Forms and FAQ

Many forms for graduate students are available from the Graduate College web site.



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between the Thesis and Non-Thesis Options?

The MA thesis is an in-depth contribution of original historical research based on
primary sources ranging from approximately 70-100 pages in length.  It is the result of individual research by the MA student with the assistance of his/her advisor and thesis committee
members.  Students seeking to enter a PhD program are highly encouraged to take the thesis route.  Students are also encouraged to follow the timeline below in the process of completing the thesis:

  1. First or Second Semester: Student should establish thesis topic with their advisor through careful consideration of possibilities, including investigation of secondary and primary sources.
  2. Second or Third Semester: Student should complete thesis proposal and have it approved by advisor.
  3. Second through Fourth Semester: Student should have taken at least one if not two thesis writing courses and should be heavily engaged in thesis research and writing.
  4. Third Semester: Student should turn in one or more chapters to advisor.
  5. Fourth through Sixth Semester: Student should be defend thesis.



Students choosing the non-thesis option should take a range of courses while aiming to specialize in one area and exploring one or two others as sub-specialties, depending on availability of course offerings.  This will help to keep students focused for their comprehensive exams, which have three professors specializing in three different areas.  Students who have made the decision to do the non-thesis option should make this known to their advisor by the completion of their 12th credit hour.  Students taking oral comprehensive exams must have arranged with each of their three committee members the exact nature of the questions they will be asked.  No student may take his/her exam without having received approval from all three professors that he/she is prepared to succeed in the exam.

It is a requirement that the student has taken at least one class with each of their committee members.  If the student fails any part of the exam, he/she may retake any or all parts of the exam one more time only.  If any or all of the committee members refuses to give the exam anew, the student has the option of finding new committee members to replace the former in order to take a second and final exam.  In the event the student fails any or all parts of that second exam, the student cannot complete the Master’s Degree in History.

Students must also pass their exams by the last Wednesday before the finals week of the semester in which they intend to graduate.


Q: How do I find an advisor?

A: Upon admission, all students are automatically assigned the Graduate Advisor as their advisor.  However, most students must switch advisors by choosing one with similar research interests by the eighth week of their first semester.  Students have the option of switching advisors as well, but it is important that they select one early in their graduate studies in order to be on track from the beginning.

Q: What Graduate Assistantships might be available in the Department?

A: There are three History Graduate Assistant positions awarded each year on a highly competitive basis.  Applications are submitted every spring.  The Graduate Committee will consider the GPA, GRE, letters of recommendation, letter of application, and ability of said applicant to both contribute to and succeed in the Graduate program.