May 26, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, M.A.

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Admission Criteria

All applicants must first satisfy the general application requirements of The Graduate School. For information, see the information for prospective graduate students on The Graduate School website.

In addition to satisfying all admission requirements set by The Graduate School, the Department of History requires applicants to its program to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE). The department welcomes applicants from any undergraduate major, although the graduate committee may require students who have majored in other fields to take prerequisite undergraduate courses in history.

To Apply

For information about the application process, for the online application form and for application instructions, see There, applicants will upload the materials required for the application.

Required Materials

The Department of History requires all prospective applicants to submit the following:

  • GRE scores
  • Official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended
  • A brief statement of purpose, 500 words in length, that identifies the applicant’s academic or professional background, intended field of concentration and long-range career aspirations
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic work and potential for graduate study
  • A formal writing sample of approximately 10 to 20 pages that demonstrates the applicant’s analytical abilities and writing skills. Applicants who have been out of school for some time should contact the graduate director for advice on identifying appropriate recommenders and on selecting a suitable writing sample.
  • Any additional materials that demonstrate the applicant’s preparation and potential for graduate study

Application Deadlines

Complete applications must be received by January 15. Incomplete applications will not be considered; applicants are responsible for assuring that all materials have been received. The graduate committee begins its review of all complete applications after February 1. Applications received after January 15 will be reviewed in accordance with openings available in the program. Students normally matriculate in the fall semester.


The graduate program in history at James Madison University offers concentrations in world, United States and public history. Students deepen their understanding of the past and its relationship to the present, and they develop advanced skills in scholarly research, critical and creative thinking, and oral and written communication. The program serves the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia by contributing to the creation of an educated, enlightened and productive citizenry. The academic training students receive prepares them for additional graduate education in history, for teaching at the secondary level and for employment in a range of other settings such as museums, archives, government agencies, libraries, historic preservation organizations, historical sites and private businesses.

Degree Requirements

Minimum departmental requirements for the Master of Arts degree with a major in history are as follows:

  • Thirty graduate credit hours in history (HIST 653 HIST 671  and HIST 673  required)
  • All students in the U.S. concentration must take at least one offering of HIST 600  and one offering of HIST 605  . Students in the U.S. concentration must take at least 21 credits at the 600 level or above.
  • All students in the U.S. concentration and in the local/regional/public concentration must take, in addition to HIST 653  or its equivalent, three credit hours of course work outside the field of their concentration.
  • All students in the world concentration must take at least six credit hours of course work in the region(s) of their thesis and must take six credit hours of course work in regions other than the region of their thesis.
  • Completion of a thesis for six credit hours
  • Successful completion of a comprehensive examination in one of the three fields of concentration

The program offers an opportunity for concentration in three fields of history:

  • World history
  • United States history
  • Local/regional/public history

Program Guide

All Master of Arts students are required to complete the following courses.

First Year, Spring Semester

Second Year, Fall Semester

Second Year, Spring Semester

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