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Graduate Studies

The Master of Arts program in History at the University of Louisville provides a flexible yet traditional program with rigorous standards. The breadth and reach of our faculty encourage a worldwide vision of history. Students may obtain their degree through the thesis or exam option. For further questions and inquiries, please contact Dr. Daniel Krebs, Director of Graduate Studies, at or (502) 852-4368.



I. Application Process and Requirements

Applicants with the following credentials are eligible to be considered for unconditional admission to the Master's Program in History:

  •  a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • 21 credit hours in history with a minimum GPA 3.0
  • a combined score of at least 300  on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Records Examination (GRE)
  • at least two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic and/or professional capabilities and potential
  • a statement of purpose, not to exceed 500 words, which describes in reasonably specific terms, your academic and career objectives and how they can be advanced through graduate work in our program. The statement should also indicate your intended area(s) of interest, your preparation for this field of study, and, if possible, the departmental faculty with whom you wish to study.

To apply, submit the above-listed credentials to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies with an application form and payment of a $60 processing fee. The application and credentials will then be forwarded to the History Department for review by the Director of Graduate Studies. The online application is available at:


II. Deadlines

  • Applications for Fall 2014: February 14 *
  • Applications for Spring 2015: December 1

* February 14 is the deadline for all students who want to be considered for available fellowships, assistantships, and internships (see below under III.). Students who do not intend to apply for these funding sources may submit their applications until May 15


III. Funding


IV. Financial Aid

Additional links and information on financial aid for graduate students from the University of Louisville and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies can be found here.


V. Transfer of Credits

Students may be allowed to transfer up to 6 hours from outside the University. Up to six additional transfer hours may be requested under certain exceptional circumstances. All credit transfer requests must be approved and supported by the Director of Graduate Studies and the History Department Chair. For details, see the Graduate Catalog.


Program of Study


I. Major and Minor Fields

Each graduate student will define their Major and Minor Fields in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and their academic advisor before registering for their second semester of course work.

Available Major Fields:

  • United States
  • Europe
  • Comparative World (regional or comparative study of a region outside of the United States or Europe such as the Middle East, Latin America; a brief, separate proposal is required)
  • Public History


Available Minor Fields:

  • Africa
  • Ancient and Medieval World
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Military History
  • Public History
  • Religion & Culture
  • United States
  • Women’s and Gender History


II. Required Course(s)

  • All graduate students have to take History 605: Research Methods and Materials (one-hour graduate course), offered every Fall semester. This course will cover the basics of historiography, locating and critically analyzing primary and secondary documents, planning and executing large research projects, and other basics.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to take History 605 in their first Fall semester of enrollment. Students must receive a B or better in this course. If a student’s final grade is a B- or below, they will be required to repeat the course. If a student fails to achieve a B or better in this course more than twice, s/he will be subject to dismissal from the program.
  • Students with a Major Field in Public History also have to take HIST 697: Introduction to Public History (three-hour graduate course), and HIST 608: Practicum (three-hour graduate course). For more information see Public History at the University of Louisville.


III. Exam or Thesis Option

The History Department offers a Thesis or Exam option to obtain the M.A. in History. Students pursuing the Thesis option finish their studies with a M.A. thesis after completing all course work. Students pursuing the Exam option finish their studies with an M.A. Exam after completing all course work.


IV. Credit Hours

  • Thesis option: 31 credit hours (15 to 18 hours in the Major field; 6 to 9 hours in the Minor field; 1 hour in Hist 605; and 6 hours of thesis preparation)
  • Exam option: 34 credit hours (18 to 21 hours in their major field; 9-12 hour in their minor field; 1 hour in 605)


V. Course Work Outside the History Department

Students have the option of taking up to 6 hours of course work outside of the Department. Those hours must be directly relevant to the student's academic program, and can be taken only with the consent of the Director of Graduate Studies. In a student's approved graduate program, no Pass-Fail courses will apply, unless the History Department itself creates Graduate Pass-Fail courses.


