College of Arts and Letters2021-2022

Department of History

History, Master of Arts

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The M.A. in History offers a close professor-student relationship and is designed to prepare students to pursue careers in academia as well as the public and private sectors. These may include preparation for doctoral or other post-graduate degrees, teaching, public history, and public service. Our program strengths in the U.S. West and Borderlands are complemented by expertise in theoretical and thematic fields such as gender, environment, and race.

Each student will select a primary and a secondary field for in-depth examination and analysis from the following fields:  

  • Transregional and World
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
  • Public History and Interpretation
  • Politics, Economy, and Culture
  • Indigeneity and Colonialism
  • Environment and Health
  • Borderlands and U.S. West

Many students select Public History and Interpretation as either a primary or a secondary field. Public History emphasizes the application of historical knowledge to real-world issues, typically making a historical topic accessible to a non-academic public. This track prepares students for professional positions in archives, museums, historic sites, and government agencies, etc.


Student Learning Outcomes

All students graduating with the M.A. will: 

  • Elucidate key principles, theories, techniques, sources, and methods of the historical discipline and in the student’s primary and secondary fields.
  •  Explain the key principles, theories and methods of World and/or comparative history, and analyze historical processes and events and their interrelation, including debates and historiographies.
  • Develop their historical research and writing skills through analysis and interpretation of primary and secondary source materials.
    • Retrieve and analyze archival materials, historical documents and historiographical contributions and debates from various periods, interpreting and contextualizing them within their cultural, social, political, environmental, etc. contexts.
    • Demonstrate a superior quality of writing both in terms of mechanics and in developing an argument effectively. 
  • Synthesize and evaluate the pertinent arguments and debates among historians in their chosen primary and secondary fields.
Students pursuing the Research Option or Research with Public History Option will also:
  • Create an original, sustained, coherent argument based on primary and secondary sources in the form of a thesis or project that demonstrates mastery of their fields and research.
  • Articulate the key principles, theories, methodologies and issues of their topic through an oral defense of their thesis or project. 
Students pursuing the Extended Coursework Option or Extended Course work with Public History Option) will also:
  • Demonstrate a deeper mastery of the pertinent historical and historiographical arguments and debates in their chosen primary and secondary fields through written and oral exams.  
Students pursuing Public History as their primary or secondary field will also:
  • Understand and evaluate the methods of gathering, preserving, and disseminating historical knowledge in public settings and then demonstrate their mastery of these approaches through individual and/or collaborative projects.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the historiography of public history, the methods of reflective practice in public history, and the ethics and enduring issues associated with the practice of public history. Master current methods and skills in historical documentation and interpretation to make history accessible and useful to the public
    • Produce, to professional standards, a portfolio highlighting the student’s work in their public history coursework and internship.

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