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Degree Requirements

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Degree Requirements

I. General
II. Thesis Track
III. Non-Thesis Track
IV. Study Plan & Bibliography
V. Examinations

I. General

NOTE: Degree requirements include those below and those outlined for the master's degree by the Graduate School.

History M.A. students, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, normally choose their concentration and their minor field in the first semester of course work. The minor field must be geographically distinct from the major field (note that a Modern World concentration requires no minor field).

By the end of their first semester, students also should select a faculty mentor whose research specialty reflects the student's main area of scholarly focus. The faculty mentor helps the student select an appropriate course of study, serves as the major professor of the written and oral examinations, and, if applicable, directs the student's M.A. thesis project.

Finally, all students must pass both a comprehensive written examination within their major area of concentration and a final oral examination covering all aspects of graduate course work.


II. Thesis Track

The M.A. with thesis involves 30 semester hours, up to six of which may be completed as HIS 5950 (thesis credit). Students on the thesis track work closely with their intended thesis advisor to prepare a thesis proposal, submitted normally in the second semester of course work.

The proposal must outline an original research project, the methodology to be employed, and must include a substantial bibliography of relevant primary and secondary sources. The proposal must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee before a student is permitted to enroll in HIS 5950.

Once approved, students writing a thesis should obtain a Thesis Manual from the Graduate School. The thesis must conform to the rules and mechanics of the most recent edition of Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers. The thesis director and two other readers with professional knowledge in the topic area (one of whom may be outside the history department) must approve the completed work. The thesis director and at least one of the final readers shall also sit on the individual's oral examination committee.

HISTORY (M.A. with thesis)

Approved History courses numbered 4750 or above* . . . . . . . . 21 s.h.
HIS 5000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 s.h.
HIS 5950 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 s.h.
TOTAL. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 s.h.

Students with American and European concentrations complete at least 18 semester hours (including HIS 5950) in their field of concentration, and 9 semester hours in the student's minor field. Those with a Modern World concentration complete at least 18 credits in non-Western history (post 1700), 6 credits in European, 3 credits in US.


*No more than 10 semester hours in courses numbered 4750-4999 may be applied to the degree. If a student can demonstrate that graduate courses in other disciplines are necessary to his or her goals, the coordinator may approve a limited number of hours outside of history.

Recent theses include:

-Jason A. Miller, "A Neighbors' War: Provost Marshals, Desertion, The Draft and Political Violence on the Central Illinois Home Front, 1861-1865" (M.A. 2012) (Distinguished Thesis for Arts and Humanities, 2012)

-Ryan D'Arcy, "Westfield College: The Wealth of Community" (M.A. 2011)

-Chad Cussen, "War and the Sentimental Past: Memory and Emotion in the Aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War" (M.A. 2010)

-Erin Crawley, "The Lower Class of Traitors have also their Architects of Plots: the London Irish, the United Irish, and the Creation of Irish Identities, 1780-1800" (M.A. 2009)

-Eric Orr, "Six degrees of Guillelmus Mancip: a study of connections between donors to the military orders in 12th Century Toulouse" (M.A. 2009)

-Rachel Kleinschmidt, "Soil Sisters: Independent Land Owning Women in Coles and Douglas Counties, Illinois, 1870-1930" (M.A. 2008)

-Annie Tock, "'I see by this woman's features, that she is capable of any wickedness': Murderous Women, Public Justice, and Social Order in London, 1674-1799" (M.A. 2008, CAH Distinguished Thesis Award)

-Krishna A. Thomas, "Lola's Story: Writing Comfort Women in World War II History in the Philippines" (M.A. 2008)

-Patrick W. Harris, "Capturing Opportunity: How the Conquest of James I shaped the Society and Culture of Mallorca, 1229-1247" (M.A. 2008)

-Ryan Ervin, "The Slave Trade, the Constitutional Convention, and the Compromises that Led to Union: A Reinterpretation (M.A. 2006, Honorable Mention EIU Distinguished Master Thesis Award)

-Crawley, Erin. "The Lower Class of Traitors have also their Architects of Plots": the London Irish, the United Irish, and the Creation of Irish Identities, 1780-1800 (M.A. 2009).


III. Non-Thesis Track

(32 semester hours)

HISTORY (M.A. without thesis)

Approved History courses numbered 4750 or above* . . . . . . .29 s.h.
HIS 5000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .3 s.h.
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 s.h.

Students with American and European concentrations complete at least 18 semester hours (including HIS 5950) in their field of concentration, and 9 semester hours in the student's minor field. Those with Modern World concentrations complete at least 18 credits in non-Western history (post 1700), 6 credits in European, 3 credits in US.
*No more than 12 s.h. in courses numbered 4750-4999 may be applied to the degree. If a student can demonstrate that graduate courses in other disciplines are necessary to his or her goals, the Coordinator may approve a limited number of hours outside of History.


IV. Study Plan and Bibliography

During the first semester of course work, the student chooses a history professor to mentor the student's progress in his or her intended concentration. The student should meet with the mentor (as well as the graduate coordinator) from time to time to monitor progress towards exams.

A formal study plan should be approved by the department graduate coordinator and filed in the Graduate School, at the beginning of the last semester in which the student is enrolled in courses counting toward the graduate degree.

The student must also contact professors who agree to serve as exam committee members based on the student's concentration at that time. Also in their last semester, all students prepare a bibliography of all works read during their graduate studies, which becomes the basis for their written and oral exams.


V. Examinations

All candidates must pass written comprehensive examinations in the student's concentration and an oral comprehensive examination in both concentration and minor field upon completion of all course work, and submit a graded and revised research paper and a bibliography of works read during their graduate studies.

Unless modified by agreement with the coordinator, European concentration exams will be composed of questions on early modern (1500-1815) and modern (1815-present) Europe; American concentration exams will be composed of questions on colonial to Reconstruction (to 1877) and Reconstruction to the present (from 1877).

One of these examiners shall be considered the student's chief examiner and shall also chair the oral examination. The two additional members of the oral examination committee shall represent the other part of the major and the minor areas of concentration. Modern World concentration exams cover the period from 1700, and committee makeup consists of two faculty members with specialization in African, Asian, or Latin American History, and one member specializing in either European or American History.

The written comprehensive exam shall consist of answering four out of six broad area questions and should be taken during the term in which course work is completed. The exam will be graded pass/fail by two examiners within the department who specialize in the principal area of concentration.

Those students whose written exams (both parts) are awarded a "pass with distinction" by both readers from the committee may be awarded (upon the approval of the full exam committee) the same "pass with distinction" on the certificate of comprehensive knowledge (and upon the transcript) upon successful completion of the oral examination.

The oral examination lasts approximately an hour and can be taken only after the successful completion of the written comprehensive and all required course work (except finals for that semester). If needed, there is a 60-day waiting period before a second exam may be taken.

NOTE: Students who receive a failing grade on either portion of the examination in three successive attempts forfeit the right to earn their degree.