This is the first version of the 2022-23 General Catalog. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

The Department of History offers a master's degree program in history. Individuals may pursue the degree for a variety of reasons, from professional enhancement to personal enrichment. Students interested in graduate work may obtain a copy of the current Guide to Graduate Study in history from the Department of History website. The guide is revised periodically to include detailed regulations on study toward advanced degrees and other information for students.

Learning Outcomes

The M.A. is for students who wish to acquire a broad knowledge of history and an introduction to the field's theoretical and historical foundations. It is intended to prepare students to continue work for a Ph.D. in history or for careers outside of the academy.

Students are expected to demonstrate:

  • basic understanding of the development of historiography and historical methodologies;
  • basic understanding of primary source material in one subfield of history; and
  • sustained critical thinking, writing, and speaking abilities.

The Master of Arts program in history requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit, including at least 24 s.h. in history coursework numbered 3000 or above. Students must maintain a cumulative UI g.p.a. of at least 3.33.

The M.A. is offered with two options: one that stresses breadth of learning through coursework; and with approval of a faculty advisor, one that emphasizes the development of research capabilities culminating in a research essay designed to prepare students for doctoral studies.

Students are required to take HIST:6002 Introduction to Graduate Studies in History: Historiography and Methods during their first semester in the program. They must take 12 s.h. of coursework (one course numbered 6000 or above) in one major division of history; and 6 s.h. each in two other divisions (with at least one course numbered 6000 or above in one of the two divisions), either in history or a related field. Students work with their primary faculty advisor to determine appropriate coursework.

Students take a written exam in their major division of history and defend to a committee of three faculty members.

Students who choose a research option instead of a written exam must complete and defend a research essay to a committee of three faculty members. The essay must be based on original research and completed under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The finished essay should emulate the character of articles in learned journals, just as the Ph.D. dissertation takes the form of a full-length scholarly monograph.

M.A./J.D.

The Department of History and the College of Law offer a combined Master of Arts/Juris Doctor. The combined degree program allows students to count a limited amount of credit toward both degrees.

Separate application to each degree program is required. Applicants must be admitted to both programs before they may be admitted to the combined degree program. For information about the J.D., see Juris Doctor, J.D. (College of Law) in the Catalog.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Applicants submit their application online. Along with the official application, they submit academic transcripts; examples of original writing, such as a term paper, a seminar paper, or an honors thesis; letters of recommendation from three persons familiar with the student's past academic work; and a one- or two-page personal statement of the applicant's purpose for doing graduate work. See History (M.A. or Ph.D.) on the University of Iowa Graduate Admissions website for more information.

All application materials are due by January 15 for entry the following August.

Graduate study in history prepares students for occupations such as high school or college teaching, publishing, commercial research, foundations and nongovernmental organizations, and government or other public service. With additional specialized training, students may become qualified for careers in historical site preparation and display, and archival, library, or museum work.

Some students choose to pursue the combined Master of Arts/Juris Doctor program which leads to degrees in both law and history; see Combined Programs in this section of the Catalog.

The University of Iowa’s history graduates who earn an M.A. experience remarkable job placement rates, depending on their area of study. Graduate and postdoctoral career services offers multiple resources to assist students in locating opportunities and preparing for jobs upon completion of the program.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

History, M.A.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
30 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a
 Hours0
First Year
Fall
HIST:6002 Introduction to Graduate Studies in History: Historiography and Methods b 3
Major Division course c, d 3
Major Division course c, d 3
 Hours9
Spring
Major Division course c, d 3
Second Division course c, d 3
HIST:6003 History Theory and Interpretation c, d 3
 Hours9
Second Year
Fall
Major Division course c, d 3
Second Division course c, d 3
Third Division course c, d 3
 Hours9
Spring
Elective course c, d 3
Final Exam e
 Hours3
 Total Hours30
a
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
b
Required during first semester in the program.
c
Students must take 12 s.h. of coursework (one course numbered 6000 or above) in one major division of history, and 6 s.h. each in two other divisions (with at least one course numbered 6000 or above in one of the two divisions) either in history or a related field.
d
Work with faculty advisor to determine appropriate coursework; refer to the General Catalog and department website for courses and specifics.
e
Written and oral examination in the student's major division of history.