Master of Arts: History

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • recognize, demonstrate, and apply in-depth knowledge of the world’s civilizations and peoples as well as their political, economic, social, and cultural histories.
  • relate the events in their particular historic story to the general history of the topic; and students relate their interpretations to existing historiography.
  • demonstrate the ability to independently develop original scholarly inquiry, systematically researching the topic using appropriate primary and/or secondary sources.
  • be able to use primary and secondary sources to independently construct an original historical interpretation: demonstrating competency in identifying a problem, posing a hypothesis, proposing a methodology, offering an interpretation of the evidence, and making an original contribution to scholarly debates.
  • be able to compose and present clear, well-organized, properly documented, and grammatical prose in a form appropriate for scholarly publication.
  • be able to appraise alternative readings of the past and connect them to their research in new holistic interpretations that offer new avenues for research or application to other studies.

Program Options

The Department of History offers two options leading to the Master of Arts degree—the M.A. in History and the M.A. in History with an emphasis in Public History, requiring 30 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:5
How To - History I
How To - History II A
How To - History II B
A Minimum of Three Graduate Colloquia, typically:9
Colloquium in U.S. History
Colloquium in World History
Graduate Level Courses in Their Curriculum. 112
Research Seminar:3
Research Seminar
Capstone Course:1
Thesis
Capstone (Public History emphasis requirement)
Total Credits30

Public History Emphasis 

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • apply the ethical standards that govern the practice of public history in their scholarly and professional work.
  • demonstrate the ability to execute a public history project.
  • demonstrate the ability to interpret history for public audiences.
  • demonstrate the ability to collaborate on a public history project.
  • recognize, demonstrate, and apply in-depth knowledge of the world’s civilizations and peoples as well as their political, economic, social, and cultural histories.
  • relate the events in their particular historic story to the general history of the topic; and students relate their interpretations to existing historiography.
  • demonstrate the ability to independently develop original scholarly inquiry, systematically researching the topic using appropriate primary and/or secondary sources.
  • be able to use primary and secondary sources to independently construct an original historical interpretation: demonstrating competency in identifying a problem, posing a hypothesis, proposing a methodology, offering an interpretation of the evidence, and making an original contribution to scholarly debates.
  • be able to compose and present clear, well-organized, properly documented, and grammatical prose in a form appropriate for scholarly publication.
  • be able to appraise alternative readings of the past and connect them to their research in new holistic interpretations that offer new avenues for research or application to other studies.

Program Requirements

MA History Core Requirements18
Required Field Experience, authorized by the Director of the Public History Emphasis
HISTORY 5579Public History: Theory and Method3
Public History Electives:9
Oral History
Archival Methods
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
History of Urban Planning & Design
Introduction to Historic Preservation
Total Credits30

Colloquia

These courses form the knowledge base for the graduate program. Students are encouraged 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.

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.

Required Field Experience (for Public History emphasis)

Students pursuing the Public History emphasis must complete 200 hours of fieldwork at a cultural institution that aligns with their own professional goals. This institution could be a museum, historical society, archive, library, historic site, or cultural foundation. Public history students must receive authorization from the Director of the Public History Emphasis before beginning their field experience to ensure that it will count toward their degree.

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.

  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. Abide by all applicable 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 submit a program of study to the department's administrative assistant prior to the completion of 50% of applicable degree coursework. The program of study form is available on the Student Resources page of the department website. Once the student completes their form, it must be approved by the faculty advisor (the faculty member who has agreed to serve as the committee chair for the student's thesis/capstone project), the other members of the supervisory committee, and the department chair.

Changes in the program of study must be approved by the student's advisor and the revised program of study must be submitted to the administrative assistant. If cumulative changes in courses or degree requirements exceed four, a new program of study should be filed.

Students who intend to complete 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

Upon their admission to the M.A. program, students will be assigned a faculty mentor. The faculty mentor:

  • will serve as a personal connection to the department
  • will assist the student in academic and professional matters during their study in the department
  • may continue to serve as a mentor 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 also must be a member of the graduate faculty).
  • One member of the committee may be a member of the adjunct graduate history faculty.

Students in the Public History emphasis are encouraged to have on their committee both a faculty advisor who specializes in the content area related to their capstone project and a faculty member who specializes in public history.

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 their 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 their 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 Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. To be eligible for Phi Alpha Theta, graduate students should have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours towards their master’s degree in history and have a GPA of better than 3.5.

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 two graduate student prizes: the Carla Klausner Award for the Best Original History Research Paper and the Louis Potts Award for the Best Original Research Paper on Midwestern History. The Captain Harry S. Truman Prize is awarded annually to the best undergraduate or graduate student paper on a topic related to WWI.