Auburn offers three graduate programs in history:
Our graduate students have a strong record of job placement both inside and outside of academia. The page below provides a detailed explanation of graduation requirements. For a more general overview on what each of these programs looks like we encourage you to check out our Introduction to Graduate School page.
Graduate Degree Requirements
The MA degree requires satisfactory completion of at least 31 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, consisting of 28 hours of coursework as well as 3 hours of HIST 7990 (Research and Thesis). Required courses are HIST 7700 (Seminar in Historical Methods), HIST 7710 (Graduate Research and Writing Seminar) or HIST 7800 (Independent Research Seminar), HIST 8700 (Historiography and Theory of History), HIST 8710 (Introduction to the Teaching of History), and 3 hours of HIST 7990 (Research and Thesis). There are special requirements for students in the Public History program.
There are three options for the research and writing of the master's thesis project. Students will consult with the thesis advisor to determine which option to pursue. These options are detailed below:
Option A is a master’s thesis of at least 10,000 words (length subject to approval by advisor). Students will begin research on this thesis in a research seminar in their first or second semester. Students should consult with their thesis advisor at the end of the second semester to determine if they will need to complete additional research during the summer. During their fourth semester, students will enroll in three hours of HIST 7990: Research and Thesis to focus on revising and preparing the thesis for distribution to the thesis committee. Students are also encouraged—with the approval of their advisor—to consider submitting their thesis to a graduate or professional journal.
Option B is a master’s thesis of at least 25,000 words (length subject to approval by advisor). Students will begin research on this thesis in a research seminar in their first or second semester. Students should consult with their thesis advisors at the end of the second semester to determine if they will need to complete additional research during the summer. During their fourth semester, students will enroll in HIST 7990: Research and Thesis to focus on revising and preparing their thesis for distribution to the thesis committee.
Option C is a master’s applied history project, typically (but not always) for students pursuing Public History. The project portfolio will include an essay of at least 5,000 words (length subject to approval by advisor) that demonstrates the significance of their Master's research. The remainder of the project portfolio should document the finished project(s) that the MA student produced through their research. These projects may include museum exhibits, pamphlets, archival finding aids, websites, research databases, digital maps, interpretive plans and other projects deemed appropriate by their MA advisor and committee. Students will demonstrate that their projects have been or are scheduled to be disseminated in an appropriate fashion before scheduling their oral defense.
The PhD requires satisfactory completion of at least 65 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, consisting of 55 hours of coursework as well as 10 hours of HIST 8990 (Research and Dissertation). HIST 7700 (Seminar in Historical Methods), HIST 8700 (Historiography and Theory of History), and HIST 8710 (Introduction to the Teaching of History) are required courses.
At least 42 hours of coursework taken towards the PhD degree must be in graduate seminars (including research seminars and internships) rather than lecture courses and readings seminars. The doctoral program also requires that a student take a research and writing seminar in either their second or third semester of coursework. They may, on the recommendation of their major advisor, take one further research seminar. After completing coursework, they must register for a minimum of 10 hours of HIST 8990 (Research and Dissertation).
Demonstration of reading proficiency in at least one foreign language is also required for the doctorate; however, students should be aware that language instruction is not a regular component of the graduate program. The Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures provides some preparatory courses but the Department of History cannot guarantee their availability. Prospective students are therefore strongly advised to develop knowledge of a foreign language prior to joining the program.
The Certificate in Public History is open to students enrolled in the master’s and doctoral program, and to students who have already completed a MLIS or MA in history at Auburn or elsewhere. The certificate is designed to give students a grounding in the fundamentals of the field, preparing them for employment in public history organizations. Internship opportunities via Auburn’s Public History Program are vast and include positions in diverse settings, ranging from museums and public heritage groups to historic sites, archives and state agencies, including the National Park Service. In every case, internships are customized to each student’s interests, coursework and career goals.
Graduate degrees in history begin with coursework. In the first years in the program, a full-time student will take three courses per semester until they have satisfactorily completed the program requirement of 27 hours (for MA students) or 55 hours (for PhD students).
Required courses for MA and PhD students include HIST 7700 (Historical Methods), HIST 8700 (Historiography and Theory of History), HIST 8710 (Introduction to the Teaching of History), and a research and writing seminar. Other courses are elective. More detailed information about these and other requirements can be found in the Graduate Handbook.
The University Bulletin lists all the courses currently in the Auburn curriculum. Note that these course offerings may change in response to student enrollment, faculty availability, changes in program requirements, and other circumstances. Lists of graduate courses offered in the department are also available under Current Course Listing.