This master’s program is designed for students who already have completed a non-terminal baccalaureate degree with a major in History or a related field. Students may pursue this master’s degree as a terminal degree or may leave open the option of continuing to a doctorate.

In this program, students will typically develop an in-depth knowledge of three fields of historical scholarship in their areas of interest, including chronology, bibliography, major themes and interpretations. Students may find that they develop these interests in the process of their interaction with the department faculty.

In the process of developing this advanced knowledge, students will also be expected to master the skills of historical scholarship. They will learn: How to recognize, demonstrate, and apply appropriate knowledge of the world’s civilizations and peoples as well as their political, economic, social, and cultural histories.

Fields of History Offered by Regular Graduate Faculty

William B. Ashworth, Jr. Science, Renaissance, Early Modern European
Andrew S. Bergerson Modern European, Modern German, Everyday Life, Material Culture, German Studies
Christopher Cantwell Religious, Public History, Digital History, 19th and 20th Century U.S.
Rebecca Miller Davis 20th Century America, African American, American South, Media
Gary L. Ebersole Religious, Japanese, Cultural
Miriam Forman-Brunell US Cultural/Social, Children/Youth, Girls/Gender, Material/Visual Culture
David Freeman Early Modern European, Dutch, Religion, German Studies
Viviana Grieco Colonial and Modern Latin American, Gender and Sexuality, Political Culture, Economic and Social
John Herron Environmental, Western United States, 19th and 20th Century United States
Dennis Merrill U.S. Diplomatic, Contemporary U.S., Modern Latin America, Globalization, International Relations
Linda E. Mitchell Medieval British Isles, Women & Gender, Medieval Legal & Administrative, Ancient Greece & Rome
Diane Mutti Burke 19th Century America, American South, Civil War, Early American Women, U.S. Social History
Matthew Warner Osborn Early America
Lynda S. Payne Modern British, Science, Medicine, Gender, The Body, Women, Early Modern European
Massimiliano Vitiello Ancient History, Late Antiquity

For the Master of Arts in History

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • How to recognize, demonstrate, and apply appropriate knowledge of the world’s civilizations and peoples as well as their political, economic, social, and cultural histories.
  • How to identify and employ primary and/or secondary sources to research a topic exhaustively.
  • How to relate the events in his/her particular story to the general history of the topic; and the student relates his/her interpretation to the interpretations of other historians, or to theorists or scholars in other disciplines.
  • How to use primary and secondary sources to construct an original historical interpretation, demonstrating competency in identifying a problem, posing a hypothesis, proposing a methodology, and engaging the data.
  • How to critically appraise alternative readings of the past, create a coherent historical interpretation, and take a critical position in these debates.
  • How to compose and present clear, well-organized, properly documented grammatical prose.

Program Options

The Department of History offers two options leading to the Master of Arts degree—the M.A. in History, requiring 30 hours, and the M.A. in History with an emphasis in Public History, requiring 36 credit hours.

Requirements

Students seeking to fulfill either program option are required to complete the minimum number of credit hours of graduate-level work which must include the following courses with a grade of 2.67 (B-) or better:

For the MA in History
Foundational Courses:6
How To - History I
How To - History II
A Minimum of Three Graduate Colloquia, typically:9
Colloquium in U.S. History
Colloquium in World History
Graduate Level Courses in Their Curriculum. 111
Research Seminar:3
Research Seminar
Capstone Course:1
Required Graduate Enrollment
Total Credits30
1

The department encourages students to take graduate level electives in the History department at the 5500 level. With the approval of the student’s faculty advisor, however, students may take up to 6 credits at the 400 level if these fit with their overall program of study. Students may also take up to 9 credits in courses outside the department provided:

  1. They are demonstrably graduate level courses.
  2. They clearly relate to the student’s program of study.

For the Master of Arts in History - Public History Emphasis

MA History, Public History Emphasis Website

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Students will apply the art of public interpretation to historical scholarship by crafting a sample historical exhibit.
  • Students will critically evaluate projects of a similar nature by reviewing an existing exhibit.
  • Students will assess the job prospects of public history and museum professionals by analyzing a specific career in public history.
  • Students will critically evaluate the efficacy of digital technology for historical research through hands on workshops and digital history project reviews.

The Public History emphasis area has two parts. The first is an emphasis core consisting of 8 credit hours.

Emphasis Core - 8 credit hours
HISTORY 5579Public History: Theory and Method3
HISTORY 5592Public History Internship (5 hours of internship required)1-3
HISTORY 5990Capstone1-6

The second part of the Public History emphasis coursework comes in a student-selected interest area. Students will select 9 hours from the below list. These courses cover a range of disciplines and departments.

