The master's program in history is a small, selective program of graduate study that emphasizes a comparative understanding of the historical process. It is organized around colloquia in comparative and regional topics, the preparation of specific fields, and individual research in consultation with a faculty member.
The program is designed both to prepare students for doctoral programs in history and to enhance the historical knowledge and interpretive skills of professionals working in secondary schools, libraries, foundations, and museums. In recent years, M.A. recipients have moved on to Ph.D. programs at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brandeis, Boston University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Michigan.
Completion of the program requires proven reading proficiency in at least one language besides English. Proficiency can be demonstrated either by passing one of the language exams administered expressly for this purpose by the foreign language departments at Tufts or by taking two courses in a single foreign language, the second coming at least at level 3 of language courses given at Tufts. To assist in deciding which route to adopt, each incoming student must take the pertinent foreign language placement exam at the time of registration for the first term, and upon receiving the results anyone intending to take courses must indicate a plan to do so within two years.
Normally, students are expected to complete the MA program within two academic years. The successful completion of ten courses is required. These courses must include the following:
The Historiography Proseminar (HIST 200)
One Graduate Colloquium
At least one Research Seminar
Either an additional Research Seminar or one semester of directed graduate research
Up to two of the ten courses required for the master's degree may, by prior agreement with the principal advisor, be taken in a department other than History. Appropriate courses offered by the Fletcher School will be accepted by petition for graduate credit in history.
A student may devote two out of ten courses to the writing of a thesis. In that case, only one additional course needs to be allocated for a Research Seminar or directed graduate research. In the second year of graduate study, the student will present a research project drawn from graduate course work at Tufts to an ongoing Graduate History Roundtable for critical discussion.
Students will prepare two fields of study to be offered for examination. These fields may be regional or thematic in focus. Each student will consult with his or her graduate program advisor and a field committee to design a sequence of courses that will provide preparation for examinations in each field. Examinations must be taken at least six weeks prior to graduation. If the student chooses to write a thesis, only one field, different from the field of the thesis, need to be prepared for the examination.
Interpret primary and secondary sources quickly and critically.
Understand printed and electronic historical research aids, exhibit knowledge of bibliographical search procedures, and have the ability to effectively develop research bibliographies.
Understand the broad outlines of historical interpretation and narrative in a field of specialization.
Display knowledge of dominant schools of historical explanation and narrative, and exhibit the ability to apply the various interpretative frameworks to the investigation of data.
Exhibit disciplined habits of research through experience at gathering primary and secondary historical data and effectively storing them so as to be readily retrieved.
Construct a historical argument—marshaling arguments for interpretation or narrative involving complex data—and write up results or narrative in clear, persuasive language.
Display facility at presenting historical arguments orally and describing research and findings to an audience.
Exhibit knowledge of a language other than English, sufficient for research into sources in that language.
Work cooperatively on the investigation of an area of historical inquiry and be able to accommodate one’s own research to findings of co-researchers.
Exhibit an elementary ability to lead classroom discussion of historical material, assess historical work, and organize readings and agenda for analysis into an effective syllabus.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the availability of standardized testing, GRE scores are currently waived for students applying to this program.
Official TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable
Three letters of recommendation