Master of Arts Program in History

An M.A. in History serves the needs of persons intending to pursue a doctoral program, those seeking a collateral degree to complement other fields such as education or library science, and individuals seeking personal fulfillment.

In completing the History M.A. curriculum, you will:

  • Know the importance and critical perspective of historical knowledge for understanding contemporary society.
  • Demonstrate an advanced level of factual knowledge in your area of concentration.
  • Demonstrate mastery of the historiography of your field of historical study.
  • Demonstrate competence in the methodologies commonly employed in the discipline.
  • Demonstrate a high level of clarity, accuracy, and sophistication in written and oral communication.
  • Carry out a research project that employs both primary and secondary sources, is completed in conformity with the conventions and standards of the discipline and makes a significant contribution to knowledge.

The information below is for prospective students interested in pursuing an M.A. in History in our face-to-face program in Indianapolis. Indiana University also offers an all-online MA in History and more information about this degree can be found here.

Course Requirements (30 credit hours required)

  • H501 Historical Methodology (3 credit hours)
  • H505 Professional Development for Historians (2 credit hours)
  • H542 Introduction to Public History (3 credit hours)
  • H565 Introduction to Digital Public History (3 credit hours)
  • H650 Colloquium in US History (3 credit hours)
  • H750 Seminar in US History (3 credit hours) [Rotating topics–this course must be completed twice for a total of 6 cr. hrs.]
  • H898 Thesis (4 credit hours)
  • Elective Course work (6 credit hours): May be taken in the student’s area of research interests as available. At least 3 credit hours must be a non-US history course. Related classes at the graduate level that add breadth and depth to their training may be used as electives with approval of the students’ advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Admission Requirements:

  • Online application
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale and a minimum grade point average of a 3.3 (B+) on a 4.0 scale in the student’s undergraduate major.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  • All undergraduate coursework transcripts. A copy of each transcript may be sent initially, but official transcripts are required before enrolling in the program.
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • CV or Resume

Further information about each Admissions Requirement

  • An undergraduate major in History is not required, but applicants without such a background may be required to take additional coursework in history as a condition for acceptance in the program. If you have been out of school for a long time, or have a low undergraduate GPA, think about taking history courses at IUPUI either through the Undergraduate Non-Degree or Graduate Non-Degree programs. Courses taken through the Undergraduate Non-Degree program will not count toward an M.A. in history, while those taken Graduate Non-Degree program may count with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the IUPUI Graduate Office. Taking non-degree classes is a good way for you to get a sense of what advanced history courses are like as well as for us to get to know each other and for you to strengthen your application. Contact us at if any of these situations apply to you to discuss your application.
  • The three letters of recommendation should be from individuals familiar with your academic abilities and potential. Each recommender should submit their letter online (follow the directions in the online application for how to add your recommenders). If for some reason, a recommender cannot submit their letter online, they must send a hard copy letter directly to the address below. If you are unsure about waiving your right to see the letter, talk with your recommenders about what they advise. We would advise that you get letters of recommendation from people who can speak most directly to your ability to do graduate work in history. Try to have at least two letters from history professors or professors who have taught you in upper-level liberal arts courses.
  • A 300-500 word Personal Statement regarding your current professional goals, plans for your career, and reasons for selecting IUPUI and your chosen field of study must be included. Your statement should explain how your skills, experience, ideas, and goals make you a great fit for our program and our program the right place for you to achieve those goals. Avoid phrases and ideas that could be interpreted as trite or cliché as well as broad generalizations; be concrete, specific, direct. We want to learn about your experiences doing history and to see you thinking like a historian. If you have any potential weak spots in your application, briefly explain them. Similarly, identify positive things (like awards or publications) that set you apart. We recommend that you have someone (ideally a professor who knows you well) work with you to revise your Personal Statement. You must indicate in the first paragraph of this statement your intended area of concentration: (U.S. History or European History).
  • Writing Sample: Your writing sample should demonstrate your ability to explore and interpret history using primary and secondary sources. Your writing sample should be no more than 30 pages in length, double-spaced. Your writing sample may be substantially shorter than 30 pages as well.

Optional Elements of a Graduate Application in History

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores from the general exam are optional. (ETS school code #1325). The IUPUI History Program does not require GRE scores as part of the admissions process. We recognize that the cost and structure of this standardized test can deter qualified applicants from pursuing graduate work or gaining admission to graduate programs in our field. If you decide to take the GRE, please know that we pay the most attention to the scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing portions of the exam.
  • Demonstration of Foreign Language Skills. There is no foreign language requirement for the degree. However, those students who will incorporate foreign language documents and scholarship in their graduate work will be expected to translate non-English sources. Students considering the possibility of going on for a Ph.D. should recognize that competence in at least one and sometimes two foreign languages is often a requirement in history doctoral programs.

Graduate Non-Degree Program

Students whose applications are not complete, or who want to “test the waters” prior to submitting an application, may take a limited number of graduate courses as graduate non-degree (GND) students. Consult with the History Department’s Director of Graduate Studies (email about appropriate courses and faculty. Upon acceptance into the M.A. program, someone who has taken graduate courses as a non-degree student may petition the Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department to count up to three (3) graduate-level history courses toward the Master’s degree. The request is subject to review by a representative of Indiana University Graduate School.

Go to Graduate Non-Degree Program for more information.

For further information, please contact:

History Department Graduate Program
425 University Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-1182

Additional information about international admissions can be obtained from the Office of International Affairs.