History (M.A.)

History (M.A.)
History Professor

Why get a master’s degree in history?

With an M.A. in history, you’ll gain an advanced understanding of how societies, cultures, economics, politics, science and arts of the past have shaped today’s world. Our Master of Arts degree is highly flexible, so you can tailor your program to meet your needs. Our faculty are experts in a wide range of times, places and subjects, with particular strengths in cultural history, women's history, military history, the history of religion, Atlantic history, and the history of science and technology. In this graduate program, you’ll be trained in methods of historical research and writing that will prepare you for a professional career or advanced studies.

Why choose UNH for your history degree?

UNH’s internationally recognized history faculty have won some of the most important prizes in the profession, including the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Fulbright fellowships, as well as many teaching excellence awards. Surveys of scholarly productivity among faculty at comparable research universities have placed us among the top 20% of history departments nationwide. In addition, the department offers lecture series that bring in visiting scholars, as well as the Rutman Distinguished Lecture Series on the American Presidency, which focuses on American political history, emphasizing the modern and historical context of the American presidency.

Potential career areas

  • Academia/teaching 
  • Archeology 
  • Business 
  • Cinema/theater
  • Human resources 
  • International relations 
  • Journalism 
  • Law
  • Media relations 
  • Museum administration 
  • Politics 
  • Publishing 

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Curriculum & Requirements

Our Master of Arts degree programs are highly flexible, so students can design programs tailored to individual needs. All MA students will work with a three-member faculty committee for their final capstone experience. The three-member faculty committee will take the form either of a thesis committee, an oral exam committee, or (for museum studies students) a project committee.

Degree Requirements

Completion of the MA degree requires at least 30 credits of coursework.  A master's student designs a specific program to meet one of three plans. Plan A allows substantial training and research in a single subfield of history but within a foundation of broader coursework. Plan B allows substantial breadth over at least two subfields. The subfields in history include the following: the ancient world, medieval Europe, early modern Europe, modern Europe, European intellectual history, medieval England, early modern England, modern England, early modern France, modern France, early modern Germany, modern Germany, Iberia, Russia, early U.S., modern U.S., colonial Latin America, modern Latin America, the Far East, the Near East, sub-Saharan Africa, and the history of science. Plan C allows students who enter the doctoral program without an M.A. to pursue the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees simultaneously.

Plan A requires at least eight courses in history numbered 800 or above, including at least one research seminar, and a 6­-credit thesis (HIST 899 Master's Thesis) in a single subfield (equivalent to two courses).

Plan B requires at least 10 courses in history numbered 800 or above, including at least one research seminar, and an oral examination demonstrating competence in two subfields of history.

Plan C requires at least 30 credits of coursework during preparation for the Ph.D. qualifying examinations; submission of a seminar or other research paper as a demonstration of competence in basic research techniques; and passing Ph.D. qualifying examinations. An MA will be awarded when the qualifying examinations are passed.

Please consult the History Department's Graduate Student Handbook for additional details.

This graduate program is approved to be taken on an accelerated basis in articulation with certain undergraduate degree programs.

General Accelerated Master's policy, note that some programs have additional requirements (e.g. higher grade expectations) compared to the policy.

Please see the Graduate School website and contact the department directly for more information.

  • Students will be able to demonstrate broad knowledge of historical events and periods and their significance.
  • Students will be able to explain and critique the historical schools of thought that have shaped scholarly understanding of their fields of study.
  • Students will be able to deploy skills of critical analysis: 1) Formulating persuasive arguments; 2) Evaluating evidence and critiquing claims in the literature; 3)Interpreting a variety of primary sources.
  • Students will be able to conduct research that makes an original contribution to knowledge, deploying these essential skills: 1) Reviewing the state of the field to identify a new topic and locate their work within larger scholarly conversations; 2) Identifying and accessing a sufficient base of primary sources; 3) Producing a high-quality research paper, well-written and meeting professional standards typical for conference presentation or academic publication.

Apply now


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 1; April 10 (for UNH juniors/seniors applying to the Accelerated Masters program only)
  • Spring: Nov 10 (Spring only allowed for UNH juniors/seniors applying to the Accelerated Masters program and other approved applicants)
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

All applicants must submit a writing sample with their application.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.


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