Student-Selected Interest Area - Select 9 hours
HISTORY 5570Introduction to Material Culture3
HISTORY 5593Museum Studies3
HISTORY 5594Public History and New Media3
PUB-ADM 5555ATopics In Nonprofit Fund Raising: Organizing For Successful Fund Raising1-3
PUB-ADM 5555FTopics In Nonprofit Fund Raising: Prospect Research And Proposal Writing1-3
UPD 430Planning For Historic Preservation3
ART-HIST 5573Visual Arts Administration3

1. HISTORY 5579 Public History: Theory and Method. 3 credits. This course explores the theoretical and methodological challenges that surround the public preservation and presentation of history.

2. History 5592. Internships. 5 credits. This course provides students in the Public History emphasis with invaluable professional experience in the field. For every credit hour, they will work 40 hours at a cultural institution that aligns with their own professional goals. These can be museums, historical societies, archives, libraries, historic sites, or cultural foundations.

3. History 5990. Capstone Project. 1 credit. In this 1 credit course, taken near the completion of the program of study, students will complete, and orally defend, their capstone project. Students on the public history track, this capstone experience can take one of three forms: a journal-length professional paper, based on original research on some aspect of public history of museum studies (10,000-12,000 words); or an interpretative plan for an exhibit, walking tour, digital archive, or some other project (8,000-9,000) words plus mock ups). After completion of the research seminar, students will submit to their faculty advisory committee a proposal for the completion of their professional paper.

Courses

How To-History

These foundational courses in the doing of history are offered in a two-semester sequence.

In Part I (HISTORY 5581GR, students will learn about the major trends in historiography by reading the “great books” of historical scholarship and learn the basics of historical criticism; the major assignment is a literature review that will aid the students in preparing for How To-History II.

In Part II (HISTORY 5582GR), students will learn the research methodologies and professional obligations of historians; the major assignment is a viable research prospectus that will aid the students in preparing for their Research Seminar (HISTORY 5587RA)

Colloquia

These courses form the knowledge base for the graduate program. Divided for purely administrative reasons into “American” and “World”, students are encourage to take as many of these as can fit into their Program of Study. One of each is offered each Fall and Spring semester in the evening. In them, students will

  1. Read broadly and learn about the major trends in the historiography of a particular historical problem, place, period, or specialization.
  2. Develop fundamental skills of the professional historian such as the ability to write academic book reviews, make conference-style presentations, and discuss among peers the work of other historians critically.

This course typically culminates in the production of a term paper and/or literature review on a subject of the student’s interest that could serve as the context for a future research project or comprehensive examination field.

Research Seminars

As the title implies, these courses, organized around large historical themes or topics, are focused around individual research projects. Students will produce an original work of scholarship anchored in primary sources that reflects their larger course of study. 

Graduate Capstone Course

In this 1 credit course, taken near the completion of the program of study, students will complete, and orally defend, their capstone project. For the MA program, this capstone experience can take one of three forms: a journal-length professional paper, based on original research (10,000-12,000 words); a public history interpretative plan (8,000-9,000 words plus mock ups); or for educators, an extensive unit plan. After completion of the research seminar, students will submit to their faculty advisory committee a proposal for the completion of their professional paper. We expect candidates for the M.A. degree who choose the professional paper to produce an original piece of historical scholarship based on their research in primary sources. Students will also:

  1. Meet regularly with the faculty advisor during research and writing
  2. Solicit the advice of the other members of the committee before submitting a final draft to the full committee

Professional Paper

The completed professional paper, an original piece of scholarship anchored in primary sources, will:

  1. Summarize the literature/s relating to this area of research and take a critical position in it/them, engaging questions about chronology, bibliography, major themes, and interpretations.
  2. Explain and justify its theory and methodology.
  3. Tell a story about the past eloquently on the basis of primary sources.
  4. Comply with academic standards of honesty and disciplinary standards of evidence.

Paper Defense

Students will be also required to defend their thesis in an oral examination, advertised and open to the public, in which the student will

  1. Make a 20-30 minute conference-style presentation of his/her research.
  2. Respond to questions from the audience and the committee about events, interpretation, theory, method and historiography.

Each examiner will evaluate the thesis according to the following scale: Superior, Good, Acceptable, Acceptable with Revisions, and Unacceptable (Fail). A grade of Acceptable or better by all members of the committee is required for the award of the master’s degree.

Public History Interpretative Plan

Candidates for the M.A. in Public History degree will produce an interpretive plan for a public history project, including wireframes and mock ups, based on their own research in primary sources. The completed interpretive plan will:

  1. Summarize the literature(s) relating to this area of research. Students will take a critical position in their work and engage questions about chronology, bibliography, major themes, and interpretations.
  2. Narrate a creative and compelling public project grounded in primary sources that communicates a scholarly argument to a public audience.
    1. This project can be, but is not limited to, an exhibit, walking tour, digital project, documentary film, oral history, archival collection finding aid, conservation plan, or national register nomination.
  3. Explain and justify the project’s theory and methods.
  4. Identify the project’s target audience and provide a plan to reach them.
  5. Comply with all academic standards of honesty and professional best practices.

