Statement of Purpose
The decision to seek an advanced degree in the History Program reflects an interest in and an appreciation for the historical past. The History Program’s purpose is threefold: to prepare individuals well qualified to teach the subject of history; to provide students with research and investigative skills applicable to academic and professional situations; and to encourage the thoughtful and continuing study of history throughout the lifetime of the individual. The History Program is committed to excellence in the education of teachers and to completeness in the preparation of students for the many History-related career opportunities beyond teaching now open. There are a few absolute requirements for each degree path, but otherwise students have great freedom in terms of topics and pace of study. Many courses are available as online offerings, though students who wish to pursue the degree mostly or entirely online may find the course offerings limited.
There is no prerequisite for beginning graduate study in history beyond completion of an undergraduate degree. An applicant who meets the Graduate School’s requirements for admission and has earned a GPA of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale) or better over 24 semester hours of undergraduate history will be admitted fully and unconditionally to the program. An applicant who does not meet that condition will be admitted conditionally. Students interested in further information about the Master of Arts program in history should write or consult with the Graduate Program Director for History (Associate Professor Jonathan Dresner; jdresner AT pittstate DOT edu). After reviewing the application, the director will assign the student a major professor to advise on matters of enrollment.
The minimum TOEFL score required for international students with a graduate major in history is 550/79 (paper-based/internet-based) for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 6.5 (overall and in all bands) for the IELTS.
There are two options available for the Master of Arts degree, both of which require that a minimum of 15 semester hours of history courses numbered 800 and above. A maximum of six semester hours of approved courses below the 700 level may also be included in the degree program. At least 21 credit hours counted toward the MA in History at PSU must be taken from PSU History faculty or those admitted to Graduate Service status at PSU. See the requirements in the full graduate program guidelines for additional information. Both options require successful completion of HIST 807 Historical Research and Historiography and at least one graduate seminar (HIST 813 Seminar in American History (___) or HIST 820 Seminar in World History (___).
OPTION I: Thesis This option requires, in addition to regular coursework, enrollment in HIST 890 Research and Thesis. The History program strongly recommends a thesis for any student planning to go on for a PhD degree as preparation for researching and writing a dissertation. Option I requires a minimum of 30 semester hours.
Option II: Problem This option is not available at this time.
OPTION III: Seminar This option requires enrollment in and passing two graduate seminars in history. This option involves three tracks to the degree. 1) Students may offer a substantial curricular project including annotated bibliography and classroom materials. 2) Students may present two revised and substantially expanded seminar papers. 3) Students may take a comprehensive examination over a broad historical field. This option requires, in addition to regular coursework, enrollment in HIST 892 Final Assessment. Option III requires 32 semester hours.
Note: Graduate students can count a maximum of six credits of 500-600 level coursework on their graduate program. Usually, 500 and 600 level courses are taken for graduate credit as History-Selected Subjects (___) 700-xx. In most cases, additional work, in the form of a paper, additional book reviews, and the like, will be required beyond the undergraduate requirements in order to obtain the advanced credit. You must have at least 15 credit hours of 800-899 classes to graduate. Historiography, seminars, and readings classes are in this category.
The current Graduate Program Guidelines offer the most complete information on specific requirements for this degree. A copy can be obtained through the department web page or by contacting the department.