The M.A. in History

The M.A. program in history is designed to provide graduate students with a strong foundation in historical knowledge and the methods of historical research.  The program prepares students for doctoral level programs, provides graduate level training for educators, promotes expertise in public history, and serves post-undergraduate students continuing their history training at the M.A. level. The curriculum structure for the program allows students to concentrate their coursework in one geographical area as defined below, while taking courses in methods and other geographical areas as well. M.A. students can pursue their degree on a part-time basis.

The Department offers no funding for master's level study.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Admission Requirements and Deadlines (apply online)

Application Deadline: February 15

Students may complete the M.A. program on a part-time basis.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Applicants are expected to have majored or minored in History at the undergraduate level. Those applicants lacking that qualification are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Non-Degree Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are permitted to take up to 9 credit hours of coursework. These courses can be transferred into the degree program after their admission only if they earn a grade of "B" or higher.

Transcript: Please arrange for each university where you took courses (whether or not within a degree program) to send an official transcript. For purposes of your application, we ask that you scan and upload electronic copies of all transcripts to your Interfolio account (see instructions below).

Letters of Reference: Three letters of recommendation should be obtained from instructors or other individuals who are familiar with the applicant's academic work and sent electronically to your Interfolio account.

Statement of Goals: The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-750 words in length, and should include the following elements: a clear statement explaining your interest in the M.A. program in History at Temple University and expressing how the program meets your needs; your major historical interests; your career goals; and your academic and research achievements, if applicable.

  • In addition to making explicit in your statement of goals the field or subfield in which you intend to specialize (e.g., U.S. political history, military and society), the application includes a text box question asking you to specify this field or subfield. Be certain to respond.

Standardized Tests: The GRE is required.

Writing Sample: The writing sample should demonstrate an applicant's ability to research and write a scholarly paper. It should be fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual and should not exceed 30 pages in length.

Submitting your Application:

1. Access the Banner Application or click on the APPLY ONLINE link.

2. Use Interfolio's Dossier Service service to collect and submit the application materials.

    Please follow these simple instructions:

  • Create or log in to your Interfolio account
  • (
  • Request letters of recommendation from your evaluators through your Interfolio account.
  • Upload all the above supporting documents* (scanned copies of your transcripts, your writing sample, and your personal statment of goals) to your account.
  • *Your GRE scores must be reported directly from ETS; your references can upload their letters directly).

  • Send all required documents as one delivery to Temple University Department of History. There are three easy steps:
    • Search “Temple University -- Department of History” in Step 1 of the “Add Delivery” process
    • Select and order all required documents
    • Check out and complete the electronic delivery


Please direct all inquiries to the M.A. Coordinator and Director of Public History, Seth Bruggeman, at You may also write the Graduate Coordinator, Ms. Vangelie Campbell, at:

Vangeline Campbell
Graduate Coordinator
Department of History
Temple University
Gladfelter 909
1115 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Program Requirements


The M.A. coordinator serves as the preliminary advisor for matriculating M.A. students.  M.A. students must select a faculty advisor during their first year in the graduate program.  The choice of an advisor will be made in consultation with the M.A. Coordinator and will depend in part on the student’s primary field of study.

Once students have found an advisor, they must notify the M.A. Coordinator of their choice. M.A. students will consult with their advisor and the M.A. Coordinator throughout their course of study to determine course selection and thesis preparation.

The public history coordinator serves as the advisor for all concentrators in public history.


M.A. students must take a take a minimum of 27 credit hours (seven substantive courses, one methods course, and one MA Thesis Colloquium).

M.A. students will submit and defend an M.A. thesis to complete the requirements for the degree.

M.A. students must be continuously enrolled in the program unless they have received permission from the CLA Dean’s Office for a formal leave of absence.

M.A. students who do not defend the thesis during the semester in which they are taking the M.A. Thesis Colloquium can maintain continuous enrollment by registering for one credit of History 9996 (M.A. Thesis) for a maximum of three semesters.

Concentrators in Public history must perform satisfactorily in a prescribed course trajectory that includes a 3 credit-hour internship.


M.A. students must choose a primary field of study and complete a minimum of 5 courses (15 credit hours) in that field. Students interested in pursuing the Public History concentration must declare the concentration in the first semester of matriculation.

Acceptable primary fields are:

  • American History
  • European History
  • African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American History (Students may acquire a geographic concentration within this primary field if they wish)
  • Diplomatic/International/Military History
    *Public History (A distinct concentration for which an explicit notation will appear on the student's transcript.

M.A. students must take an introductory course in their primary field, preferably in their first year of graduate study, and are strongly encouraged to take at least one other introductory course outside their field.

Introductory courses are:

  • History 8101: Introduction to American History
    • History 8152: Managing History (Concentrators in Public History are requred to take this course in addition to the Introduction to American History)
  • History 8301: Introduction to European History
  • History 8701: Making World Histories
  • History 8103: Studies in American Diplomatic History
  • History 8209: US Foreign Policy in the Cold War

In addition to History 8103 and 8152, all concentrators must complete a second Public History course offered by the History Department such as but not limited to History 8151: Studies in American Material Culture.

All M.A. students must complete one writing seminar (a 9000 level course), preferably in their primary field. Ideally, the research seminar will provide the opportunity for initial research geared toward the student’s eventual thesis.

Students must complete a course in Historical Methods (History 8714), preferably in their first two semesters of matriculation.

