University of Mississippi

M.A. in History


Overview


The Department of History at the University of Mississippi offers programs of graduate study leading to the masters and doctoral degrees. The core of the program is, of course, the faculty; current members are listed in this brochure. The faculty offers a wide variety of graduate courses in United States, European, and Latin American history, with additional work available in African and Asian history. The department includes faculty members from all over the United States and from Europe, and their interests span the full chronological sweep of American and European history, as well as much of the histories of Africa, Latin America, and East Asia. 

The Department of History maintains close relationships with several interdisciplinary programs at the University, including the Afro-American Studies Program, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sarah Isom Center for Gender Studies.. It also engages in many activities to enhance its regular research and teaching programs and to enrich the intellectual lives of its students and faculty. Each year the Department co-sponsors the Porter L. Fortune, Jr., History Symposium. Held every fall since 1975, this three-day conference brings well-known scholars to campus to discuss their research and interpretations on various issues relating to Southern History. Recent symposium topics have included Gender and the Southern Body Politic, the Civil Rights Movement, Religion in Southern History, and Britain and the South.

Within the University, the history department also has close ties with the John Davis Williams Library, which contains more than 800,000 volumes. Of particular importance to history graduate students are the Mississippi Collection of books and manuscripts pertaining to the state, the Blues Archive, and the depository of federal government documents.


Graduate Programs


In its masters and doctoral programs, the department emphasizes both rigor and flexibility in designing a course of study to fit the individual interests of each graduate student. The Graduate Advisory Committee administers the program. Each graduate student designs a program of study in consultation with the Graduate Advisory Committee and other faculty members of the department. Approximately sixty students from a wide variety of backgrounds are currently pursuing graduate degrees in the department.

Master of Arts
To gain admission to the graduate program, an applicant should have at least a B average as an undergraduate, should have majored in history (or have taken a significant number of history courses), and should have achieved an acceptable score on the Graduate Record Exam.

All M.A. students must take the following courses: Historical Methods and Philosophy of History, and three of the four courses the department offers in the historiography of United State history and the historiography of European history, and a research seminar. Students specializing in Latin American, Asian, or African history may take a historiography course in one of these areas to fulfill one of the three required historiography courses. Moreover, an M.A. student may with prior approval from the Graduate Advisory Committee take for credit up to two graduate-level courses outside the department.

Students pursuing the Master of Arts must choose between two different programs of study. The thesis option requires 24 hours of courses and at least 6 hours of thesis credit. The student will write the thesis under the direction of a faculty adviser and evaluated by a committee consisting of the adviser and two other faculty members. A thesis director may require a student to have a facility in a foreign language or in quantitative skills relevant to the thesis. To complete the thesis, the student must pass an oral defense before the thesis committee. The non-thesis option consists of 36 hours of course work. To complete the non-thesis M.A., a student must pass an oral exam in the candidate’s field of study that a three-member faculty committee will administer. The student will choose which option to pursue in consultation with faculty members familiar with his or her research interests and career goals.

Course Work


Students should pursue a rationally structured course program to be designed on an individual basis in close consultation with the Graduate Advisory Committee. As part of this program, MA students must take a course on historical methods, three of the four 500-level historiography courses that cover various periods of the histories of the United States and European, and at least one 700-level research seminar. All graduate students may, with the approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee, include as part of their program a limited number of graduate courses in other departments. More information about specific graduate course offerings may be found on the History Department’s website.


Financial Aid


The department offers several graduate assistantships every year; each pays as much as $11,000 per year and automatically includes a tuition scholarship. The assistantships are competitive and based on merit, and all applicants to our program are automatically considered for these assistantships. The Graduate School has Underrepresented Minority Graduate Scholarships that pay $2,500 each year and include a tuition scholarship. Also from the Graduate School, Honors Fellowships for students of exceptional ability provide $2,000 per year. A graduate student may combine any of the above awards. The Graduate School also provides, on a competitive basis, Dissertation Fellowships to a limited number of students nearing the completion of their doctoral studies. More information on graduate fellowships and aid may be found at the Graduate School website listed above.


Admissions


Applications for admission to the graduate program can be downloaded or completed at the Graduate School’s website  http://www.olemiss.edu/gradschool/applynow.htmlApplicants must complete the application form and submit Graduate Record Exam scores, as well as official transcripts of post-secondary study to the Graduate School. In addition, applicants should have three letters of recommendation sent by people who can speak with authority about their potential as a graduate student in History.  The recommendation letters should be submitted via the secure internet portal set up by the Graduate School.  Applicants must also provide a statement of purpose that describes their intellectual background and future goals, and a sample of their written work. The Statement of  Purpose can be uploaded at the Graduate School’s online application site; the writing sample can be submitted as an e-mail attachment to the Chair of the Graduate Advisory Committee, esposito@olemiss.edu. The department’s Graduate Advisory Committee makes its decision regarding each application after assessing all of the application materials together, and not by applying any rigid standard or mathematical formula.

Prospective applicants may learn more about the History Department by visiting its website at www.olemiss.edu/depts/history/ and by contacting the department at the address below. Both as a department and individually, the faculty welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students, and encourages them to visit the campus.

Mail inquiries to:

Dr. Chiarella Esposito
Chair, Graduate Advisory Committee
The University of Mississippi
Department of History
Bishop 310
University, MS 38677-1848
telephone: (662) 915-7568
email: esposito@olemiss.edu