MA in History

The MA in History is intended as either a terminal degree or a preliminary degree for those students who will continue to the PhD degree. Admission to the MA program does not guarantee, however, that a student will later be allowed to advance to doctoral studies; all MA students will be reevaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee before being admitted to the PhD program.

Course Requirements

Of the eight semester courses (32 credits) needed to satisfy the requirement of work in residence, all students must take the following four courses: GRS HI 800 European Historiography, HI 850 American Historiography, HI 870 African Historiography, and HI 801 The Historian’s Craft. HI 800, 850, and 870 are reading courses focusing on historiographical issues and approaches in the areas where the department has special strengths and a sizable array of courses. HI 801 is a course intended to provide students with the necessary range of analytical, research, and expository skills and methods that are associated with the historian’s craft. Toward that end, the course is designed to move from the original conception of a problem to a publishable article. Within the context of this course students will write a major research paper, which will be separately certified by the Graduate Studies Committee as the student’s capstone experience. At least one of the reading courses (HI 800, 850, or 870) must be taken prior to taking HI 801, which will be offered every year in the spring semester. Candidates for the MA may count only two courses designed primarily for undergraduates (these courses are offered at the 600 or 700 level and ordinarily have 200- or 300-level equivalents) for the degree.

Language Requirement

The candidate must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one relevant foreign language. This requirement reflects the need for genuine ability to use foreign languages in advanced courses and in certain kinds of research. Language examinations are normally given in September and twice during the second semester. Students are expected to qualify at the start of their work in residence (except in cases where, for a language such as Russian or Arabic, it is recognized that additional time may be required). Candidates may also fulfill the language requirement by passing a reading course for graduate students offered by the Department of Romance Studies at Boston University.

Grade Requirement

To be awarded the master’s degree, the candidate is expected to earn a grade point average of 3.3 or above.



  • CAS HI 503 Psychohistory
  • CAS HI 549 Nationalism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • CAS HI 552 Topics in Jewish History
  • CAS HI 560 The American Transcendentalists
  • CAS HI 566 Ideas and American Foreign Policy
  • CAS HI 568 The Modern Metropolis: Approaches to Urban History
  • CAS HI 580 The History of Racial Thought
  • CAS HI 582 Social Movements in Twentieth-Century Latin America
  • CAS HI 584 Comparative Slavery
  • CAS HI 588 Women, Power, and Culture in Africa
  • CAS HI 589 Nature’s Past: Histories of Environment and Society
  • CAS HI 590 The World and the West
  • CAS HI 591 The Making of the Modern Middle East
  • CAS HI 597 Diasporas and Identity
  • GRS HI 800 European Historiography
  • GRS HI 801 The Historian’s Craft
  • GRS HI 813 Gender in Medieval Christian Mysticism
  • GRS HI 819 Readings in European History
  • GRS HI 850 American Historiography
  • CAS HI 852 Readings in American Political History
  • CAS HI 854 American Economic History
  • GRS HI 859 United States Foreign Policy
  • GRS HI 870 African Historiography
  • CAS HI 877 Problems in African History
  • CAS HI 881 Readings in Food History

Lecture Courses

  • GRS HI 609 Christendom Divided: Reformation and Religious Conflict in Early Modern Europe
  • GRS HI 647 The Making of Modern Britain
  • GRS HI 648 Twentieth-Century Britain
  • GRS HI 664 French Feudal Society: 496–1339
  • GRS HI 665 Early Modern France
  • GRS HI 666 French Revolution and Napoleon
  • GRS HI 670 Germany, 1914–Present
  • GRS HI 673 History of the Soviet Union and Post-Communist Russia
  • GRS HI 674 Issues in Modern Russian and Soviet History, 1861–1956
  • GRS HI 698 African American History
  • GRS HI 702 Science and American Culture
  • GRS HI 704 Science and Christianity in Europe and North America Since 1500
  • GRS HI 705 Intellectual History of the United States, 1776–1900
  • GRS HI 706 Intellectual History of the United States, 1900 to the Present
  • GRS HI 708 Religious Thought in America
  • GRS HI 750 History of the Atlantic World, 1500–1825
  • GRS HI 751 Environmental History of Africa
  • GRS HI 761 Black Radical Thought
  • GRS HI 794 U.S.-Mexican Borders

Teaching Fellow Training

  • GRS HI 699 Teaching College History

Dissertation Workshop

  • GRS HI 900 Dissertation Workshop

Directed Study

Advanced study in history, not necessarily resulting in a formal research paper. Hours arranged. Variable cr.

  • GRS HI 901 American History
  • GRS HI 902 European History
  • GRS HI 903 African History
  • GRS HI 904 Latin American History
  • GRS HI 905 Middle Eastern History
  • GRS HI 906 East Asian History
  • GRS HI 907 Slavic History
  • GRS HI 909 History of Science

Directed Research

Advanced study in history leading to a formal research paper. Hours arranged. Variable cr.

  • GRS HI 957 American Economic History
  • GRS HI 959 American History
  • GRS HI 961 Latin American History
  • GRS HI 965 Slavic History
  • GRS HI 967 European History
  • GRS HI 973 African History
  • GRS HI 975 Middle Eastern History
  • GRS HI 979 East Asian History
  • GRS HI 980 History of Science