Jan 28, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

History, MA


Graduate Program Director/Coordinator: M. Todd Bennett (Brewster 319-A; 252-328-1033; bennettm@ecu.edu)

The Department of History offers students five areas of concentration as follows: American history, Atlantic World history, European history, military history, and public history. The Department also offers students two options to obtain a master of arts in history degree: a thesis option, which is highly recommended for students planning to pursue a doctoral degree, teach at the college level, or seek employment in the historical profession; and a nonthesis option, intended primarily for professional educators, military officers, members of the general public and others interested in advanced historical study.

The thesis option requires a total of 30 s.h. of coursework. The student is required to take a minimum of 24 s.h. in one of the five areas of concentration, to which the historiography course, the seminar, and the thesis will contribute 12 s.h. of credit. (The concentration in public history requires successful completion of an internship in lieu of the seminar.) The student must also take a total of 6 s.h. either in a related field of history outside of the major concentration or (at the recommendation of the advisor and director of graduate studies, and with the approval of the chairperson of the Department of History) outside the Department of History.

An oral comprehensive examination will be a component of the thesis defense. Candidates will be required to demonstrate their knowledge of their field of concentration as well as establish how their thesis contributes to that field of study.

The nonthesis option requires a total of 36 s.h. of coursework. The student is required to take a minimum of 24 s.h. in one of the five areas of concentration, to which the historiography course, the seminar, and the directed research project (HIST 6993 ) will contribute 9 s.h. of credit. (The concentration in public history requires successful completion of an internship in lieu of the seminar.) The student must also take a total of 12 s.h. either in a related field of history outside of the major concentration or (at the recommendation of the advisor and director of graduate studies, and with the approval of the chairperson of the Department of History) outside the Department of History. A minimum of 6 s.h. of the nonconcentration requirement must be satisfied at the 6000-level.

In lieu of a traditional thesis, the nonthesis student will complete a capstone project in which they pursue independent research on a significant question or problem of their choice, engage the scholarly debates in the historical discipline, and with the guidance of a faculty mentor produce a substantial project that reflects a deep understanding of the topic and has professional application. Capstone projects include, but are not limited to, article-length historiographic essays, annotated syllabi, lesson plans, and digital history initiatives. An oral comprehensive examination will be a component of the capstone project defense. Candidates will be required to demonstrate their knowledge of their field of concentration as well as establish how their project contributes to that field of study.

In addition to the 30 or 36 s.h. of coursework described above, students pursuing either option must fulfill the department’s research skills requirement by: a) successful demonstration of reading knowledge in a foreign language (FORL 6000  satisfies this requirement); or b) successful completion of HIST 5950 , HIST 5951 ; or c) successful completion of CSCI 2600. If HIST 5950, HIST 5951 are used to satisfy the research skills requirement, they may not be counted toward the 30 or 36 s.h. requirement for the degree. Students who intend to pursue a PhD program are strongly advised to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Students admitted to one option may subsequently switch to the other option, with the approval of the advisor, the graduate studies director, and the dean of the Graduate School. Students may switch options only once.

Minimum degree requirement is 30 (thesis option) or 36 (nonthesis option) semester hours as follows:

I. Thesis Option (30 s.h.)


B. Seminar or internship - 3 s.h.


C. Area of concentration - 12 s.h.


(American history, Atlantic World history, European history, military history, or public history)

Note: The student consults with the faculty advisor and director of graduate studies to determine concentration courses. A list of HIST courses can be generated by using the course filter   within this catalog. 

D. Related history coursework outside area of concentration - 6 s.h.


Note: At the recommendation of the advisor and director of graduate studies, and with the approval of the chair of the Department of History, students may be able to take the 6 s.h. outside the Department of History. Please see the director of graduate studies for more information about this option.

E. Research skills requirement


Students fulfill the research skills requirement by successfully completing one of the following:

Note: If HIST 5950, HIST 5951 are used to satisfy the research skills requirement, they may not be counted toward the 30 s.h. requirement for the thesis option. Students who intend to pursue a PhD program are strongly advised to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

II. Nonthesis Option (36 s.h.)


B. Seminar or internship - 3 s.h.


C. Area of concentration - 15 s.h.


(American history, Atlantic World history, European history, and military history, and public history concentrations)

Note: The student consults with the faculty advisor and director of graduate studies to determine concentration courses. A list of HIST courses can be generated by using the course filter  within this catalog. 

D. Related history coursework outside area of concentration - 12 s.h.


Note: At the recommendation of the advisor and director of graduate studies, and with the approval of the chair of the Department of History, students may be able to take the 12 s. h. outside the Department of History. Please see the director of graduate studies for more information about this option.

E. Research skills requirement


Students fulfill the research skills requirement by successfully completing one of the following:

  • Satisfactory demonstration of reading knowledge in a foreign language or successfully completing FORL 6000 
  • Successful completion of HIST 5950  and HIST 5951 

Note: If HIST 5950, HIST 5951 are used to satisfy the research skills requirement, they may not be counted toward the 36 s. h. requirement for the nonthesis option. Students who intend to pursue a PhD program are strongly advised to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Comprehensive Examination Requirement


All graduate programs at ECU require students to successfully complete a comprehensive assessment. The History, MA requires the following: 

  • Thesis option: Successful completion of the thesis (HIST 7000 ) and oral defense satisfy this requirement.
  • Nonthesis option: Successful completion of the capstone project (HIST 6993 ) and a comprehensive examination (written and/or oral) satisfy this requirement.