Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

MA in History

This is a 30-hour program culminating in a MA in history. 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 MA 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 Degree Requirements


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
Three major field courses 9 hours
Three minor field courses 9 hours
One History elective 3
Total30 hours

All students in the MA program must take History 400: Twentieth Century Approaches to History. Current historical research on particular subjects is treated in other 400-level courses, and original research projects are pursued in 500-level seminar courses. Apart from the specified coursework, History MA students are required to fulfill one Research Tool and take Comprehensive Exams in their major field (see below).

To view a course catalogue, click on one of the following links:

Students in the MA program are required to complete at least 12 hours (three 400-level courses and one 500-level research seminar) in one of the following major fields:

  • Medieval
  • Modern Europe
  • United States

In addition, students must complete one minor field by taking three courses in a field other than their major.  We encourage all MA students to take History 403 and this course counts towards the minor field.   The minor fields are:

  • Gender and Women's History
  • Medieval
  • 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.

The History elective course (3 hours) can enhance either your major or minor field of study.

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 only take courses at the 400 and 500-level and ordinarily no more than two directed study courses (HIST 499). 

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.

Research Tool Requirement

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

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.