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.

In this program, students will gain a broad understanding of the field of History, while developing an in-depth knowledge of historical scholarship in their areas of interest. Students may find that they develop these interests in the process of their interaction with the department faculty.


Applications for the M.A. degree in History are reviewed continually during the calendar year. However, students must have their applications completed by December 1 for admission for the spring semester and by July 1 for the fall term. To be considered for graduate teaching assistantships or paid internships during the following academic year, and for maximum choice in coursework for the first semester, fall candidates need to have their application submitted by February 1. There is a supplemental application for the graduate teaching assistantships and paid internships.

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

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 (preferably from History professors)

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

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

Financial Aid

There are a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships and paid internships available. 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

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.


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
Capstone ((for Public History emphasis))
Total Credits30

Public History Emphasis in Master of Arts in History

MA History - Public History Emphasis Website

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

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

Program Requirements

MA History Core Requirements19
HISTORY 5579Public History: Theory and Method3
HISTORY 5592Public History Internship5
Public History Electives:9
Oral History
Introduction to Material Culture
Museum Studies
Public History and New Media
Topics In Nonprofit Fund Raising: Organizing For Successful Fund Raising
Topics In Nonprofit Fund Raising: Prospect Research And Proposal Writing
Planning For Historic Preservation
Total Credits36


These courses form the knowledge base for the graduate program. Students are encourage to take as many of these as can fit into their Program of Study. 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

Students will produce an original work of scholarship anchored in primary sources that reflects their larger course of study. This paper will serve as the foundation of their M.A. thesis or capstone project.

Internship (for Public History emphasis)

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.

Graduate Thesis or Capstone Course

In this course, taken near the completion of the program of study, students will complete, and defend in an oral examination, their advisor-approved thesis or capstone project. This final project can take one of three forms: a thesis, which is defined as a journal-length professional paper, based on original research using primary sources (10,000-12,000 words) (HISTORY 5599R); a public history capstone project (HISTORY 5990); or for educators, an extensive unit plan (HISTORY 5990). See your advisor for additional guidelines about the thesis/capstone options.

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.

Minimum Expectations

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

  1. Receive a grade of B- or higher in all courses taken in the program.

  2. Maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 graduate GPA.

  3. Adhere rigorously and conscientiously to academic standards of honesty.

  4. Demonstrate serious commitment to scholarship and intellectual engagement.

  5. Satisfactory compliance with all applicable requirements of the School of Graduate Studies Abide by all requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. Please refer to the General Graduate Academic Regulations and Information section of this catalog.

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 made up of a chair and two additional faculty members, 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 committee chair for the student's thesis/capstone project. 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 by February 1. 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 a faculty advisor who specializes in the content area related to their capstone project, as well as faculty member who specializes in public history. Public History students are also permitted 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).


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.

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 ( and others.

The Annual Graduate Student Conference

The History Department hosts an annual Graduate Student Conference each December. 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.

History Department Graduate Student Awards

Each spring, the faculty will present three graduate student prizes: the Carla Klausner Award for the Best Original History Research Paper; the Louis Potts Award for the Best Original Research Paper on Midwestern History; and the Lynda Payne Award for the Best Public History Project. The Captain Harry S. Truman Prize is annually awarded to the best undergraduate or graduate student paper on a topic related to WWI.