Guidelines for Master's Students

The one-year History M.A. program is designed to be intellectually rigorous yet also flexible enough to permit students to adapt it to a variety of professional contexts and goals. The intellectual rigor is achieved through M.A.-specific coursework, particularly the Historical Crossings seminar, and its combination with Ph.D. seminars. The flexibility is achieved through a choice of one of two tracks:

  • The Professional Track incorporates two “skills” courses (for example, in writing, language, computer science, design, or public history) that will help students meet individual professional goals.
  • The Academic Track is designed to prepare students to continue work at the PhD level. It replaces one of the “skills” courses with a research credit in the spring for which the student will produce an article-length research paper. In choosing the other “skills” course, a student on this track might select a language course or another PhD seminar, as appropriate.

Historical Crossings

The cornerstone of the M.A. program for students on both tracks is the Historical Crossings seminar in the fall.  “Historical crossings” is a rough translation of histoire croisée, a term that has emerged in recent decades in European scholarship. It refers to global configurations of events and a shared history, rather than to a traditional comparative history. The rise of global capitalism, for instance, is a shared history. People in different places experienced that rise in distinct ways yet their histories are united by the social and political formations that emerged within capitalism. The history of empire is another example.  

The Historical Crossings Seminar is a Fall course in which the entire M.A. cohort enrolls, along with interested Ph.D. students. The seminar will not serve as a traditional historical methods course but instead will focus on training students to read and think on various scales of historical analysis—from the cross-cultural and trans-geographic to the granularity of social and cultural specificity. It will require students to think both globally and locally and will introduce them to an advanced level of historical inquiry, debate, and exploration.

All MA students will complete 8 credits, including the Historical Crossings seminar:

1 credit Fall seminar in "Historical Crossings" (required)
3 credits 3 2000-level courses
2 credits 2 1000- or 2000-level courses
2 credits 2 1000-level "skills" courses outside History, chosen in consultation with the History DGS OR 1 research credit for MA paper + 1 1000-level "skills" course, chosen in consultation with the History DGS, typically either a language course or an additional PhD seminar

The MA is designed to be completed in one year, with eight credits typically distributed as follows:

Semester 1 Semester 2
Historical Crossings PhD Thematic Seminar (2980 series)
PhD Field Seminar (2970 series) PhD Thematic Seminar (2980 series)
Elective (1000- or 2000-level course) Elective (1000- or 2000-level course)
Elective (skills course) Elective (skills course or MA research paper)

Seminars should be taken with at least two different instructors. All courses must be completed with grades of B or better for the student to receive graduate credit. There is no foreign language requirement for the master's degree.