aerial view of campus

M.A. Program

Master of Arts Degree

Our terminal Master of Arts degree provides students with rigorous training in the skills of historical thinking, archival research, and the different modes of expression scholars use to communicate their findings to a wide audience. Completely integrated with our Ph.D. program, the M.A. in History at KU offers students the opportunity to develop subject expertise in fields of study, learn the conventions of professional scholarship in History, collaborate with other students, and receive one-on-one career advice and intellectual mentorship from our faculty.

Our M.A. program allows for full-time or part-time study, and has defined tracks in U.S. History and World History. Students also have the opportunity to take coursework outside the department in fields such as African and African-American Studies, Environmental Studies, Museum Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Students in our terminal M.A. program are self-funded, and are encouraged to inquire regarding current information for in-state/out-of-state/international tuition costs and university fees.

Admission

Many students enter the graduate program at the University of Kansas after completing an undergraduate degree in History, while others have training in related fields. Regardless, applicants are expected to demonstrate competence in the foundational skills of historical thinking, research, and writing. Moreover, students who are applying in fields in which the primary research language is not English must also show sufficient capacity in the primary research language in their proposed field in order to demonstrate proficiency in their first year in Department's graduate program.

Under Office of Graduate Studies rules, applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale in order to qualify for regular admission. Most successful applicants have undergraduate GPAs significantly above the minimum. Preference in admissions decisions will be given to applicants who do not yet possess the terminal degree in a humanities discipline.

In History at KU, we privilege high-quality graduate advising and mentorship at every stage of a student’s interaction with our department. As such, our application processes for the M.A. and M.A./Ph.D. are geared towards ensuring the best possible fit between faculty and graduate students. Graduate applicants who seek to study at the University of Kansas are required to correspond with at least one prospective faculty advisor well in advance of the application deadline. On the most basic level, these preliminary contacts with faculty give applicants a sense of whether or not the prospective advisor is currently taking new students. More than this, these conversations offer candidates for admission a better sense of how they might fit into the program at KU. Our admissions process is designed to educate prospective students about what studying at KU would really be like and about the resources the Department and University possess in their areas of interest, as well as offering an opportunity to get to know some of the people they’d be working with during their time here. Moreover, the early establishment of a relationship between prospective faculty and applicant permits students to refine their applications to better articulate the candidate’s fit with our program. The prospective faculty advisor will be able to more effectively advocate for the applicant’s candidacy based upon this correspondence.

Once candidates for admission have established correspondence with at least one prospective advisor, they must complete the online application through the KU Office of Graduate Studies. International or domestic applicants who are non-native speakers of English should carefully review Graduate Studies’ English Proficiency Requirements

The application deadline is January 5.  International applicants please schedule the TOEFL exam with this deadline in mind—scores must be received by the application deadline.

The application comprises the following:

  • Statement of Academic Objectives (two pages, double-spaced), including a clear plan for graduate research in a specific field of study. This statement should be largely academic rather than biographical and should achieve the following objectives:
    • Suggest a potential direction for your research at KU as concretely as possible;
    • Outline how you see an M.A. in History fitting into your broad career goals; and
    • Identify specific chronological, geographical, and thematic areas of interest
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Writing Sample (maximum twenty-five pages, double-spaced). The Department is interested in reviewing the best-crafted, most persuasively argued writing sample that applicants are able to provide. Such papers are often derived from an upper-level undergraduate history class in which the student conducted independent research and employed both primary and secondary sources. 
  • GRE Scores are not required.
  • Official Transcript from each institution that has granted you a degree, or at which you are currently enrolled
  • Three letters of recommendation – The letters can be directly uploaded online directly by those who write the recommendations, or they can be mailed to the Department of History, ATTN: Graduate Academic Advisor, Wescoe 3650, 1445 Jayhawk Boulevard, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045. A recommendation form for hard copy letters may be downloaded below.

    Graduate Letter of Recommendation Form (.pdf)

Please note that documents, including a writing sample and transcripts, should be uploaded to the application. Applicants should not send hard copies of application materials to the Department of History.

When you submit your online application, it is made available to the Department of History for review, yet it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the Office of Graduate Studies has received all materials by the deadline. The Department of History Graduate Office cannot process your application and move it forward for consideration by the Graduate Committee until all materials have been received. The Department of History reviews applications for completeness, and the Graduate Academic Advisor will contact you if your application is not complete.

Careers

As the intermediate degree in the field of History, the Master of Arts provides students with numerous opportunities to pursue further study in History, Law, and other fields, as well as a variety of non-academic professional outcomes.

Students in our M.A. program have continued to Ph.D. programs at Princeton, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge, among other storied institutions. Others have used the skills and knowledge obtained during their M.A. study to further their careers as secondary educators, taking on leadership and curricular development roles throughout the region. Students from our M.A. program have also excelled as archivists, museum curators and development officers, and as staffers at a wide range of governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations.
Aerial view of campanile and Jayhawk Boulevard during Autumn

Graduate Contacts

Robert Schwaller
  • Associate Professor
  • Director of Graduate Studies
  • Mexico, Central America, Caribbean; intellectual and social history of race; African Diaspora in Latin America; ethnohistory of Mesoamerica.