We strongly encourage all students interested in applying to the History MA program to contact the Graduate Program Director. Those interested in the Archives and Public History programs should contact the directors of those programs as well. We are happy to discuss our program with prospective students and help guide you through the application process.
As part of the application process, we also encourage applicants to contact members of our faculty whose research and teaching interests align with those of the applicant. Applicants may schedule a visit to campus with the Graduate Program Director. Visits to individual classes are also encouraged and should be coordinated with the course instructor.
Important Information for New England Residents: Students from the following states who enroll in the History MA Archives or Public History tracks may be eligible for a significant tuition discount through the New England Regional Student Program.
- History MA: Archives: CT, ME, NH, RI, VT
- History MA: Public History: ME, RI, VT
Please go here or contact the Admissions Office for more information.
- College Transcripts: You must provide transcripts from all colleges you attended and earned 6 credits or more.
- Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation. The History Department recommends that at least two of these three letters come from professors, especially History professors, who can speak to your past academic work and your potential for graduate work. The History Department also finds useful letters from supervisors that speak to the applicant’s work experience in a field related to history. Letters from colleagues and friends are not considered useful for the application process.
- Statement of Purpose: One of the most important pieces of the application file is the personal statement or statement of purpose. The statement should be roughly 1500 words. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the History Department and make the case for why you should be admitted into the program. Your statement should discuss in specific detail your academic interests. You should explain 1) why you want to attend graduate school; 2) what historical topic(s) you wish to study and any faculty in the department you hope to work with; and 3) what you plan to do with your History MA degree after graduation. Your statement should demonstrate a familiarity with our department and the research interests of our faculty. A specific discussion of your background and research interests is more useful than a general statement. The statement of purpose is a good way to demonstrate to the Graduate Committee how well you write, as well as how you think about issues related to the study of history. Your essay will help the Graduate Committee determine how well your interests and goals match the strengths of our program. The information on the Graduate Admissions website suggests that the statement of purpose should be separated into a two-part statement. For the purposes of application to the History MA program, you many consider the Statement of Purpose to be one complete essay.
- Writing Sample: The History Department also requires the submission of a writing sample. Ideally, an applicant’s writing sample should be a paper written for a college class, preferably in History. The ideal length for the writing sample is between 5-10 double-spaced pages and the paper should have been written within the last five years. This should be an analytical paper that demonstrates an applicant’s skill at synthesizing primary and/or secondary sources, as well as presenting the applicant’s own interpretation and analysis of those sources. The History Department Graduate Committee will use the writing sample to determine whether an applicant’s writing skills are at a level that would guarantee success at the graduate level.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Although the GRE is not required, we strongly recommend that applicants take the GRE and submit their scores with their application.
We are looking for applicants who have demonstrated a distinguished level of academic achievement at the undergraduate level and who possess the academic potential to succeed at the graduate level. The Committee is looking for a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.00 and a minimum GPA in History classes of 3.33. An undergraduate major in History is preferred, but not mandatory. The Graduate Committee will consider the applications of non-History undergraduate majors if they 1) have majored in a related academic discipline (such as Political Science or American Studies) and have taken some History courses at the undergraduate level; or 2) have worked in professional fields related to history, such as history education, archives, historic sites, libraries, or museums.
Applications for all tracks and programs are due January 15.
We encourage applicants to submit their completed applications as early in the process as possible. The History Graduate Committee makes its admissions decisions on a rolling basis and usually begins to evaluate applications in December.
All application materials should be submitted to Graduate Admissions, not to the History Department. For more information, you can contact Graduate Admissions at 617-287-6400. For complete information and instructions, visit the university's Graduate Admissions page.
Students who wish to apply for the Online MA program must specifically note their choice on their application. The admissions requirements and deadlines for the Online MA in History are identical to those of the regular MA program. For Fall 2016, the History Department will be admitting roughly 20 new students into the Online MA program. Those new students will be selected on a competitive basis. We limit the number of students in our Online MA program so that class sizes can remain small and all graduate students can receive individualized attention from our faculty.
Each year, the History Department offers a limited number of Graduate Assistantships to both newly admitted and returning graduate students. The number of Assistantships varies from year to year. Our Assistantships are “half-time” assistantships. That means students are expected to work 9 hours per week for the academic year. As compensation, graduate assistants receive a bi-weekly stipend. For the 2015-16 school year, half-time assistants earn a stipend of $8,440. Graduate Assistants also receive a 100-percent tuition remission for the contract period and a 50-percent waiver of their Educational Operations Fee. There are, however, some remaining student fees that Assistants have to pay. If Assistants get their health insurance through the university, they will also receive a discount on their Health Insurance Premium.
Graduate Assistants are assigned to a faculty member at the beginning of the school year. Assistantships generally last for the entire school year. Assistants either work as teaching assistants or research assistants. Teaching assistants are assigned to professors who teach large lecture sections. These assistants will assist professors with grading and the general operation of the class. They may also be asked to do research work for their professor during their assistantship. Research assistants are usually assigned to faculty members to assist them with their research projects. Other assistants may be assigned to the Graduate Program Director, the Undergraduate Program Director, the Archives Director, the Public History Director, and the University Archives. Each year, one Graduate Assistant is assigned to assist the editors of the New England Quarterly, which is housed at UMass Boston. Online MA students and students in the Archives Certificate program are not eligible for Graduate Assistantships.
Applicants to the MA program do not need to specify their interest in an Assistantship. All students admitted to the MA program will be considered for an assistantship. Those admitted to the program will receive notification of an assistantship award after they have been formally accepted into the program.
For information on tuition and fees, please see the Bursar's Office website
For information on financial aid, please see the Financial Aid website
For general information on graduate study, please see the Graduate Studies website