Earn Your Master of Arts in History

The Master of Arts in History at the University of Missouri-St. Louis provides a broad-based program of study that emphasizes historical writing, research and analysis through an in-depth study of U.S. and world history, history education, public history and cultural heritage, as well as museum studies. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Conduct empirical historical research based on primary source evidence.
  • Compose publishable-quality scholarship that makes an original contribution to knowledge.
  • Evaluate recent scholarship within chosen subfields of study in the context of historiographical trends.
  • Distinguish between different methodological approaches to historical research, writing and interpretation.


Program type:

Graduate, MA


On-Campus, 100% Evenings

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MA History

Why earn your Master of Arts in History at UMSL?

Access to the Mercantile Library and Archives: The History Department enjoys a close partnership with the prestigious Mercantile Library and Archives, housed at UMSL. Founded in 1846, it’s the oldest library and museum west of the Mississippi, offering history students internship and research opportunities.

Get an Emphasis in Museum Studies: The MA in History, Emphasis in Museum Studies joins theoretical and practical study at an advanced level to prepare students for careers in museums, heritage institutions, historic sites and societies, and related organizations. The program focuses on community engagement, the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of material culture, interpreting and debating the past, new media and public education, and research in archival and material collections. 

Learn from highly qualified educators and researchers who hold terminal degrees from some of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

A master’s degree in history not only gives you deeper knowledge of the events of the past, it helps you make meaningful connections between the people of yesterday and today. It also prepares you to better share your knowledge and understanding of the past and its influences on the present with others through a wide variety of career paths.

Employment of project management specialists is projected to grow up to 7% to 2031, with a median annual salary of $94,500, according to wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2031

Career Opportunities

  • Archaeologist
  • Archivist
  • Author/Writer
  • Consultant
  • Editor
  • Educator/Trainer
  • Historian
  • Museum Curator/Conservator
  • Nonprofit Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Public Policy Administrator
  • Research Analyst

Plan of study

Museum Studies Emphasis, MA

The MA in History with an emphasis in Museum, Heritage, and Public History may be taken as a terminal degree by students intending to become museum professionals or public historians. Students may focus their studies on subdisciplines such as museum curation, digital public history, collection or archival management, or other areas.

Admission Requirements 

Prospective students for the Master of Arts in History with an emphasis in Museums, Heritage, and Public History must apply specifically for this program on the graduate application. Applications for the Master of Arts in History with an emphasis in Museums, Heritage, and Public History will be accepted only for the fall semester.

Prospective students must demonstrate high academic potential. Typically, the History department admits only students with at least a 3.2 grade point average in their undergraduate major; most successful applicants have higher grades. An undergraduate major in History is not required for admission to this program. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, preferably from former teachers and/or employers, and a sample of their written work. Applicants must also complete the Museums, Heritage, and Public History Supplemental Application, which includes a statement of career intent.

Admissions decisions are based on the undergraduate transcript, the letters of recommendation, the sample of written work, and the supplemental application.

Applications must be received by the university no later than February 1.

Program Requirements

All candidates for the MA in History with an emphasis in Museums, Heritage, and Public History must complete the following core courses (25 hours).

HIST 6000 The Historian's Craft 3
HIST 6001 Introduction to Public History and Cultural Heritage 3
HIST 6131 Museum Origins and Evolution 3
HIST 6133 Digital Public History 3
HIST 6127 Museums and Communities 3
HIST 6142 Readings in U.S. History 5
or  HIST 6143 Readings in World History
HIST 6126 Museum Studies Internship 5
or  HIST 6138 Museum Studies Capstone Project
Total Hours 25

Candidates must also complete 9 credit hours of elective courses.  These may include courses listed above, if not already taken for the core, or additional courses which may include the following.

HIST 6002 Material Culture in Historical Context 3
HIST 6129 Emerging Museum Practices 3
HIST 6134 History Curatorship 3
HIST 6139 Practicum in Exhibit and Program Development 3
ART HS 5593 Museum Management and Curatorial Practice 3
POL SCI 6300 Leadership and Management in NonProfit Organizations 3
P P ADM 6311 Staff Management Issues in Nonprofit Organizations 1
P P ADM 6312 Legal Issues in Managing Nonprofit Organizations 1
P P ADM 6313 Financial Issues in Managing Nonprofit Organizations 1

Students may substitute other courses with approval of the Director of the Museums, Heritage, and Public History program. For courses outside the History Department, a maximum of six credits may be at the 3000 level. No 3000 level courses may be taken for graduate credit within the History Department.

Candidates conclude the degree with an internship or exit project represented by the course numbered HIST 6138 (5 credits). This capstone project will be customized to the interests and career aspirations of each student, as approved in advance by the Director.

Total hours for Program: 34

Review Full Degree Requirements Download 2-Year Academic Map

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the NC-SARA state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

Connect with likeminded students and professionals though one of our student organizations.

Career Services - Students have access to professional career counselors who can assist in everything from resume development and interview preparation to lining up an internship or connecting you with your next fulltime career. UMSL alumni also enjoy high quality, lifelong career management programming, services, events and resources to assist in all phases of career development.

Research - There are many opportunities for graduate students to showcase their research including our annual Graduate Research Fair, which is open to students from all graduate programs. Doctoral and thesis master’s students can also compete in the Three Minute Thesis challenge to be evaluated by a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes.