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Master of Arts in History

SIU History Classroom

The Master of Arts in History is a two-year program that prepares students to enter the workforce with a higher earning potential and enhanced opportunities for more prestigious positions. Exciting careers for graduates of this program include working in foreign service, as museum curators, archaeologists, political scientists, and business consultants.

Within the first year of study, students choose whether to write two research papers or a thesis. Students who wish to go on to earn their Ph.D. follow the thesis track. Those selecting the research papers are required to prepare two significant research papers, usually in conjunction with history seminar courses.

Each M.A. student is assigned an advisor to assist them in reaching their academic goals. In our master’s program, students enjoy hands-on learning, small classes, and discussions, with an overall emphasis on diversity and teacher training. Our professors are active scholars and work to support and aid students with their chosen paths.

Accelerated Program

This remarkable option allows exceptional students enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program planning to earn a master’s in history to begin their master’s studies early. Eligibility requirements include a cumulative 3.20 GPA by the end of the spring semester of the junior year and approval to take HIST 500 and HIST 501 during the senior year. Qualified students can initiate the approval process by submitting a written request to the Director of the School of History and Philosophy, and Director of Graduate Studies in History.

Dual Credit Teaching Endorsement

Our history program offers a History Teaching Endorsement for high school teachers seeking this credential as a dual credit instructor of history.

The Higher Learning Commission and the State of Illinois require teachers to complete 18 credit hours in graduate coursework for any subject they teach as a dual credit. They must also hold a qualified master’s degree or any master’s degree with 18 graduate credit hours of coursework in the desired discipline.

Vist the Illinois State Board of Education website for a full list of Dual Credit requirements.

SIU Pulliam with a Full moon

Admission Requirements

Applications for the M.A. program are assessed on a rolling basis, as students apply. Applications submitted in January will receive the highest consideration for assistantships, fellowships, and other awards.

Applicants do not have to hold a history major; however, they must demonstrate an academic record of a 3.0 GPA or higher in history coursework. To apply for the M.A. in history, applications are to be submitted to the Graduate School.

Assistantships, Awards, and Financial Aid

For many, advanced degrees are made possible through tuition assistance. Funding via fellowships, assistantships, awards, and financial aid is based on merit as well as social, cultural, and economic factors.

Yearly teaching assistantship applications are available upon request. Assistantships carry a full tuition waiver and are awarded in the spring for the coming academic year. Acceptable progress toward a degree and satisfactory performance as a TA/GA are requirements for annual renewal of funding.

Student Organizations

All SIU Carbondale History Graduate students are automatically included in the History Graduate Student Association (HGSA). The objective of the HGSA is to promote, support, and represent history students. A yearly-elected body of the HGSA, known as the Steering Committee, represents History graduate students throughout the SIU Carbondale campus.

To advocate the objective of community and professionalism on the SIU campus, both the HGSA and the Steering Committee encourage and engage with the following groups: Graduate Assistant Union, the Graduate and Professional Student Council, the SIU Carbondale chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta (undergraduate History Honor Society), and other professional organizations.

Group of Students with Saluki

Contact Information

Getahun Benti,
Graduate Coordinator
Faner Hall 3329
1000 Faner Dr
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-6847


A graduate degree in history provides a solid foundation with highly applicable skills, including analytical skills, writing, problem-solving, critical thinking, strong communication skills, and respect for and interpretation of documents, artifacts, and the preservation process. These skills traverse a wide variety of career paths, including:

  • Archivist
  • Lawyer
  • Journalist
  • Dean
  • Historian
  • Foreign advisor
  • Non-profit
  • Consultant
  • College Educator
  • Historian