History - MA, PhD, Graduate Certificates

Degree Program:

Graduate Certificate:


The Department of History offers two graduate programs: the Master of Arts in History and the PhD in History. Additionally, the department offers Graduate Certificates in Public History and in Archival Studies. The graduate programs prepare students for careers in teaching, public history, archival management, government, and research. More information is available at  http://cla.auburn.edu/history/students/graduate-students/.

MA in History

Admission Requirements

For admission to the MA program, the student must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a satisfactory score on the General Test of the GRE. For more information about the Department of History’s expectations for admission, see http://cla.auburn.edu/history/students/graduate-students/admissions/. Applications must be approved by the department’s graduate committee. Applicants lacking course requirements must make up deficiencies before or after admission to the degree program. The committee's decisions are based on a review of all application materials. A minimum GRE score on its own does not guarantee acceptance.

Applicants will submit the following materials for consideration:

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Official scores from the General Test of the GRE sent from ETS
  • A writing sample
  • A statement of purpose
  • An application for an assistantship (for those who wish to be considered for funding--note earlier application deadline for assistantships)
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation

All materials for admission to the MA in History are due on March 15. January 15 is the due date for those wishing to be considered for assistantships.

MA Requirements

The MA requires a minimum of 31 hours and a thesis. Of the 31 hours, 21 must be in seminar courses, including HIST 7700 Seminar in Historical Methods and one research seminar.    In addition to possible concentrations in United States history, European history, and the history of technology, the MA program offers specializations in archival studies and public history, including practical training (a 3-hour required internship).  The Department does not admit students to pursue non-thesis MA degrees, but a MA degree (non-thesis) can be awarded to students in the doctoral program who have not previously earned the master’s upon passing the general examination for admission to candidacy for the PhD.

There is no language requirement for the MA degree.

PhD in History

Admission Requirements

For admission to the PhD program, the student must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a satisfactory score on the General Test of the GRE. For more information about the Department of History’s expectations for admission, see http://cla.auburn.edu/history/students/graduate-students/admissions/. Applications must be approved by the department’s graduate committee. The committee's decisions on admission are based on a review of all application materials. A minimum GRE score on its own does not guarantee acceptance.

Applicants will submit the following materials for consideration:

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Official scores from the General Test of the GRE sent from ETS
  • A writing sample
  • A statement of purpose
  • An application for an assistantship (for those who wish to be considered for funding--note earlier application deadline for assistantships)
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation

All materials for admission to the PhD in History are due on March 15. January 15 is the due date for those wishing to be considered for assistantships.

PhD Requirements

The program requires a minimum of 65 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, written and oral examinations, a dissertation and oral defense, and reading knowledge of at least one foreign language. Of the 65 hours, 43 must be at the 7000- or 8000-level, including at least 3 hours and not more than 6 hours in research seminars. The 65 semester hours include 10 hours of Research and Dissertation credit.

Three courses are required:

Major fields in history include the following:

  • United States to 1865
  • United States since 1865
  • Europe 1500-1789
  • Europe since 1789
  • History of Technology

In addition to the major field, students must construct two minor fields with a minimum of 9 hours of course work in each, and one breadth field with a minimum of 6 hours of course work. In each minor field at least one course must be a seminar, and no more than one independent readings course is allowed. Minor fields and specializations are offered in all of the preceding fields and additionally in Latin American history, world history, public history, archival studies, and other fields as approved by the department graduate committee. Students must have World History as either the breadth field or one of the minor fields. As part of this requirement, they will take at least one seminar that addresses current debates in the field of World History, for example,  HIST 7690 Seminar in Modern World History. Other courses may focus more narrowly on some aspect of non-European, non-United States history. With the approval of the GPO and committee members, a minor field or breadth field may be constructed in a discipline other than history.

To advance to candidacy, students must demonstrate excellence in their major field of history and competence in two minor fields of history on their general examinations through written and oral examinations. These examinations need to be successfully completed in the semester immediately following the completion of course work.

Within four months of successful completion of the oral examination, students present to the assembled dissertation committee a dissertation proposal for discussion and approval. Following a successful defense of the proposal, doctoral candidates have four years to present the written dissertation and defend it in an oral examination before their major professor and advisory committee. If the oral examination is judged unsatisfactory or not submitted in a timely manner, the general rules of the Graduate School on retests and extension will apply.

The PhD requires a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language as determined by the student’s doctoral committee. Language competency should be demonstrated before the student begins the fourth semester of the doctoral program.

Graduate Certificates in Archival Studies and Public History

In most circumstances, only students enrolled in a degree program in history or those who have completed an MA in History may enter the graduate certificate non-degree programs in history. However, applicants who have completed a master's degree in an allied field may be eligible for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies or Public History.

Admission Requirements

If applicants are not simultaneously seeking to matriculate into the MA or PhD program, they must have a MA in History or a related field and a satisfactory score on the General Test of the GRE. Applications must be approved by the Archival Studies or Public History program officers and by the department’s graduate committee. 

Applicants will submit the following materials for consideration:

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Official scores from the General Test of the GRE sent from ETS
  • A writing sample
  • A statement of purpose
  • An application for an assistantship (for those who wish to be considered for funding--note earlier application deadline for assistantships)
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation

If applicants are not also seeking admission into the MA or PhD program, materials for admission to the Archival Studies or Public History Graduate Certificate programs may be submitted at any point during the academic year. The program officers and the department's graduate committee will determine the academic term of admission. 

If applicants are also seeking admission to the MA or PhD program, applications for the graduate certificates should be received by March 15.

Graduate Certificate in Public History

Students who complete 12 required hours of public history course work, 3 hours of public history internship (HIST 7910 Public History Internship), and a course in historical methods (HIST 7700 Seminar in Historical Methods) or equivalent are eligible to receive the Graduate Certificate in Public History.

Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies

Students completing 12 required hours of archival studies coursework, 3 hours of archival internship (HIST 7920 Archival Internship), and a course in historical methods (HIST 7700 Seminar in Historical Methods) or equivalent are eligible to receive the Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies.