Texas Tech University

Master of Arts Program

Information about departmental admission standards, prerequisites, and other matters dealing with graduate study in history may be acquired by consulting the departmental website  or by contacting the department's Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator.

Program Requirements

The Department of History offers two different kinds of Master of Arts degrees in History – the MA academic preparatory concentration (with thesis) and the terminal MA, or professional enrichment preparatory concentration (non-thesis).

Academic Preparatory Concentration

A student in the MA academic preparatory concentration (thesis track) must successfully complete at least 36 hours of graduate work to receive the Master of Arts degree. A minimum of 24 hours must be taken in the Department of History at Texas Tech. All Department of History graduate courses meet face-to-face (no online courses are offered). The coursework includes 12 hours taken at the 5000-level in one of three geographic areas of concentration (United States, Europe, or World) and 12 hours of elective graduate coursework. Of the electives, 6 hours must be chosen from geographic areas outside of the student's geographic area of concentration. Students must complete the required HIST 5304 and HIST 6301 courses in the first semester they are offered after the student's admission to the program. HIST 5304 must be taken before HIST 6301. HIST 5304 and HIST 6301 must also be taken before completing 6 hours of thesis hours (HIST 6000). Students cannot take more than 6 hours at the 7000-level. Within this framework, students are strongly advised to plan their programs with the advice and consent of the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Director of Graduate Studies, and their primary faculty advisor.

Course Requirements

  • HIST 5304 (take first semester course offered after admission)
  • HIST 6301 (take first semester course offered after completing HIST 5304)
  • Geographic Area of Concentration (12 semester credit hours)
  • Electives (12 semester credit hours, 6 of which must be outside the geographic area of concentration)
  • HIST 6000 - Master's Thesis (6 semester credit hours)

Foreign Language Requirement

One foreign language is required for the MA thesis-concentration degree according to the following guidelines:
  1. Proficiency in one language other than English is required of all candidates for the MA thesis-concentration degree.
  1. "Proficiency" in a language is defined according to the following parameters:
    • Native speaker status as certified by the Graduate Studies Committee;
    • Attainment of a grade of C- or better in a fourth semester undergraduate course (in Texas numeration, the 2302 course);
    • Attainment of a grade of B- or better in the accelerated graduate language course (in Texas Numeration the 5341 or 5342 course);
    • Other class work equivalent to the above; OR
    • Demonstration of an equivalent level of competency through an approved exam.


Thesis work is directed by a committee consisting of at least two members of the history graduate faculty. Other faculty who may be a scholar with relevant expertise from the Department of History, another department, or another university, can be added to the committee if the thesis director, student, and graduate advisor conclude that the nature of the thesis topic warrants it. After the final version of the thesis has been approved by the committee, students are required to pass an oral defense of the thesis.

Terminal Master of Arts Concentration
(Non- Thesis Professional Enrichment Track)

The professional enrichment concentration is designed to assist persons for whom a two-year graduate degree would provide career advancement in a chosen or desired field other than that for which a history PhD is required. The focus of the terminal MA is on providing a platform for developing critical analytical skills (reading, written, and oral) within a historical framework. The program provides intense study of up to three interrelated geographic or thematic fields. The terminal MA concludes with written examinations in the student's chosen fields of study. The degree does not require the completion of a thesis-length work. For this reason, the terminal MA track is not intended for those whose interests are oriented toward undertaking PhD work in history. Some of the careers for which obtaining a terminal MA in History may be an asset include the following: education/teaching (K-12 or community college), library studies, non-governmental agencies, social work, journalism, campaign management, genealogist, archivist/archival administration, public historian, corporate management, community organizer, counseling, public affairs, political activism, and entertainment industry historical consultant.

Course Requirements

A student in this plan must successfully complete at least 36 hours of graduate work to receive the terminal Master of Arts degree. A minimum of 24 hours must be taken in the Department of History and at least 3 hours must be taken at the 6000-level. No more than 6 hours may be taken at the 7000-level. Students must complete HIST 5304 and HIST 6301. Students are also required to select two focus areas (either geographic and/or from the thematic fields list produced by the department) with 12 required hours of coursework in each. The remaining 6 discretionary/elective hours toward the degree can be used either to intensify work in an already selected focus area or pursue an appropriate minor in another department. Within this framework, students will plan their program with the advice and consent of the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Director of Graduate Studies, and their primary faculty advisor. The student will select their primary advisor by the end of their first semester of coursework. The primary advisor functions as the Chair of the student's MA committee and as one of the two field representatives. The primary advisor will be joined by at least one other member of the faculty in the department to serve as the student's other field representative.

The 36 hours are distributed as follows:

  • HIST 5304
  • HIST 6301
  • Focus Area One: 12 semester credit hours
  • Focus Area Two: 12 semester credit hours
  • Discretionary/Elective Courses: 6 semester credit hours

Foreign Language Requirement

No foreign language is required for the terminal MA degree.

Comprehensive Examinations

MA non-thesis concentration students who have completed their required coursework will take comprehensive examinations in their two focus areas administered by their committee members. Students can take the exams in the semester they complete their coursework. In the comprehensive examinations, the student is expected to demonstrate a high level of factual knowledge, an insight into problems of meaning and interpretation, and a command of the historiography and literature of the fields selected.