M.A. Degree in History

The advisor for all M.A. degree candidates is the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in History. Each student must consult with the DGS concerning his/her program each semester of the first year of study and at least once each year thereafter.  In addition, each student should select a Major Advisor before the end of the first year of graduate work.



  • 695K Historiography in the first year
  • 18 units in the major field of study
  • 18 units in 695-696 courses
  • 12 units of approved electives
  • Reading knowledge of a second language
  • Thesis or 2 seminar papers option
  • Comprehensive exam or thesis defense


Residence and Credit Requirements

Candidates for the M.A. degree must complete 33 units of graduate work, HIST 695K plus 30 units as described above.  The average grade in these courses must be 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.  Candidates may elect to write a Master’s thesis or two research seminar papers.


Program of Study

Of the 33 units required for the M.A. degree, 18 units must be in one of the following fields:

  • Early European History
  • Modern European History
  • United States History
  • Latin American History
  • Asian History


Of the remaining 12 units, 6 units may be taken in another department or transferred from another approved graduate program.  These courses must be approved by the major advisor and the DGS.  During your first year in the program you must fill out a form listing all potentially transferable courses.  The specific courses to be transferred on your plan of study, made out in conjunction with your committee.

Of the total 33 units, 18 must be in 695-696 courses (6 of these 18 units may be taken in Thesis credits instead).  Students who do not choose the thesis option must take two 696 courses, where the required two seminar papers will be written.

In fields where 695 or 696 courses are not regularly or sufficiently available, students may meet the 18-unit requirement in the major field by doing at least one colloquium in the major field, taking relevant 695 or 696 courses in other departments (6 units max.) and taking either a World History Colloquium or a Comparative History Colloquium (3 units max).  Appeals to substitute a 699 in lieu of a colloquium or seminar in the major field will require extraordinary and compelling justification and must be approved in writing by the student’s major advisor and the DGS.

During their first year of study all graduate students must take History 695K, the department’s course in historiography/ methodology.  This course CANNOT count as part of the 18 units required in the fields listed above OR as part of the 18 units of 695 or 696.  It does count as part of the 33 total units.

A student’s program shall not include more than three units of Independent Studies (History 599 or 699), unless permission to exceed this limit has been given by the DGS and the Department Head.


Reports and Examinations

Every candidate for the Master’s degree must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one second language before taking the comprehensive examination. For details respecting the language requirement, see LANGUAGE  REQUIREMENTS AND TESTS.

In the second semester of work, each M.A. student will select an M.A. committee consisting of the Major Advisor plus two other faculty members.  At least one of the latter must be a member of the History Department.  By the end of the second semester in residence, each candidate must submit a Master’s Plan of Study form to the Graduate College for approval.  Deadlines are listed on the Graduate College website.  The plan of study should be developed in consultation with the major advisor and the DGS.  It includes courses to be transferred, courses taken at the U of A, and courses to be taken to fulfill program requirements.  An annual progress report must be submitted every year in January on the financial award form distributed on the graduate listserv.


Master’s Thesis

If you choose to write a Master’s thesis, the DGS will assist you in selecting an appropriate advisor within the Department.  Your advisor, when satisfied that you have the requisite background and competence, will approve the thesis project and direct it through the stages of preparation.  You should write at least a portion of the thesis in a seminar given by your advisor.  When you complete the thesis, its acceptability will be examined by your M.A. Committee as part of your Comprehensive Examination.


Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination for the M.A. degree will be either oral or written, at the discretion of the student’s committee.  The M.A. examination will be administered by your M.A. committee.  The MA committee should consist of your major advisor and two other faculty members, at least one of whom must be in your major field.  It is best if you have taken courses from all committee members.  Topics for the M.A. exam and fundamental bibliography will be assembled by the student and his/her committee.  Oral examinations will not exceed three hours.  Normally, written examinations will consist of a 24 hour take home exam from each of the three faculty members on the student’s committee.


Advancement to Ph.D. Program

If you want to be considered for advancement to the Ph.D. program after you have passed the M.A. examination, fill out the department’s “Student Petition for Advancement to the Ph.D. Program” form and the Graduate College’s “Request for Change of Degree Program” form.  Submit these forms to the History Graduate Program Coordinator, who will make a copy for the student’s files.  The decision on advancement will be made by your M.A. committee and the Graduate Advisory Committee.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

Department of History
César E. Chávez Bldg.
Main Office, Room 415 
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Tucson, AZ 85721

Email: history@email.arizona.edu
Tel: (520) 621-1586
Fax: (520) 621-2422