While an interpretive plan of a potential project will fulfill the requirements for the Public History degree, students can receive approval to have the installation or execution of an actual public history project for which they are the primary curator count as their HISTORY 599 project. In this case, the length of the interpretive plan will be greatly reduced. All decisions regarding the final project must be made with approval of the student’s advisory committee.

Education/Unit Plan

For students interested in a career in K-12 education, they will be required to produce an extended unit plan. This project, developed with the student’s committee and representatives from the School of Education, will contain multiple related lessons and projects. The unit plan will illustrate the integration of the student’s historical training and teaching experience with other content areas. The plan will include an explanation and defense of the purposes and goals of the unit as well as the various teaching strategies used to teach the unit. The project will also illustrate how the unit goals relate to state curriculum benchmarks and will identify teaching methods used to assess student learning levels and needs.

Dual-Numbered Courses (300/5500 & 400/5500)

Offered at a variety of times each semester, these courses expose graduate students further to major trends in the historiography of larger historical problems, places, periods, or specializations and allow them to hone their skills at academic history. Often taught in conjunction with undergraduate courses in the same subject area, graduate students in these courses will be held to a higher standard of knowledge and performance.

Language Requirements

The M.A. in History will require demonstration of foreign language competency if the subject matter requires it. The faculty advisor will determine how this requirement should be fulfilled.

Admissions

Applications for the M.A. degree in History are reviewed continually during the calendar year. However, students must have their applications completed by November 15 for admission for the spring semester and by June 15 for the fall term. To be considered for graduate teaching assistantships during the following academic year, and for maximum choice in coursework for the first semester, fall candidates need to have their application submitted by March 15.

Please contact the History Graduate Advisor, to convey your interest in applying or for questions regarding the History MA program. Inquiries can also be emailed to history@umkc.edu

The History department will consider for admission as a regular Graduate Student any student whose undergraduate major was History and who had a 3.0 grade point average in History courses and a 3.0 grade point average overall. Applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree in History, but whose baccalaureate program included substantial training in History and/or related subjects, may also be considered for regular admission.

Applying for the MA History Program

To the Office of Admissions

  • Application
  • Official Transcripts and Test Scores (GRE not required)

To the History Department

  • A statement of purpose, explaining your academic and professional goals; what sparked your interest in graduate study; relevant academic and work-related activities; elaborate on academic interest, including the faculty with whom you wish to study (typically 2 pages)
  • A sample of your scholarly writing (varying according to size of paper)
  • Three letters of recommendation

It is your responsibility to confirm the receipt of all materials.

Financial Aid

There are a limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships available. For information and forms, contact the History office directly. The School of Graduate Studies also administers graduate fellowships and scholarships. For all other inquiries about financial aid, contact:

Financial Aid and Scholarships Office
Administrative Center, Room 101
5115 Oak Street
(816) 235-1154 (Kansas City Metro)
1-800-775-8652 (Outside of Metro)
Fax: (816) 235-5511
finaid@umkc.edu
http://www.umkc.edu/finaid

Student Orientation

If admitted, students will be asked to sign a letter of intent to enroll.

The History Graduate Student Association will host an annual Graduate Student Orientation during the weeks prior to the start of the Fall semester. At which students will be:

  • introduced to the program curriculum and administration and
  • encouraged to build working relationships with faculty and peers.

Minimum Expectations

Students must demonstrate satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degree. In all courses students must

  1. Receive a grade of 2.67 or higher in all courses taken in the History Department.
  2. Maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 graduate GPA.
  3. Adhere rigorously and conscientiously to academic standards of honesty (see below).
  4. Demonstrate serious commitment to scholarship and intellectual engagement.
  5. Abide by all requirements of the School of Graduate Studies (see School of Graduate Studies section of the Graduate and Professional Catalog), in addition to those of the Department of History.

In terms of administrative procedures, students must punctually file the following forms, each of which must be approved by the M.A. advisor, the faculty advisor and the other members of the supervisory committee:

  1. A tentative program of study, and the form listing the initial members of the Supervisory Committee, by the 15th of October or 15th of March before the completion of the student's 15th credit hour.
  2. A final program of study, and the form listing the final members of the supervisory committee, by the 15th of October or 15th of March before the completion of the student's 30th credit hour.
  3. The student must have identified a Faculty Advisor who has agreed to serve as the student’s lead instructor for the semester of study. Faculty Advisors, like tentative programs of study, may be changed over the course of a student’s study.

