The UCCS History Department offers a Master’s degree (MA) in History. The Department of History processes applications for admission to the program and offers courses required for the MA. The graduate program maintains high standards; it is taught only by full-time faculty with appointments to the University of Colorado Graduate Faculty. Students do not specialize in a regional history. Rather, all graduate students are exposed to a breadth of regions, time periods, and historical approaches through their course of study. Beyond quality of instruction and breadth of exposure, the core strength of the UCCS Master’s in History is its rigorous training of graduate students in the process of writing a primary-source-based research paper, grounded in the relevant historiography and theory, which makes an evidence-based argument. All graduate students complete three full research papers, which they defend in an oral examination during their last semester.
Students who complete the MA program at UCCS acquire the essential skills of the historian without having become overly specialized at an early stage in their graduate training. See also Requirements for Advanced Degrees and the general requirements of the Graduate School in this Catalog.
Learning Outcomes and Core Competencies, History, MA
During their MA studies in particular historical fields of study, graduate students will hone skills, including the ability to:
- Articulate original arguments, critical analyses, and complexity of reasoning in writing and oral discussion.
- Use, integrate, and discuss primary source evidence effectively in writing and oral discussion, based on an understanding of the methods of historical research and analysis.
- Use, integrate, and discuss secondary sources and historiography effectively in writing and oral discussion, based on an understanding of the methods of historical research and analysis.
- Use, integrate, and discuss methodological, conceptual and theoretical approaches effectively in writing and oral discussion.
- Demonstrate clarity of thought and critical thinking in the organization, form, framing, and development of arguments.
- Use proper writing mechanics, appropriate authoritative voice, and active verbs/sentence structures.
- Document sources properly in citations and bibliography.
Admission, History, MA
Applying to the History MA program is a two-tiered process, addressing requirements both for the Graduate School and for the Department of History. Application forms will also vary depending on whether you are a current UCCS student and/or UCCS alumni, or new to UCCS. The M.A. in History Program reviews applications continuous through the year (rolling deadline). To be considered for entrance into the program, applicants should have their materials submitted ideally a few months before the start of the semester. Applications will continue to be reviewed until two weeks before the official starting date of any given semester. Applications not completed two weeks before any given semester will not be considered for that semester. Please go to the UCCS Graduate School Admissions website for more information on admission tracks.
Writing Sample: For purposes of admission to the History graduate program, a writing sample is required. Writing samples in the range of 10-20 pages which highlight students’ research, writing, and analytical skills are ideal. Shorter writing samples will be accepted if necessary.
History MA Requirements
- 30 credit hours are required for the MA in History degree.
- In history courses, no grade lower than B- will count toward the completion of course work for the Master’s degree. Candidates must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in their graduate courses, or face departmental probation.
- MA candidates are required to pass an oral exam that covers the course work that they have completed. The oral examination committee will consist of three professors. Candidates will also present, and defend before the history faculty a portfolio of three papers (submitted in triplicate) that they have written in research seminars. Candidates may have no more than six credit hours of coursework pending at the time they attempt this examination. The examination, for which a student must register, will be given each semester, including summers, at times agreed upon by candidates and the history faculty.
- The department offers to evaluate the academic progress of graduate students after two semesters of course work, if they request this review. The purpose is to apprise students of their progress in professional training as historians.
History MA Required Course Work
All course work will be taken within the Department of History, with the possible exception of the elective requirement described below; further exceptions may be granted by the department’s graduate faculty and according to Graduate School regulations.
1) HIST 6000: Historiography (3-credits)
Most students must take HIST 6000 - Historiography during their first semester in the program. It is only offered in fall semester. This course examines (1) the intellectual development of history as a discipline, (2) sources, documents, and issues of authentication, and (3) varieties and schools of historical analysis.
2) Three two-semester sequences of: Readings seminar (3 credits) and associated Research seminar (4 credits), totaling 7 credits per sequence. Students take three such sequences, completing 21 credits towards their MA degree.
Seminars in any given field are offered over two consecutive semesters. The first semester in a field is a “readings” seminar (6000 level, 3 credit hours); the second semester is a “research” seminar (7000 level, 4 credit hours). Students may not take the research seminar unless they have completed the corresponding readings seminar. Students must complete the readings and research sequence in at least three historical fields for a total of 21 credit hours.
During the semester-long readings seminar, students explore the history and historiography of a major regional or thematic focus. Readings seminars familiarize students with the relevant primary and secondary literature in each field covered. Students read extensively every week and meet with their professor and colleagues to discuss, clarify, and argue about what they have read, developing their intellectual powers as historians. During the subsequent semester, students enroll in the associated Research seminar where they research and write a 25-35-page primary-source-based research paper around a central argument, which is grounded in the relevant historiography.
Depending on the rotation of faculty teaching the graduate reading/research sequences, students may select from 2-3 courses offered each semester. Students typically gain an impressive breadth of exposure to diverse historical fields since their three readings/research sequences could be in US History, Latin American History, Asian History, Middle Eastern History, or European History. Again, the strength of the program is how students are given the opportunity to engage in focused readings, research, and writing on their chosen topic (within the field) over the course of two semesters. No course may be taken twice for credit except for the variable special topics courses offered under 6690 /7690 Special Topics numbers. Exceptions to the above requirements require the approval of the history department graduate faculty committee.
3) One elective course (3 credits)
The elective course must be either an extra readings seminar or, by permission of the History Department Graduate Faculty Committee, a 3000- or 4000-level Department undergraduate course or a course at the 3000-level or higher in another department.
4) HIST 9600: Independent Study (Orals Exam and Final Portfolio submission) (3 credits)
The capstone course for the MA degree is HIST 9600 - Independent Study in History: Graduate , which includes preparation for the required final oral examination and presentation/defense of a portfolio of the three research papers. Refer to the Guide to HIST 9600 located on the website under the Graduate Program.