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Master of Arts in History

Major: HIST
Degree Awarded: MA
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

General Information

The Master of Arts program in history provides advanced training in historical theory, investigation, and writing. Among other things, it prepares students for further graduate studies in history, employment in educational institutions or in public history, and careers in law and government.

The varied specialties of our faculty, combined with the structure of the program, allow our students to acquire a worldwide vision of history.  All students must focus their studies in any two of the following areas of emphasis, one as their major and the other as their minor concentration: Greater Atlantic World, Greater Mediterranean Basin, Asia-Pacific Rim, and Western Pacific and Indian Ocean World. This both allows students flexibility in course scheduling, and encourages cross-cultural and interdisciplinary scholarship.

Program Admission

Normally, applicants to the MA program in history must have:

  • a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale (a GPA based on a 3.0 scale will be converted to a 4.0 scale)
  • 21 undergraduate credit hours in history, with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • a combined score of at least 1000 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Records Examination (GRE)

Students with an undergraduate GPA of between 2.5 and 2.99 may be accepted conditionally into the program at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, provided they meet all other requirements for admission.  Conditional admittance requires that the student maintain a GPA of 3.0 in the first 6 hours of graduate coursework.

Students with fewer than 21 undergraduate hours in history will be required to take post-baccalaureate undergraduate courses to bring their total undergraduate hours in history to 21.

At the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies, non-degree students may be admitted to pursue graduate coursework.

Program Admission Procedures

Applicants must submit the following materials to the University of Louisville Office of Graduate Admissions:

● a completed graduate application (available on line at;  there is an application fee of $60.00

● official transcripts verifying the receipt of a BA from an accredited institution

● scores from the Graduate Records Examination

● at least two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential

● a statement, not exceeding 500 words in length, addressing the question "Why are you pursuing an MA in history?"

All application materials should arrive in the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Department no later than thirty days before the first day of classes of the semester in which the applicant plans to begin graduate studies.

For a list of  the graduate assistantships, scholarships, fellowships and internships, see  Applications for these awards are normally due on March 21.


Program Requirements

Graduate students in this Department normally take 9 hours of coursework per semester (three courses).  With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, a student may take up to 12 hours (four courses) in a semester.  During a student’s graduate program, a total of 6 hours of coursework may be taken outside the Department of History, provided it is directly relevant to the student's academic program and has been approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.  Except with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, no more than 6 hours of directed studies or independent studies (HIST 501, 502, 601, 602) may be applied to an MA in History.  No pass-fail courses may be applied to an MA.

If a student's cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, he or she is considered on academic probation, and may be dismissed from the MA program. A non-degree student who fails to maintain an average of 2.0 will not be allowed to continue taking graduate courses.

For MA-level work in certain areas, knowledge of foreign languages or knowledge of other specialized research tools may be required.

Students will be allowed to transfer up to 6 hours of appropriate coursework from outside the University.

In consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, each candidate for the MA in History will select areas of major and secondary emphasis. The program of study must be approved by the Director, normally before the student enrolls for the second semester of work. The areas of emphasis are:

  • Greater Atlantic World, including Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
  • Greater Mediterranean Basin, including Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
  • Asia-Pacific Rim, including South Asia, East Asia, Pacific, and the Americas.
  • Western Pacific and Indian Ocean World, including East Asia, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Students may choose to complete the MA by thesis, by research papers, or by examinations.

Thesis option:  Completion of 24 credit hours of coursework and a thesis. 15-18 hours of coursework must be in the major area of emphasis, and 6-9 hours in the secondary area;  one-six hours may be electives. At least 12 hours of coursework must at the 600 level, with at least nine of these hours in the major area of emphasis.  The thesis must be in the major area of emphasis. Following an oral defense, it must be approved by a thesis committee, which consists of the thesis director and at least two other faculty members, one of them from another department. The committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

Examination option:  Completion of 34 credit hours of course work and two written examinations.  18-21 hours of coursework must be in the major area of emphasis, and 9-12 in the secondary area; one-six hours may be electives. At least 18 hours of coursework must be at the 600 level, with at least 15 of these hours in the major area of emphasis. One examination will be in the major area of emphasis, and one in the minor area. A committee will evaluate the written examinations, and conduct an oral examination on their content and the relevant areas of history. The committee will consist of three faculty members, normally the two faculty members who administered the examinations and a third faculty member who may be in the Department of History.  The committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Accelerated BA/MA

This program allows a history major to use a maximum of six hours of graduate course work towards both a BA and an MA.  After completing the undergraduate program and receiving a BA, the student will enter the graduate program and complete the remaining requirements for an MA.

To be considered for admission to the accelerated program, students must:

  • have a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.35 in history
  • complete an application for admission to the graduate program (including Graduate Record Examination scores (GRE) and two recommendations) no later than the end of the junior year (application details are described below)

In addition, students must retain a GPA of 3.35 in history (have a B+ in graduate history courses) during their senior year to remain in the program.

Departmental Faculty

Ann T. Allen


Blake R. Beattie

Associate Professor

Mark E. Blum


John T. Cumbler, Jr.


A. Glenn Crothers

Assistant Professor

Christine T. Ehrick

Associate Professor

Benjamin T. Harrison


Robert B. Kebric


Daniel Krebs

Assistant Professor

Tracy E. K'Meyer
Associate Professor


Yuxin Ma

Assistant Professor

Thomas C. Mackey


Justin A. McCarthy


Edward C. McInnis

Visiting Assistant Professor

John E. McLeod

Associate Professor

Bruce M. Tyler

Associate Professor

Daniel Vivian

Assistant Professor

Lee Shai Weissbach


Jennifer Westerfeld

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

History - MA

Gottschalk Hall
Telephone: (502)852-6817
Fax: (502)852-0770
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30

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