MA in History

The Department of History at Boston University offers the terminal master’s degree. Qualified candidates for admission will have majored in history or a closely related field. The department expects MA candidates to expand their basic historical knowledge and to develop a working understanding of the historical profession in order to allow them to teach at the secondary school level, at a community college, or to prepare to enter a PhD program or a law school. While our general expectation is that our MA students will pursue one of these paths, we also welcome those who wish to expand their historical knowledge for a variety of other reasons.

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
  • GRS HI 850: American Historiography
  • GRS HI 870: African Historiography
  • GRS HI 801: The Historian’s Craft

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

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA degree in History are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a relevant foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination, successful completion of a non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University. 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).

Research Paper

Within the context of GRS HI 801: The Historian’s Craft, students will write a major research paper, which will be separately certified by the Graduate Studies Committee as the student’s capstone experience.