The M.A. degree introduces students to professional historical study by combining analytical rigor with training in a broadly defined field of history.
M.A. students master the principal outlines of events, developments and ideas, and continuities and changes in the field. They gain thorough understanding of the historiography and the methods and approaches that historians past and present have applied. They develop research skills with primary and secondary sources, and sharpen their analytical thinking and written and oral communication skills.
Catholic University’s Department of History offers the M.A. in the following areas:
- medieval European history
- modern European history (with options to emphasize either early modern or recent modern eras)
- colonial-era and post-revolutionary American history
- Religion and Society in the Late Medieval and Early Modern World (described elsewhere in this site), which capitalizes upon the department’s unique concentration of faculty expertise in these fields and upon the centrality of religious history to the department’s mission.
Students choose the M.A. in history at Catholic University for many reasons. Some do so to further careers in teaching, museums or public history, or as a preparation for professional careers demanding research skills. Others do so as a foundation for subsequent study for the Ph.D. here or elsewhere, or simply out of dedication to their fascination with history. The department offers joint programs in history and library and information science (M.A./M.S.L.I.S.), which is ideal preparation for careers in academic libraries and archives and in heritage preservation management, and history and law (M.A./J.D.), which helps future lawyers develop superior research and writing skills.
The M.A. requirements include
- a minimum of 30 credit-hours of coursework, or 10 courses (up to 6 graduate-level credit-hours may be transferred from another university)
- of these courses one must be History 601 (Historical Analysis and Methodology), two must be research seminars (800-level courses or History 793, Directed Research), and the remainder are colloquia or readings courses
- proficiency in one foreign language (except for students in medieval history, who must demonstrate proficiency in two foreign languages of which one must be Latin)
- a comprehensive examination lasting four hours per day on two consecutive days, after or near completion of coursework
The M.A. usually requires three or four semesters of full-time study.
All applicants for graduate study in History are automatically considered for funding, provided the application is received by the February 1 deadline. No separate application is necessary. The Department will ordinarily admit a Ph.D. applicant only when it is able to offer that applicant a funding package, usually a combination of scholarships for tuition, teaching assistantships and stipends. The Department admits M.A. applicants with or without funding, and is able to offer tuition scholarships only to some M.A. applicants. Students in the joint M.A./M.S.L.I.S. program are eligible for additional funding from the Department of Library and Information Sciences and are encouraged to consult them directly. Do note some of the University-wide awards require high GRE scores. CUA is an equal opportunity educational institution.
The initial point of advising is the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Lev Weitz, to whom prospective students should address questions.
For full details of all aspects of the degree and its requirements, consult the History Department Graduate Handbook.