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History Department
History Department

Master of Arts in History

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the graduate program, applicants must meet the following minimum criteria:
1. Complete 21 semester hours of work in history, including a course on historical research, with a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale).

2. Earn an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale).

3. Submit an essay of 250-500 words describing his or her interests in history and why he or she wishes to earn an M.A. degree.

4. Submit 2 letters of recommendation. Because we seek to determine your potential as a historian, letters of recommendation should be solicited primarily from historians with whom you have worked during your academic career. If you did not major in history and therefore cannot get many (or any) letters from historians, then letters from professors in the field in which you majored are the next best thing. Letters of recommendation from employers, family friends, and the like are essentially useless to us, unless your employer or friend is a historian (or perhaps an archivist or a curator), has a graduate degree in history (or a related field), or works closely with historians.

5. Provide a writing sample (generally of 10-12pp in length) from an upper division history course.

All Application materials must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, along with the application found at Graduate Studies Application Process. Application Deadlines: Fall Admission, July 5; Spring Admission, November 15.

The History Graduate Program Committee may choose, in rare cases, to admit provisionally any student who does not meet all of the above requirements, with the understandings that all conditions for unconditional admission must be met before any Graduate Student Only courses may be taken.

Students who have no undergraduate course in historical research and writing must successfully complete HIST 2980 (Historical Research) during the first two semesters of their enrollment. This course, required of all undergraduate history majors at UNO seeks to develop two skills essential to all historians: the ability to write clearly and to do critical and thorough research. Students who lack these skills may anticipate serious problems in their studies.

Interpretation of this requirement rests with the History Graduate Program Committee. Students who believe that they have taken a comparable course or have acquired equivalent skills, should submit examples of their work, which will enable the Graduate Program Committee to assess their proficiency.

For further information, contact via e-mail:

John A. Grigg, Associate Professor of History
Graduate Program Chair
Via e-mail jgrigg@unomaha.edu

Programs of Study

A candidate must complete their MA degree within eight (8) years. A candidate who, owing to extenuating circumstances, is unable to meet this requirement may appeal to the Graduate Program Chair and/or the History Department Graduate Committee for an extension of time. Such extensions will normally only be granted in cases of serious illness or military deployment.

In these descriptions of the programs of study for the M.A. in history, the following courses are considered to be “graduate student only” courses:
• HIST8010 Research/Directed Readings
• HIST8020 Graduate Internship
• HIST8030 Graduate Historical Methodology
• HIST9100 Seminar in History
• HIST9200 Colloquium in History

M.A. Program with Thesis

The 30-hour program includes six (6) hours of thesis credit plus twenty-four (24) credit hours in graduate coursework. This program is especially recommended for students who wish to continue work toward a Ph.D. but is open to any student. Students intending to write a thesis are encouraged, but not required, to complete HIST8030, Graduate Historical Methodology.

There are three options for completing the 24 hours of coursework.

1. A total of twenty-four (24) hours of graduate courses in history.

2. Fifteen (15) hours of approved graduate coursework in history plus nine (9) approved hours of graduate coursework in a related field that will constitute a minor. Permission to take a graduate minor must be obtained from the Graduate Program Chair and/or the History Department Graduate Committee. The department in which the minor is planned must be consulted to determine the student's eligibility to do graduate work in that department.

3. Fifteen (15) hours of approved graduate courses in history, plus nine (9) approved hours of graduate work in ethnic, gender, urban, regional or other approved thematic study from two or more departments other than the history department. Permission to take a thematic studies program must be approved by the Graduate Program Chair and/or the History Department Graduate Committee.

In planning their program of study, all candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

• Complete at least three hours of HIST9100
• Complete at least three hours of HIST9200
• Complete at least three further hours from either HIST9100 or HIST9200
• Complete at least three more hours of coursework in “graduate student only” courses
• Students completing an MA with thesis may include no more than 3 hours total from among HIST8010 and HIST8020

Students who intend to write a thesis should bear in mind that this is a substantial undertaking and one that normally takes at least a year of focused research, background reading, writing, and revision to complete. An MA thesis must present original research and provide evidence of both extensive research in primary sources and engagement with current scholarship on the subject matter in question. Students should develop some idea of a topic well before they complete their coursework and, in conjunction with the Graduate Program Chair, determine which department member is best suited to supervise this thesis. Each member of the department has complete discretion as to whether he or she will work with a particular student and whether the proposed topic is acceptable. Further discussion on thesis topics will be addressed during advising and/or new student orientation.

