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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 24, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

History, MA

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The graduate program in history is committed to training area specialists with a global perspective. Our students learn how to research, interpret and teach the histories and historiographies of particular places from comparative, cross-cultural, transnational and global perspectives. Close cooperation with the interdisciplinary programs in Latin American Studies, Russian and East European Studies, West European Studies, and Asian Studies, coordinated under the University Center for International Studies, strengthen the international orientation of the program, with graduate students from Europe, Asia, and Latin America joining American students pursuing a PhD degrees.

Requirements for the Master’s Degree

While the History Department does not offer a terminal Master’s Degree, for students admitted with funding, graduate students get the Master’s Degree while working towards their PhD. The requirements for being awarded the Master of Arts in history should be met within two years. Ten units of work (30 credits) are required for the degree. Of these ten, as many as six may be lecture courses numbered 1002 through 1999 series- these are undergraduate courses-subject to the approval of the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, but students are encouraged to take as much of their work as possible at the graduate seminar level. At least five units must be seminars. One of the ten units, three must be outside the Department of History in a related discipline. In addition, students must take 9 credits in seminars or transnational/thematic history and 6 credits in a regional field (Asia, Europe, Latin America, or the United States).

First Research Tool: The Master’s degree requires the completion of the first research tool, which consists of reading proficiency in one foreign language. Students select, in consultation with their advisor, the language most useful to their specialization. Students are urged to complete language preparation before entering graduate school, not only to lighten their workload, but also because some seminars require the use of a second language.

Research paper: To complete their MA degree, students write a research paper of approximately 10,000 words, which is kept as part of their permanent record and is considered equivalent to a master’s thesis. This paper, normally developed in a research seminar, must be based on original research and should be potentially publishable.

MA committee: In consultation with their advisor, students create a three-person committee for their M.A. examination, usually chaired by their advisor. At least two of the committee members must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Before students can sit for their M.A. exam, the chair of the M.A. committee must approve the final version of the research paper.

MA examination and admission to the Ph.D. program: The M.A. examination will be a one-hour oral examination. Questions will be based on the M.A. research paper. At the conclusion of the examination, the committee will inform the student of its decision as to whether or not it recommends that the student be awarded the M.A. degree. If the student has expressed a desire to enter the Ph.D. program, the committee will also make a determination as to whether or not it recommends admission into the Ph.D. program. At the earliest opportunity, the M.A. committee’s evaluation of the examination must be reported to the department, which must approve admission into the Ph.D. program.

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