Each year students are required to submit a formal report of their progress toward their degree. The narrative statement should include a description of students’ coursework, exam preparation, research activities (including progress toward the thesis/dissertation/final project, conference activities, publications, exhibits, and the status of grant applications), awards, and internships, as applicable.  In addition, students should outline their goals for the coming academic year.  

Students in the Public History emphasis must declare their emphasis by the completion of their 12th credit hour by forming a viable committee and completing a program of study.

Advisors and Committees

Once enrolled, students should schedule a meeting with the Masters Advisor. During this meeting, the student will be assigned a faculty mentor. The faculty mentor will:

• serve as a personal connection to the department

• assist the student in all matters professional during their study in the department

• and may continue even after the student has identified a Faculty Advisor (their content specific instructor).

Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee consists of three full-time, regular members of the UMKC History Department who are also members of the graduate faculty, with the student’s faculty advisor serving as chair of this committee.

With the approval of the faculty advisor:

• One member of the committee may be a full-time, regular member of another UMKC department (this committee member must also be a member of the graduate faculty).

• A fourth member may be added to the committee from the adjunct graduate faculty or from the graduate faculty of another institution.

Students in the Public History emphasis are encouraged to have at least one member of the faculty whose scholarship involves the appropriate approach. Public History students are also permitted, and indeed strongly encouraged, to include members of the adjunct graduate history faculty on their committees who work professionally in the field of public history in the Kansas City region.

Extenuating Circumstances

Students incapable of meeting administrative deadlines may request an extension from the M.A. advisor. These requests must be made in writing in advance of the deadlines. Incompletes will be given only when there are legitimate reasons for not completing course requirements on time, and only when there are reasonable expectations that work can be completed within the time allowed by the School of Graduate Studies (maximum of one year).

Probation

Failing any of these conditions means that the student is not making satisfactory progress towards the completion of her/his degree. In that case, the student will be placed on probation and will have to petition the department, through a letter to the M.A. advisor and graduate committee, for permission to resume his or her studies the following semester. The department will then recommend a reasonable plan for remediation. If the student fails to meet the standards set by the department, the student will be declared ineligible for enrollment and dropped from the program.

Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism is an inexcusable act in the view of the History faculty. Any student guilty thereof will be liable to expulsion from the program. A detailed statement by the faculty is available in the History office.  Please refer to the UMKC Student Standard of Conduct.

Research dishonesty refers to any conduct that is intended to mislead or communicate false research data or results, or which communicates such data or results in reckless disregard of their false or misleading character. Illustrations of research dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • False or misleading statements or publications concerning research data or results
  • Intentional or reckless distortion or misinterpretation of research data or results
  • Use of research methods which the researcher knows to be unreliable or which produce erroneous results, unless appropriately explained in publications and reports of the research
  • Release of research data or scholarly efforts of other persons, and representing them as one's own or failing to give appropriate credit to their sources
  • Misuse of the work of others or misrepresentation of authorship as that of the student

The Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee consists of three full-time, regular members of the UMKC History Department who are also members of the graduate faculty, with the student’s faculty advisor serving as chair of this committee.

  • For non-thesis students, the supervisory committee will ordinarily serve as the final examining committee. In consultation with the supervisory committee, the student should select fields for examination.
  • For thesis students, the supervisory committee will serve as the readers for the thesis.

With the approval of the faculty advisor:

  • One member of the committee may be a full-time, regular member of another UMKC department so long as that person is also a member of the graduate faculty.
  • A fourth member may be added to the committee from the adjunct graduate faculty or from the graduate faculty of another institution.

Students in the Public History emphasis are required to have at least one member of the faculty whose scholarship involves the appropriate approach. These students are permitted, and strongly encouraged, to include one or two members of the adjunct graduate history faculty on their committees who work professionally in the field of public history in the Kansas City region.

Honorary Organizations

The department sponsors a chapter of the national history honorary, Phi Alpha Theta. Admission into the honorary requires a 3.2 grade-point average in a minimum of 12 credits of graduate work. The honorary sponsors programs and lectures during the school year, and members are often invited to read papers at the regional conventions. Membership in Phi Alpha Theta is noted on each honoree's official transcript.

Students should strongly consider membership in professional organizations for historians, such as the American Historical Association (http://www.historians.org) and others.

The Annual Graduate Student Conference

The History Department hosts an annual Graduate Student Conference. Graduate students should plan to attend as required by the program. In it, students will

  • demonstrate their expertise in a research agenda of their own creation,
  • present their research to peers and faculty,
  • comment constructively and critically on the research of others,
  • engage critical questions in public, and
  • celebrate their academic achievements that year.

At the conclusion to this conference, the faculty will present two student participants with the Carla Klausner Award for the Best Paper Presentation in History and the Lynda Payne Award for the Best Poster Presentation in History.