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
Digital or Professional Development Course* chosen with approval from the Director of Graduate Studies3
Electives: Choose from the following to complete the credit requirements:
HIST 6620Research and Writing Seminar3
HIST 6623Global Idaho3
HIST 6664Graduate Internship3
HIST 6695History Colloquium1
HIST 6640Graduate Historiography3-6
or HIST 6645 Independent Research Project
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, pedagogy, 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 comprehensive exam option or thesis, as outlined below.

Comprehensive Exams

All new students enter the program on the comprehensive exams path. The comprehensive exam path showcases competency across two historiographical fields. In collaboration with two graduate faculty members in History, students choose one field within United States History, and one field from outside of United States History. For both fields, students sit for a written exam, taking two exams in total. Students have seven days to write each exam and receive the results of their exams (pass or fail) within a week of submission. Students who do not pass either or both of their written exams may retake the exam(s), consisting of new questions, within two weeks of the original exam(s). Following the successful completion of both written exams, students sit for one oral exam. Students prepare for their comprehensive exams in 3-6 credits of HIST 6640: Graduate Historiography. Details on the requirements of the comprehensive exams 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 year and submit a formal proposal by the end 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

Every student will sit for a final oral examination. Thesis students will offer a public presentation on their research, followed by an oral examination from their committee. All oral defenses 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 the 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 coursework in History. Teachers with at least three years of classroom experience teaching history or social studies may request an exemption from this requirement. These applicants should address how their experience teaching provides evidence of content knowledge in their statement of interest. Students admitted under this provision need to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA over their first nine credits of graduate coursework in History.
  4. Applicants for Fall admission must apply by March 31 to be considered for funding, and by May 1 to be considered for admission. Applicants for Spring admission must apply by November 1.


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.