2010-2011 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 08, 2023  
2010-2011 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, Accelerated BA/MA Program

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study


The M.A. in History provides the highly-motivated student with an opportunity to work intensively under the direction of one or two faculty members, as junior and senior honors students in upper-level undergraduate courses that include graduate students, and as M.A. students working in a graduate seminar with Ph.D. students, in upper-level undergraduate courses that include graduate students, and in individually-designed tutorials under the direction of a faculty advisor. By undertaking intensive research in primary sources in the undergraduate honors program, students are typically able to complete the Master’s degree in only one additional year beyond the B.A. degree.

Departmental eligibility requirements

The M.A. in history is open only to history undergraduate majors who successfully complete the honors program in history.

Program of study

In the senior year, students take eight courses, three of which are in the Honors Program: one directed readings course (299.1) in the general area of the student’s research, and two Honors Thesis courses, one each semester, in which the student conducts research in primary sources and completes an honors thesis (followed by an oral defense with the thesis advisor and one other department faculty member). Typically, of the five remaining courses, the student would probably take several other history courses, mostly at the 200 level. Several of these would likely be related to the student’s area of specialization. Our students typically specialize in the main areas of our graduate program, American History or Holocaust History, because these are the only areas in which we regularly offer upper-level undergraduate research seminars and graduate seminars. In the fifth year, the student typically takes one graduate seminar each semester, one 200-level course (with an additional graduate level assignment such as a research paper), and one directed readings or directed research course on a tutorial basis. Typically, the directed research or the graduate seminar is taken for two academic credits, so that the student takes four graduate credit units each semester. The M.A. student has two options in fulfilling the research requirement for the master’s degree:

Option 1:

The traditional master’s thesis, which is usually done over two semesters (one thesis research course each semester) often with the writing being completed after the academic year is finished. While this is recommended for those students who intend to continue on in a Ph.D. program, it is difficult to complete all the required course work and a master’s thesis within one academic year.

Option 2:

One research paper in each semester (either from a graduate seminar or a directed research course. The two research papers are usually revised (on the advice of one or more faculty members) and then submitted to the director of graduate studies who, with one or more other faculty members, determine that the two research papers are the equivalent in research experience to the traditional master’s thesis.

Program advisor

(Signature Required on Application: Part 1)
Professor Drew McCoy
History Department
Jefferson Academic Center

Advice for students

The most important advice for students wishing to enter the B.A./M.A. program in history is that they need to acquire the necessary research and writing skills as an undergraduate in order to complete the rigorous research requirements for the master’s degree within one year. The student ideally should decide by the sophomore year to become a History major, and should take History 120, Writing History, in the second semester of the sophomore year. Then in the junior year, the student should take several 200-level history courses, and at least one seminar, in preparation for the honors program in History in the senior year. The honors program, with three courses in the senior year, two of which are devoted to research and writing the honors thesis, provides excellent training for the rigors of graduate-level work in the fifth year.

Student profiles

  • Melodee Beals completed her B.A. in 2004 and her M.A. in 2005. Her senior honors thesis, directed by Professor Greenwood, was entitled, “Caledonian Canaan: Scottish Cultural Identity in Colonial New England.” Building on her honors thesis, she wrote a master’s thesis, directed by Professor Klooster, “Thinning Acquaintances: National, Familial, and Commercial Identity in the British Atlantic World, 1740-1840.” Melodee’s research in Scottish history has led her to the University of Glasgow where she is pursuing a doctorate.
  • Jeffrey Malanson completed his B.A. in 2003 and his M.A. in 2004. Working with Professor McCoy, Jeff wrote an honors thesis on “The Symbiotic Evolution and Complex Relationship of the Electoral College and Political Parties.” His master’s thesis, “The Monroe Doctrine Revisited: Its Origin, Principles, and Intent,” was directed by Professor Klooster. Jeff is currently working on his Ph.D in American history at Boston College.
  • Lisa Donofrio completed her B.A. in 2003 and her M.A. in 2005. She pursued her interests in the Holocaust, African American slavery, and women’s history in her honors thesis, “Blessed Burden: A Comparative Analysis of Motherhood as Experienced by Jewish Women during the Holocaust and African-American Women during Slavery,” directed by Professor Greenwood. Lisa completed her M.A. with two original research papers: one that analyzed letters of ex-slaves to their former masters in the U.S. South after their migration to Liberia; and second paper that compared domestic service among black women in the Jim Crow South and South Africa during apartheid. Lisa currently works for a social services agency in Pittsburgh.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study