The Department of History strongly recommends that students have either an undergraduate major or minor in history, or a closely related field when applying to the graduate program. Students are anticipated to enter during the fall semester but will be considered for admissions for spring semester on a case by case basis. The deadline for Fall semester applications is January 1. Applications that do not meet the deadline will not be considered for university or departmental financial assistance.
Applicants who wish to enter the history master’s program must seek admission through the School of Graduate Studies. The online application can be found at here.
When you apply on the School of Graduate Studies website, you will be asked to submit:
- An undergraduate transcript. The School of Graduate Studies expects that you will have a minimum 3.0 GPA over the last 60 hours of your undergraduate work. A 3.5 GPA in history courses is highly recommended.
- Three (3) letters of recommendation
- A Statement of Purpose (500 words or less) that describes why you want to earn a graduate degree, your historical fields of interests, and the experiences and qualifications that make you a strong candidate for advanced study. If applying to study part-time, please indicate this here as well.
- Writing Sample. The writing sample should be a paper or essay that displays your historical analytical and research skills, especially use of primary sources and interpretation of secondary sources. It is usually a paper written for an undergraduate class, between 10 and 30 pages (but no more than 40 pages).
- (Optional) GRE scores. For those choosing to submit their GRE scores, applicants must have a minimum GRE score at or above the 40th percentile on the verbal section and should have a score at or above the 40th percentile on the quantitative portion of the exam. The department expects applicants to have a minimum written score of 4.5. Minimal scores and GPA's are usually not competitive for admission to our program and for consideration for assistantships or fellowships.
An admissions committee of history faculty members ranks the applications based upon a careful assessment of each application’s strengths and weaknesses. The committee gives preference to applicants whose scholarly interests match our faculty strengths. Applicants should therefore contact departmental professors with whom they wish to work prior to the review period. Based upon the committee’s ranking, students will receive offers of acceptance and university or departmental funding beginning in early March.
Advanced work in history entails the analysis of original documents. Depending upon your field of concentration, this may require the knowledge of one or more languages in addition to what you have already studied. Your supervisory committee may stipulate that you initiate the study of a language as a part of your graduate program, even though the hours of language study will not count toward the 30 credits required for the master's degree.
Collectively, members of the history faculty at Utah State use more than two dozen languages in their research. You should be aware that even for students in fields where the research materials are largely in English doctoral programs in the U.S. require a knowledge of one or more languages.
Incoming students to the history graduate program must declare their intended program of study (MA or MS) and either the thesis plan (A) or non-thesis plan (B).
Thesis: Plan A
The two Plan A programs require the research and writing of a full-scale thesis. Anyone intending to do research or enter another program for a doctoral degree should follow Plan A.
Of the 30 semester credit hours required beyond the bachelor's degree, six hours must be in thesis research. Students must take three 3-credit seminars: Hist 6000 Historical Methods and Research, Hist 6010 History and Theory, and Hist 6030 Research Seminar. Students interning in an archive, museum, scholarly journal, or working as a teaching intern in an upper-division undergraduate course may apply a maximum of four internship credits toward the degree.
The remainder of the 30 hours may be taken as electives in history or related graduate courses relevant to the student's program. Courses taken outside the department must be approved by the student's graduate committee.
Upon arrival at USU, students are urged to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies for the department who will direct them to one or more faculty members who have interests in the student's chosen field. Through consultations with their graduate thesis advisor first-year students will form a thesis committee and draw up a course of study. By the end of the first year, most students will have submitted to their committee a proposal for the thesis, which they will write under the close supervision of the head of their thesis committee.
The oral defense of the thesis usually takes place in the Spring semester of the second year. Following the defense, students must submit their thesis to the School of Graduate Studies for approval by the thesis coordinator.
Non-Thesis: Plan B
A non-thesis master's program can help a student attain employment in many areas, but is not recommended for students planning to secure a doctorate.
The Plan B program consists of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. The course requirements are identical to those of the Plan A except that only three thesis credit hours are permitted.
Students completing the Plan B program do not write a full-scale thesis. Instead, they produce a research paper of around 30 pages and submit a portfolio of their graduate writing that includes two additional and distinct pieces of work. Students defend their Plan B research paper and writing portfolio before their major professor and the members of the supervisory committee. Final approval of the Plan B rests with the department rather than the graduate school.
Our graduate students are engaged in diverse research projects under the guidance of our accomplished faculty members. Research trips have taken students as far away as Germany, Italy, Poland, and India and as close as special collections at the Merrill-Cazier Library. Many of our graduates gain valuable teaching experience as Graduate Assistants, and others receive hands-on experience through our internship program, including placements at the Huntington Library, Hill Aerospace Museum, and the Bear River Land Conservancy.
Graduate Teaching Assistantship: Awardees receive a stipend of $10,000 and the department will pay their tuition. In return, TAs work approximately 20 hrs. per week as graders in 1000-level history and religious studies survey classes. Awards are dispersed for two years as long as students remain in good standing. Students who wish to be considered for graduate teaching assistantships should complete the Department's assistantship form.
Fellowships: The History Department also regularly offers fellowships in Public History. These fellowships include a $10,000 stipend and tuition coverage. Recent Public History Fellowshipsincludethe Hill Aerospace Museum and the Utah HistoricalQuarterly.
The Norm Jones Graduate Student Fellowship: Provides a $1,000 scholarship to a graduate student in their second year. Check back soon for details on how to apply for this fellowship.
The Charles S. and Elizabeth H. Peterson Fellowship: Offers in-state tuition and a $10,000 stipend for one year of graduate study, renewable for a second year depending on the availability of funding and the student's performance. This fellowship is awarded to a newly-admitted student interested in the history of the North American West. Application to the program ensures consideration for this fellowship. No further application required.
The Charles Redd Graduate Fellowship: The fellowship offers in-state tuition and a $10,000 stipend for one year of graduate study, renewable for a second year depending on the availability of funding and the student’s performance. (Waivers are often available to cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.) The successful candidate will work as a research assistant for Prof. Ravi M. Gupta, Charles Redd Chair of Religious Studies, while pursuing a Master’s degree in History at USU. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Gupta to discuss their interests and qualifications. Application to the program ensures consideration for this fellowship. No further application required.
The Leonard Arrington Graduate Fellowship: The fellowship offers in-state tuition and a $10,000 stipend for one year of graduate study, renewable for a second year depending on the availability of funding and the student’s performance. (Waivers are often available to cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.) The successful candidate will work as a research assistant for Patrick Q. Mason, Arrington Chair of Mormon Studies, while pursuing a Master’s degree in History at USU. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Mason to discuss their interests and qualifications. Application to the program ensures consideration for this fellowship. No further application required.
Special Collections Fellowship: Graduate students may compete for a year-long fellowship in USU's Special Collections. This award carries a stipend and tuition award.
Graduate Internships: Internships provide an opportunity for students to both help fund their education and receive valuable hands-on experience. For more information on how to find an internship and make it count for course credit, please consult the internship page.
History Department Travel Awards: These award amounts vary. Students who have been accepted to a conference or who have received a research travel award are eligible to apply by submitting this application.