VI. Independent Studies/Directed Reading Courses

No more than 6 hours of Directed Studies or Independent Studies (601-602, 501-502) will be allowed in a student's approved program.


VII. Foreign Languages

For M.A.-level work in certain areas of knowledge of one or more foreign languages or knowledge of other specialized research tools may be required.


VIII. Satisfactory Progress and Good Standing

  • All students are expected to make steady and satisfactory progress toward the completion of degrees. Students who are not enrolled for a period of more than 12 months will be considered to have withdrawn from the program. For further information, see the Graduate Catalog.
  • Whenever any student's cumulative quality-point total falls below 3.00, the student will be placed on academic probation until the student regains a 3.0 average or is dismissed. Students are ordinarily not permitted to continue on academic probation for more than one semester.
  • Failure of non-degree students to maintain a 2.00 average will result in termination.


IX. Course Load

A normal graduate load in this department will be 9 hours or three courses, and in no case will more than 12 hours or four courses be taken during any one regular semester.

X. Thesis Preparation

  • The thesis must be in the major area of emphasis and must be defended in an oral examination before a committee consisting of the thesis director/advisor and chair of the committee, a second faculty member in the History Department, and one faculty person outside the History Department.
  • The Committee must be approved by the Graduate Director of the History Department and by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.
  • Graduate students must register for all of their six thesis hours (Hist 603) with an independent study form signed by the thesis director/advisor. They will receive a grade of X until they successfully defend their thesis.


XI. Master's Candidacy

  • When a student has completed all of the degree requirements except for the thesis (for Thesis Option) or comprehensive exams (for Exam Option), they enter into Master’s Candidacy (MAST 600-01). Students in Master's Candidacy have to be continuously enrolled in Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.
  • Before enrolling in MAST 600-01, it is the student’s responsibility to meet with the Graduate Director and verify that they have completed all of the requirements necessary to advance to Master’s Candidacy.
  • Students enrolled in Master’s Candidacy are considered full time students.


XII. Time to Degree

Master’s Students have six years to complete all degree requirements, including thesis or comprehensive exams. 


XIII. Student Appeals

Student appeals concerning departmental guidelines will be submitted to the Director, who will forward the appeal to the Department's Graduate Committee for decision.


Finishing Students

Students who expect to finish and graduate (whether pursing the Thesis or Exam Option) are responsible for completing and submitting all of the necessary paperwork in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in delayed graduation and additional fees.

  • Students must submit an Application to Graduate during the first two weeks of the semester in which they think they may be graduating.  Applications to graduate are submitted via Ulink. Please note:  students should submit an application to graduate even if they are not completely sure they will be graduating in that semester.
  • By mid-semester students must submit a Thesis/Exam Committee Form, signed by all thesis or exam committee members and the Chair of the History Department. The form is available here on the School of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies website.
  • When a date and time for either your thesis defense or your exams has been set, the student must notify the Director of Graduate Studies at least two weeks before the defense/exam. The Graduate Director will then schedule the defense or make arrangements for the exam.
  • Prior to their defense, Thesis Option students should make an appointment with the Graduate School to verify the formatting of their thesis.  Make sure to consult the Guidelines for the Processing and Preparation of Theses.
  • Prior to defense or exams, we recommend that all finishing graduate students review their records with the Director of Graduate Studies and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies in order to ensure that all previous necessary requirements have been completed.

Accelerated BA/MA Program

This program allows University of Louisville undergraduate history majors to take up to 6 credits of graduate work which can then be applied to completion of the History MA. Undergraduates must apply to this program no later than the end of their junior year. See here for further information.


Contact and Staff Information

Dr. Daniel Krebs

Director of Graduate Studies

History Department

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY 40292

Phone: (502) 852-4368

Email Dr. Krebs


Lee Keeling

Program Assistant

History Department

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY 40292

Phone: (502) 852-6818

Fax: (502) 852-0770


For directions and maps to the History Department in Gottschalk Hall on the University of Louisville's Belknap campus, see here.

Department office hours are Monday - Friday 8:00-4:30

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