M.A. Program Without Thesis

Candidates must complete thirty-six (36) hours of graduate courses under one of the following options:

1. A total of thirty-six (36) hours of graduate coursework in history.

2. Twenty-seven (27) hours of approved graduate coursework in history plus nine (9) approved hours of graduate course work in a related field that will constitute a minor. Permission to take a graduate minor must be obtained from the Graduate Program Chair and/or the History Department Graduate Committee. The department in which the minor is planned must be consulted to determine the student's eligibility to do graduate work in that department.

3. Twenty-seven (27) hours of approved graduate coursework in history, plus nine (9) approved hours of graduate coursework in ethnic, gender, urban, regional or other approved thematic study from two or more departments other than the history department. Permission to take a thematic studies program must be approved by the Graduate Program Chair and/or the History Department Graduate Committee.

In planning their program of study, all candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

• Complete at least three hours of HIST9100
• Complete at least six hours of HIST9200
• Complete at least a further three hours from either HIST9100 or HIST9200
• Complete at least a further six hours in “graduate student only” courses.
• No candidate completing an MA without thesis may include more than 6 hours total from among HIST8010 and HIST8020.

Candidates who elect the MA without thesis options are required to take comprehensive exams after completing all their course work.
Students completing comprehensive exams have a total of six hours to write the exams, divided into two three hours days. On each day students are provided a list of five questions of which they have to answer three. Students are required to pass each day with a B- being the lowest passing grade. Students who fail either half of their comprehensive exams are permitted to re-take that half of the exam once. A second failure on that half of the exam constitutes a failure to successfully complete the MA program. Students who fail both halves of their comprehensive exams are permitted to re-take the entire exam once. A second failure on either half of the exam constitutes a failure to successfully complete the MA program.

The content of the comprehensive exams depends upon the make up of the student’s course of study. In general, students who complete 27 hours or more of coursework in US history will take the US General Exams. Students who complete less than 27 hours of coursework in US history will take an exam which is tailored to fit their program of study. The exact content of these exams will be determined in consultation with the Graduate Program Chair.

Further details on comprehensive exams will be provided during advising and/or new student orientation.

Course Attendance Requirement and Withdrawal Policy

All History Department faculty may at their own discretion remove from any class any graduate student who misses three or more classes during a single semester.

The History Department Graduate Program Committee may remove from the program any student who withdraws from three or more courses.

Academic Progress

In addition to conforming to all requirements for academic progress laid down by Graduate Studies, the History Department notes the following: pursuant to the section “Automatic Dismissal” in the Graduate Catalog wherein is noted “Departments/Schools may have additional and more stringent criteria for evaluating a student’s performance and may demand a higher level of performance than that demanded by the Graduate College,” please note:

The History Department at UNO will automatically dismiss from the program any student who is awarded any grade below B- in two (or more) classes, regardless of whether or not they have complied with other requirements of satisfactory progress.

Graduate Minor in History

To earn a graduate minor in history, a student must complete 9 hours of graduate level history courses with the grade of a "B" (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better

Graduate Minor in Native American Studies

The minimum requirement for the graduate minor is 9 credits taken at the 8000 and/or 9000 levels.

A student's program will be planned in consultation with the Native American Studies (NAS) Graduate Advisor who will hold Graduate Faculty status. This cross-disciplinary minor will include choices among approved graduate lecture classes, seminars and Directed Reading courses.

Three hours of thesis can be counted toward the minimum requirements of 9 credits, but only if the Graduate Advisor and the thesis committee members agree that this is a Native American related topic.

Students must complete each course of their 9 credit minor with a grade of "B" (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher.

No comprehensive exam will be required after completion of the three required courses for the minor.

All courses added to the NAS graduate curriculum in the future, must first be approved by the Native American Studies faculty as a committee-of-the whole.

NAS faculty will likewise work in concert with the individual departments/schools that offer relevant courses for the minor. Credit hours will be assigned to the home department of the individual instructor who teaches a specific course.


Clio, one of the nine Greek muses, was later referred to as the Muse of History. A daughter of Zeus, Clio was highly regarded for her brilliant poetry and heroic acts. Her image usually includes a parchment scroll (an ancient source of record), a set of tablets (another ancient source of records), books, and/or a clarion (or trumpet). In her hair, she wears a laurel wreath. The image of Clio on this web page was taken from a ca. 1660 painting by Johannes Vermeer entitled, The Art of Painting..