Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

MA in History

This is a 27-hour program culminating in a MA in history. Current historical research on particular subjects is treated in 400-level courses. Original research projects are pursued in 500-level seminar courses. Applicants for the MA degree should inform the Department if they intend to continue to the PhD level. This information should be included in the personal statement section of the application. Students may attend on a full-time or part-time basis.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the M.A. in History, graduates will be able to:

  • Use the historical method to solve historical and historiographical problems while applying the perspectives of class, race, gender, etc. to historical events and trends;
  • Identify and criticize interpretive paradigms and methodologies relevant to historical scholarship and the historical profession;
  • Perform historical research in archives and libraries and evaluate the provenance, context, validity, and biases of these sources from the past;
  • Apply the necessary research skills to produce original scholarship on a chosen historical topic using primary sources while evaluating the validity, context, and biases of secondary source literature produced by other scholars;
  • Demonstrate the ability to deploy multiple forms of communication (written, oral, and new media) to discuss their own historical scholarship and graduate-level knowledge of their chosen fields.

General Requirements

All students in the MA program must take History 400; two 500-level seminar courses; and complete the portfolio requirement.

Students in the MA program are required to complete at least 12 hours (four courses, one of which must be a 500-level research seminar) in one of the following major fields:

  • Medieval and Renaissance
  • Modern Europe
  • United States

In addition, students must complete one minor field by taking three courses in a field other than their major. The minor fields are:

  • Ancient Mediterranean
  • Asia
  • Early Modern Europe
  • Gender and Women's History
  • Medieval and Renaissance
  • Middle East
  • Modern Europe
  • Public History
  • United States

Thematic minor fields (such as race and ethnicity or colonialism and empire) may be created with the approval of the Graduate Program Director. Students may also select a minor field from another discipline with the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

Students wishing to pursue a minor field in public history must meet with the Public History Program Director, formally declare public history as their minor field and indicate their plans for fulfilling the minor.

Students may take no more than two courses at the 300-level (for graduate credit) and ordinarily no more than two directed study courses (HIST 499). The distribution of hours is as follows:

History 400 3 hours
Two 500-level research seminars (one must be in the major field) 6 hours
Major field 9 hours
Minor field 9 hours
Total27 hours

500-Level Research Seminars

Students will pursue original research projects in two 500-level research seminars. One of these seminars must be in the major field. The second seminar may be in the student’s major or minor field. In these seminars, students are expected to produce research papers, approximately 25–35 pages in length, based largely on primary sources. History 599: Masters Essay may be substituted for one 500-level research seminar with the approval of the Graduate Program Director. The essay will be a research paper, approximately 25–35 pages in length, based largely on primary sources. (History 599 is structured as a directed study course, and students will need a history faculty member to supervise the master’s essay.)

Comprehensive Examinations

Toward the end of their graduate program, students must pass a take-home written examination in the major field. The student will produce two 10–15 page historiographical essays based on a reading list developed in conjunction with a two-member committee of history faculty of their choosing. The committee should be established no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to take the examination. Students will have one week to complete the exam, which will be evaluated by the committee. In addition, students satisfy the examination requirements in the minor field through earning nine credit hours with at least a B (3.0) average.

Research Tool Requirement

All master's level students must demonstrate competence in a research skill (e.g., oral history or a reading knowledge of a foreign language) appropriate to their major field. They are expected to master this skill before advancing beyond 18 credit hours. Coursework taken to master a language does not apply toward graduation.

Portfolio Requirement (Optional)

The portfolio, which represents the capstone of the program, documents the achievements of master’s students and thereby identifies their strengths, weaknesses and abilities as professional historians. Students begin compiling their portfolio during the first semester in the program. The portfolio will include at least four writing samples: 1. one broadly-defined historiographical essay written in HIST 400 in the first year of the MA program; 2. one research essay based on primary sources and 25–35 pages in length, written with the goal of publication, completed in one of the two required 500-level research seminars; 3. two historiographical essays written as part of the comprehensive examination; 4. a current resume or curriculum vita (c.v.). Students who choose public history as a minor field are encouraged to include an internship report in their portfolio. The portfolio will be evaluated by the student’s faculty advisor annually. Successful completion of the portfolio is required for admission to and/or continuation in the PhD program.