted to the program, candidate must

  1. complete 30 hours of graduate history courses, all at the 6000 level (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
  2. pass comprehensive examinations in the thesis field;
  3. maintain satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree each semester;
  4. fulfill a research skill-set requirement by choosing one of the following options:
    1. demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language for research purposes by passing the specific proficiency examination administered by the Foreign Languages and Literature Department;
    2. compete one of the following professional development courses: HIST 6190, HIST 6225, HIST 6530, HIST 6550, HIST 6551, or  HIST 6555. Courses outside the History Department may also be considered with the written approval of the graduate director.
      NOTE: A course used to satisfy the professional skill requirement may not also be counted toward meeting another degree requirement.
  5. submit and successfully defend an acceptable thesis.

Non-thesis Option (33 hours)

Once admitted to the program, candidate must

  1. complete 33 hours of graduate history courses, all at the 6000 level (see Curriculum section below for specifics);
  2. pass comprehensive examinations;
  3. maintain satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree each semester;
  4. fulfill a skill set requirement by choosing one of the following options:
    1. demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language for research purposes by passing the specific proficiency examination administered by the Foreign Languages and Literature Department;
    2. complete one of the following professional development courses: HIST 6190 State and Local History, HIST 6225 Oral History Theory and Methodology, HIST 6530 Administration of Historical Organizations, HIST 6550 American Material Culture, HIST 6551 American Architectural History, and HIST 6555 Archeology and Public History. Courses outside the History Department may also be considered, with the written approval of the graduate director. 
      NOTE
      : A course used to satisfy the professional skill requirement may not also be counted toward meeting another degree requirement.

Curriculum: History

 

Thesis Option (30 hours)

All M.A. in History students pursuing the thesis option must complete 30 hours (all at the 6000 level) in the following course of study:

Required Core Courses (6 hours)

 

  • HIST 6010 - Historiography  3 credit hours  

    HIST 6010 - Historiography

    3 credit hours

    An introduction to history's major schools of thought. Through reading, class discussion, and essays, students explore critical interpretations in American, European, and non-Western history.

  • HIST 6020 - Historical Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Introduces historical research using primary sources. Students produce a work (or works) of original historical scholarship and engage with existing scholarship in the field.

Thesis Field (12-15 hours)

  • 12–15 hours of either American or European History

History electives (6-9 hours)

  • 6–9 hours outside the thesis field

Thesis Research (at least 3 hours)

 

  • HIST 6640 - Thesis Research  1 to 6 credit hours  

    HIST 6640 - Thesis Research

    1 to 6 credit hours

    Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of thesis. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

Note:

No more than three hours of  HIST 6910/HIST 6920/HIST 6930 may be counted toward degree requirements.

Non-thesis Option (33 hours)

All M.A. in History students pursuing the non-thesis option must complete 33 hours (all at the 6000 level) in the following course of study:

Required Core (6 hours)

 

  • HIST 6010 - Historiography  3 credit hours  

    HIST 6010 - Historiography

    3 credit hours

    An introduction to history's major schools of thought. Through reading, class discussion, and essays, students explore critical interpretations in American, European, and non-Western history.

  • HIST 6020 - Historical Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Introduces historical research using primary sources. Students produce a work (or works) of original historical scholarship and engage with existing scholarship in the field.

Major Field (15 hours)

  • 15 hours of either American or European History including at least three hours of graduate research seminar in field

History electives (9 hours)

  • 9 hours of elective History courses

Additional Graduate Research Seminar (3 hours)

  • 3 hours of graduate research seminar in any field

Note:

No more than three hours of  HIST 6910/HIST 6920/HIST 6930 may be counted toward degree requirements.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies during first semester in the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.

Resources

On-campus partners

Organizations

Graduate Assistantships

To help support students pursuing graduate study, the Department of History offers a number of graduate assistantships at both the M.A. and the Ph.D. levels. These assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis and are renewable for up to two years for M.A. assistantships and up to three years for Ph.D. assistantships. Graduate assistants receive a tuition waiver plus a stipend to cover living expenses. In return, graduate assistants work a maximum of 20 hours a week during the semester on an assignment determined by the History Department. These assignments include work as teaching assistants, research assistants, and other duties related to the ongoing work of the Department and its on-campus partners. To apply for a graduate assistantship with the History Department, complete the College of Graduate Studies' Graduate Assistantship Application and submit it to the Department of History along with the rest of your application. 

Many M.A. and Ph.D. students in the History Department also work as research fellows, graduate assistants, and hourly employees for MTSU's Center for Historic Preservation. The Center has a separate application and review process for these positions. You can read full descriptions of these opportunities on the Center's Academic Opportunities page and download the Center's Application for Student Academic Support. The department urges students applying for a graduate assistantship with the History Department to apply to the Center as well.

Contact and Student Information

Pippa Holloway
Pippa.Holloway@mtsu.edu
615-904-8149

Pippa Holloway
Pippa.Holloway@mtsu.edu
615-904-8149

Department of History
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 23
1301 E. Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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