M.A. in History
The Department of History at Western Illinois University offers a program of study leading to the Master of Arts degree in WIU's School of Graduate Studies. The Department of History's M.A. program provides advanced education in the discipline of history with special responsibility to history majors in order to prepare them for a variety of careers to include teaching at various levels, academia, public and government service, publishing, and research, among others. Check out the latest on research funding opportunities and workshops for our History graduate students. For the latest news about our graduate students and program, see below. Information on Graduate Assistantships is provided below.
M.A. graduates with Dr. Greg Hall
History Graduate Program
In order to ensure the greatest flexibility, the Department of History offers three plans of study that can be tailored to meet the specific needs and interests of individual students. These plans of study are: the course-intensive coursework program; a special project; and the thesis option (recommended for students considering further study at the Ph.D. level and available only with permission of the Graduate Advisor. The History Department's Graduate Handbook has complete information on the graduate program. Our website includes a complete list of all graduate History courses offered by WIU's History Department; this list is more complete than that found in the University's Graduate Catalog. The Department also offers research funding opportunities for graduate students conducting research for graduate seminars, doing thesis research, or presenting their research papers at off-campus academic conferences.
Presentations at Dr. Roberts's Graduate Research Seminar
In order to be considered for admission to the Graduate Program, students must meet the admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies and should have completed a minimum of 18 semester hours of undergraduate course work in history.
The WIU History Department awards a limited number of two-year Graduate Assistantships to the most outstanding students admitted to the History M.A. program. See the Graduate School website for information on eligibility for Graduate Assistantships at WIU. To apply, a student must complete the GA application available on-line. All forms, personal statements, and letters of recommendation should be sent to the Graduate School. Please request that your GA application documents be forwarded to the History Department. Students may apply at any time; position availability varies, depending on the number of students continuing in GA positions. In addition to the GA positions awarded by the History Department, History M.A. students may seek funding opportunities throughout the University. In the past History M.A. students have worked as Graduate Assistants in Malpass Library, the University Writing Center, the Secondary Education Program, the WIU Foundation, and the Office of Academic Services. Graduate Assistants receive a monthly stipend in addition to tuition waivers. The deadline to apply for GA positions starting in Fall semester is March 15 and for those starting in Spring semester is October 15.
Typically, students will select either United States or European history as their major field. In some cases, a constructed field representing a different geographical region (Latin America, Asia, Africa, etc.) or theme (such as technology, gender, or military history) may be selected in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and with the approval of the Department's Graduate Committee.
Minor fields of study may be taken in United States, European, or non-Western history.
Plan I. Thesis: Students choosing the Thesis Plan must first secure approval from the graduate director and the consent of a professor who is willing to direct the thesis before pursuing this option. The Thesis Option requires 31 credit hours of course work, including the completion of a masters-level history thesis. The student writes the thesis in his/her major field, which is customarily in US or European history. The student can request to write a thesis in another field, but only after securing the approval of the thesis adviser, the graduate director, and the graduate committee. Students must balance their 400G and 500/600-level coursework so that they take more credit hours in 500/600-level courses. This is a School of Graduate Studies requirement; it can only be changed or waived through a special petition. Two research seminars are required in this plan. Students should commit to the thesis option no later than the second semester in the MA program. Because the student will need to do background reading, research, writing, and work with a committee of at least three readers/advisers, students should allow three semesters (and summer break) for the process. To earn the MA degree the student must defend the thesis (Exit Option A) upon its completion.
Students in the Thesis Plan must enroll in the following: History 500 (Historical Theory & Methods: 4 hrs.); Major field of study (five courses: 15 hrs.); Minor field of study (two courses: 6 hrs.); History 600 (Thesis Research: 3 hrs.); History 601 (Thesis Writing: 3 hrs.).
Plan II. Special Project: Students choosing the Special Project Plan must first secure the approval of the graduate director and the consent of a professor who is willing to direct the Special Project. The Special Project option requires 35 credit hours on topics spread across a variety of geographic areas. Students are required to choose their major and minor areas of study. In addition to the courses that cover the major/minor areas, students must also complete History 500, two research seminars, one reading seminar in the major field, and History 698 and 699. Students must balance their 400G and 500-level coursework, so that they are taking more 500-level courses than 400G courses. This is a School of Graduate Studies requirement; it can only be changed or waived through a special petition. The project must be approved by the graduate adviser and graduate committee. Possible projects include, but are not limited to, the following: presenting a professional conference paper, editing a series of primary documents, writing a paper for publication, conducting and transcribing oral history interviews, and curating museum displays. Students must enroll in History 599 for at least 4 credit hours to complete the Special Project. Students are required to take exit option B, the comprehensive written and oral exams, in their last semester of course work. These exams include questions on methodology and the significance of the Special Project. The professor supervising the Special Project must be on the examination committee.
Students in the Special Project Plan must enroll in the following: History 500 (Historical Theory & Methods: 4 hrs.); Major field of study (five courses: 15 hrs.); Minor field of study (three courses: 9 hrs.); Elective (one course: 3 hrs.); History 599 (Special Project: 4 hrs.); History 698 (Written Exam); History 699 (Oral Exam). The courses chosen to fulfill the student's major, minor, and elective requirements must include at least one reading seminar in the major field and at least two research seminars.
Plan III. General Coursework: Students taking the General Coursework Plan must first secure the approval of the graduate director. In this plan, students are required to take 37 credit hours of courses on topics spread across a variety of geographic areas. Students must choose a major and a minor area of study. Students must balance their 400G and 500-level coursework, so that they are taking more 500-level courses than 400G courses. This is a School of Graduate Studies requirement; it can only be changed or waived through a special petition. Students are required to take exit option B, the comprehensive written and oral exams, in their last semester of course work.
Students in the General Coursework Plan must enroll in the following: History 500 (Historical Theory & Methods: 4 hrs.); Major field of study (six courses: 18 hrs.); Minor field of study (three courses: 9 hrs.); Elective (two course: 6 hrs.); History 698 (Written Exam); History 699 (Oral Exam). The courses chosen to fulfill the student's major, minor, and elective requirements must include at least one reading seminar in the major field and at least two research seminars.
For further information about graduate study in history at Western Illinois University or to request application materials, please contact the Department of History at (309) 298-3416 or e-mail Professor Greg Hall , Graduate Director.
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