For students in the general M.A. program, 2 courses (6 semester hours) out of the course total of 7 (excluding Methods and the Thesis Colloquium) must be outside the student’s primary field of study. Students are prohibited from taking courses in exclusively one geographical area.  The M.A. Thesis Colloquium does not satisfy this requirement.

This requirement does not apply to concentrators in Public History.

Concentrators in Public History, in consultation with the Public History coordinator, must design a three-course sequence leading to mastery of a particular Public History skill, method, or issue relevant to the student's particular career path.

Students must take the M.A. Thesis Colloquium (3 credits) in their fourth semester (in extraordinary circumstances, and with the prior approval of the advisor and the M.A. Coordinator, students can register for this course in a semester other than the fourth)

Students who have taken the M.A. Thesis Colloquium and met all other requirements but have not yet graduated must enroll in one credit of History 9996 in order to maintain continuous enrollment. They can take a maximum of three semesters of this one-credit course.

Based on the above, a normal course of study for the General M.A. would resemble:

  • 1 Introductory Course
  • 1 Course in Historical Methods (History 8714)
  • 1 Research Seminar (9000 level)
  • 3 courses total in primary field
  • 2 courses total outside the primary field
  • 1 MA Thesis Colloquium
  • 27 credits total coursework
  • M.A. Thesis
  • (A maximum of 3 semesters of History 9996 may be taken if necessary to complete the Thesis.)

Please contact Seth Bruggeman for an overview of the Public History Curriculum


M.A. students will submit and defend an M.A. thesis to complete the requirements for the degree. Thesis students must meet with the M.A. Coordinator to determine eligibility and with the department’s graduate coordinator to fill out all required forms.

  • Students must complete 24 credits of coursework before registering for the 3-credit MA Thesis Colloquium (in some cases, on the recommendation of the primary advisor and permission of the MA coordinator, the MA Thesis Colloquium can be taken concurrently with one other course.)
  • In selecting an advisor for the thesis during the first year, M.A. students consult with the MA Coordinator before seeking the advisor’s concurrence. All graduate faculty in the department may serve as advisors and readers.
  • Students are strongly urged to consult with that advisor and the MA Coordinator about selecting a second thesis reader before the start of their third semester; they must designate a second reader no later than the end of the third semester.
  • Students must submit a 5-10 page thesis prospectus to their advisor, second reader, and the M.A. Coordinator by the end of the third semester of matriculation.
  • The thesis entails a substantial research paper in the student’s primary field, utilizing primary sources and demonstrating knowledge of historical research methods. Students should meet with their primary advisor to discuss and decide upon the parameters of their chosen topic. The intent is for students to complete a focused, polished, original piece of research that strives for the quality of journal submissions. Length and format will vary by field and topic, but the recommended length for theses is between 40 and 50 pages.
  • The thesis must be prepared in accordance with the Dissertation Handbook available from the Graduate School, and copies submitted to the Graduate School and the department.
  • Students must defend their thesis orally in the presence of both their primary advisor and second reader. Students preparing to defend a thesis should notify the Graduate Coordinator of the date and time of the oral defense after consultation with their advisor and second reader. For Public History students, these requirements pertain to the third reader as well.
  • Students should be aware that no student may be classified as a full-time student for more than three semesters while completing an M.A. thesis.
  • A student must be enrolled at the time s/he defends the M.A. thesis.


An M.A. student may apply a maximum six credits of his/her graduate level coursework through transfer credits. All transfer credits must be of a grade "B" or better and be from an accredited institution. In order to receive credit, a student needs to notify the M.A. Coordinator and submit to the Director of Graduate Studies an official transcript of the graduate course, the syllabus, and all written work completed for the course. Upon approval of the course, the course requirements at Temple will be reduced accordingly.


A maximum of nine graduate credits earned at Temple University prior to matriculation may be counted toward satisfying the M.A. requirements.


A student may request a leave of absence for a period not to exceed one year. A written request, indicating the reason for the leave of absence, must be approved first by the department on the basis of endorsement by the student’s primary faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies and then by the Associate Dean of the College who handles graduate matters. Please use the Request for Leave of Absence Form available at

Receipt of a leave of absence will not extend the three and a half year time period during which students must complete the requirements for the M.A. degree.

Students should be aware that an administrative fee is assessed for each semester that a student is not enrolled in classes.


For M.A. students, satisfactory progress is defined according to the following criteria:

  • Continuous enrollment unless a leave of absence has been granted.
  • No more than two incompletes at any time.
  • Enrollment in at least six credits per year in courses approved by the student’s advisor or the M.A. coordinator. This counts as satisfactory progress, but not necessarily as full-time status.
  • Satisfactory completion of the introductory course in the student’s primary field by the time s/he has been matriculated in the program for three semesters.
  • Selection of primary field and advisor by the end of the second semester after matriculation.
  • Enrollment in M.A. Thesis Colloquium during the fourth semester.
  • Evidence of progress toward completion of M.A. thesis (as attested to by primary advisor) if enrolled in program beyond two years.


As stated above, all coursework and other requirements must be completed within three-and-one-half years (7 semesters) from the date of admission. Students who find it necessary to request an extension of time must file a written request with the Department.

Before applying for graduation, M.A. students must schedule a meeting with the M.A. Coordinator to verify their completion of all department and university requirements. For May/August graduation, this meeting must take place prior to October 15 of the year before. For December graduation, the meeting must take place prior to April 15. This will allow students to register for courses to correct any problems while still graduating on time.

Graduating students are required to submit an application for graduation, generally due in February (May graduation), October (January graduation), and June (August graduation.  Students intending an August graduation must register for at least one credit during the summer session during which the thesis is defended.