The History Master's Degree

The M.A. in History emphasizes the development of analytical research skills necessary for studying the past. The curriculum focuses on the comprehension and appraisal of historiographical perspectives and debates, the methodologies and practices of research in primary sources, and the development of skills necessary for the interpretation of the past for a public audience. The program offers a choice of three concentrations: Public History, United States History, and World History. The curriculum is designed to serve students with a variety of goals, including those interested in teaching; those pursuing careers with business, labor, or community organizations; those seeking employment in historical agencies, museums, historical societies, or archives; those desiring the intellectual stimulation of a challenging discipline; and those interested in continuing advanced education.

Questions about admissions, funding and internships, degree requirements, faculty interests, and career placements? Continue below or contact us at

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The History Department accepts students for both Fall and Spring semesters, with a rolling deadline for application. Generally, applicants seeking funding should apply for Fall semester by March 1. Visit UIS Admissions for more information about the application process.

Funding and Scholarships

History MA students have an outstanding recent record of securing internship, assistantships, and scholarships--many that include tuition waivers.

  • Graduate Assistantships: Assistantships in UIS departments and offices provide monthly stipends during the contract period. Assistants are eligible to receive a tuition and service fee waiver (this includes the activity fee, the intercollegiate athletic fee, the Career Center fee, and up to 8 credit hours of the Health Service fee) for qualifying course work. General fees and course fees are not waived. Assistants are entitled to a maximum of 30 credit hours of tuition waived during the academic year (includes fall, spring, and summer semesters). Application deadline: March 15.
  • Graduate Public Service Internship Program: GPSI is ranked as one of Illinois’ premier governmental internship programs. For over 45 years this program has provided top-flight graduate students with a high quality graduate education, real world experience, and lifelong networking connections. Recent GPSI locations for History students have included: Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, State Historic Sites of Springfield, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Revenue, and the Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program. Positions include a monthly stipend, tuition waivers, and professional development funding. Application deadline: March 15.

Degree Requirements

Visit the UIS Catalog for details on course curriculum.

Alumni Success

Graduates from the UIS History MA program work as professionals throughout the country. Just a partial list of recent placements includes:

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, Illinois)
  • Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site (Springfield, Illinois)
  • Illinois State Archives (Springfield, Illinois)
  • Illinois State Museum (Springfield, Illinois)
  • Smithsonian National Museum of American History (Washington, DC)
  • National Archives and Records Administration (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office (Charleston, West Virginia)
  • Green Macadoo Cultural Center (Clinton, Tennessee)
  • Preservation Massachusetts (Plymouth, Massachusetts)
  • Museum of the Yellowstone (West Yellowstone, Montana)

Recent MA alumni have also joined doctoral study programs at the University of Mississippi, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Arizona.

Graduate Handbook

The Handbook is designed to help you navigate your journey through the History MA program. It contains guides to the curricula for the three concentrations and explains the timeline, requirements, formatting guidelines, and procedure for the closure options. The Handbook also contains helpful links and resources, including those related awards and scholarships.

Read the Graduate Handbook here (PDF).

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