Master of Arts in History


A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work is required to complete the program. Fifteen of these credits must be at the 6600-level.

Program Curriculum 30 credits total
Required Courses
HIST 6600Graduate Proseminar3
HIST 6620Research and Writing Seminar3
Digital or Professional Development Course* chosen from an outside department with approval from the Director of Graduate Studies3-6
Electives: Choose from the following to complete the credit requirements:
HIST 6605Introduction to Graduate Studies in History3
HIST 6610Introduction to Digital Humanities3
HIST 6623Global Idaho3
HIST 6664Graduate Internship3-12
HIST 6645Independent Research Project3-6
or HIST 6650 Thesis
HIST 55xx electives content courses vary. See Graduate Catalog3-12

*This course will develop students’ ability to use digital tools in research (such as GIS or digital media) and/or further improve their academic and professional marketability (such as in grant writing or digital/graphic communication).

Coursework Limitations

Students may count no more than six credits from outside the History Department, including the required digital or professional development course, toward their degree, as approved by the Graduate Director.

Capstone Requirement

Student capstone projects will be a portfolio or thesis, as outlined below.


All new students enter the program on the portfolio path. The portfolio path showcases competency across several categories of scholarly and professional activities. Students submit a professional portfolio of their work prior to their defense. All students complete an article-length manuscript from their research as part of their portfolio, along with a historiographical essay. Details on the required elements of the portfolio are found in the History Graduate Student Handbook, located on the Department of History website (


The thesis path prepares students for postgraduate study. Students pursuing the thesis path must inform the Director of Graduate Studies within their first semester and submit a formal proposal by the beginning of their second semester. Details on requirements and procedures for the thesis are available in the History Graduate Student Handbook. Students pursuing the thesis will take 3-6 credits of HIST 6650.

Presentation and Oral Defense

There will be a final departmental presentation and oral examination for each student. For students pursuing the thesis option, this will be based on the thesis. For those with the portfolio option, the presentation will focus on a research article manuscript, and the oral exam will cover the portfolio. The oral defense will be administered by a committee of graduate faculty.

Admission Requirements

The student must apply and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. In addition, applicants must comply with the following departmental requirements:

  1. Through the Graduate School application system, applicants must submit three names of references to provide letters of recommendation, at least two of which should be from individuals familiar with their academic work.
  2. Through the Graduate School application system, applicants must submit a statement of interest regarding their historical studies and academic goals. Particular attention should be given to explaining how these interests and goals relate to this program.
  3. Applicants should have at least 12 credits of previous course work in history.

BA/MA Program

Undergraduate students at ISU and BYU-Idaho may apply to enter the MA program during their fourth year, completing both degrees within as little as five years. Interested students should contact the department directly and students must apply by March 31 in their junior year.