University Bulletin 2019-20

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History (MA) - Non-Thesis Option

Requirements for degree

All candidates for the Master of Arts degree in History, regardless of which of the two tracks they are following, must complete the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 33 credit hours with grade of "A" or "B".
  • A minimum of 20 credit hours completed at the University of South Alabama.
  • A maximum of 9 credit hours of 500 level courses that are dual-listed at the 400 level. Graduate students will only receive graduate credit for the 500 level version of dual-listed courses. These courses will require extra work beyond that expected of undergraduates in the 400 level course.
  • At least 24 credit hours at the 500 level courses that are not dual-listed with the 400 level.
  • Complete HY 593 Exam and Thesis 
  • Complete HY 530 American Historiography.
  • Complete HY 540 Modern European Historiography, or HY 542 World Historiography (except for students taking the Public History topical field or other topical fields).
  • Complete one of the following research seminars: HY 546, HY 580, HY 581 or HY 586. Other courses may be substituted if a research paper is completed (students must check with graduate coordinator for specific requirements).
  • Choose two of the following fields and complete 12 credit hours in each: American History, European History or World History, Topical Fields

Note: A grade of "C" or below is not considered a passing grade by the Department of History. Students receiving such a grade in a required course must make-up the hours.

Requirements for topical fields vary. Students must check with graduate coordinator for specific requirements. The remaining requirements are dictated by the track in which students choose to study:

Non-Thesis Option

  • Complete comprehensive examinations in two fields choosing from American; European or World; or topical field.

Department of History website

Undergraduate studies

Knowledge and awareness of history and society are important ingredients of a liberal education. The Department of History offers general courses for all students, a major and a minor in history, and preparation for students who plan to continue study at the graduate level, to teach history, or to enter related fields.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry. CIS 150 will fulfill the technology proficiency requirement for History Majors.

Honors in history

To be awarded Honors in History, a student must:

  • complete the standard requirements for a major in History
  • have a 3.5 overall GPA (University requirement)
  • have a 3.5 History GPA (Department requirement)
  • receive agreement of a member of the History Department to serve as mentor
  • receive permission of the Department Chair to undertake this program
  • complete a Senior Honor Paper (HY 499), with a grade of "B" or "A", in addition to the standard History requirements. HY 499: Senior Honors Paper (six semester hours credit) may be counted toward three hours of the 36 required for a major and toward the three hours of 400-level electives required for the major. Thus, the student receiving honors in History will be required to take a total of 39 hours in History instead of 36 (In HY 499, the student will normally take three hours in Fall Semester for research and three in Spring for writing, though occasionally this may be spread out over a longer period. A final committee of three or more faculty, which may include a representative of the University Honors College, will conduct an oral defense)

NOTE: 1) one need not be receiving University Honors to obtain Honors in History; 2) a certificate will be awarded to the student indicating that they have been awarded "Honors in History."

Graduate studies

The Master of Arts degree in History is designed to meet the varied needs of students. There are two study tracks or plans for completion of the degree: thesis, non-thesis.
Normally, those who wish to enter a Ph.D. program, law school, or certain positions in archives, government, and community college teaching positions pursue the thesis option. Other students pursuing positions where a thesis is not needed often study in the non-thesis track.
For further information on the M.A. program, see the Department website under Graduate Academic Programs.

Requirements for admission

Students are admitted each semester. In addition to Graduate School requirements, all applicants must submit GRE scores, a statement of purpose for undertaking graduate work in History, provide three academic letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.   These documents must be submitted electronically at  Please contact the History Department Coordinator of Graduate Studies for more information. The following criteria supplement Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission).

Regular Admission

  1. At least twenty-one semester hours of college work in History approved by the Graduate Committee of the Department of History.
  2. Applicants to graduate programs in Arts and Sciences typically have a minimum GPA of at least a 3.0 on all undergraduate work. In exceptional cases, applicants may be considered with at least a 2.5 GPA on all undergraduate work, or at least a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.

Non-degree students

Students holding baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions of higher education who are not interested in earning an MA degree, or who are not yet ready to apply for Regular Admission may enroll in a Non-Degree status. A suitable background for the courses to be taken is expected. Non-Degree students may enroll only in courses offered at specific times and places. They may not enroll in directed studies courses.

Graduate assistantships

A limited number of assistantships are awarded to incoming and returning graduate students on a competitive basis. Assistantships include a tuition waiver and a stipend, for which students are asked to work 20 hours a week, usually as teaching assistants, in public history, or assisting in the University Archives. Applications for each academic year are due in the department no later than March 15.