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Program Overview

The MA in History promotes critical thinking, fosters effective citizenship, enriches many other fields of study, and prepares students to assume positions of responsibility and leadership in an ever more interdependent global society. Historical research projects involving primary and secondary materials available in archives, libraries, and electronic format teach research techniques valuable in many career areas. In addition, the written presentation of historical arguments improves students’ analytical and writing skills.

The MA program offers study in U.S. History, World History, History Education, Public History and Cultural Heritage, and Museum Studies. All students receive disciplined advanced work in preparation for doctoral programs or advanced training leading to teaching or other careers. Students select one of two options for completing the degree: thesis or research papers. The first path requires a substantial master's thesis and emphasizes depth of knowledge and research competence. The second path requires several research papers and emphasizes breadth of historical knowledge. Both paths include a core of courses in history.

All candidates for the MA in history must complete a core of 26 hours of course work (excluding thesis credit), with no more than nine hours of history and related fields at the 5000 level. This 26-hour core must include seven courses at 3 credit hours each (21 hours in all), and one 5-credit-hour writing seminar consisting of a 2-credit-hour research paper supplement to a 3-credit-hour, 6000-level history readings course.

To earn the 26-hour core, candidates must complete HIST 6000 and select at least one field of study with a minimum of three courses (each at 3 credit hours or more.) Students may use the remaining hours to complete a second field.

Learn more about the program curriculum.


What UMSL Arts & Sciences has to offer

The College of Arts and Sciences at UMSL creates the next poets, conservation biologists, symphony soloists, psychological scientists, historians, criminologists, chemists, sculptors, painters, communicators, space explorers and speakers of French, German, Japanese and Spanish. With nearly 4,000 undergraduate students, 800 graduate students and 450 faculty, it’s the largest college and academic backbone of the university.

Supporting the university’s mission, the college provides a diverse student body access to an affordable, quality education with expert faculty. A strong focus on research and scholarship has students exploring the latest thought and theory, while giving them access to ground-breaking studies through undergraduate and graduate research opportunities. Emphasis on the arts and sciences working in communion leads to graduates with a holistic understanding of their fields, creating the best scholars for academia and professionals for the world.

The College of Arts and Sciences consists of some 275 full-time faculty members in 18 departments and is home to the School of Fine and Performing Arts. The college offers a wide range of degree programs in areas such as Anthropology, Art and Design, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Biology, Chemistry, Communication and Media, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics, English, Languages and Cultural Studies, History, Mathematics and Computer Science, Philosophy, Physics and Astronomy, Political Science, Psychological Sciences, Sociology, and Theatre and Cinema Arts.

For more on UMSL Arts & Sciences, visit