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The Master's in History

UNM Department of History Master's degree is designed to meet the needs of a diverse student population. Students learn methods of historical analysis, a variety of historical interpretations, and practical applications of the field.  The Master's program currently enrolls about 50 Master's students, who in pursuit of their degrees complete course work, conduct historical research, engage in public history, teach in secondary and university education, and produce historical content for scholarly and popular venues.  For some graduate students, the History MA is one step in their path to the PhD in History (at UNM or elsewhere), while many others go on to work in museum curating, academic publishing, public history, and the public and private sectors.

Students in the Master's program may focus their work in one area and complete a comprehensive exam and thesis in that concentration (Plan I), or select one regional concentrations and complete a comprehensive exam in that concentration and select another, second field of concentration in history or from other UNM graduate programs and complete at least 12 hours of graduate course work as described in sections A or B or C of (Plan II).

Master's students make regional concentration selections from the following regional concentrations offered in the department:

  • The Western World to 1500
  • Europe 1500-1815
  • Europe 1815-present
  • United States
  • American West
  • Latin America
  • Asia (suspended)

The Graduate Director advises Master's students about program requirements and helps each student to form a Committee on Studies, a group of faculty who provide the student with intellectual and professional guidance.  All Master's students must take History 664: Advanced Historiography and fulfill the department’s foreign language requirement prior to taking their written comprehensive exam(s), which are usually administered in the fourth semester of full-time graduate study. 

For more detailed information on the History Master's program, please consult the department’s MA Program Requirements, as well as Master's Degrees Roadmap & Guidelines, a guide to MA requirements and procedures available on the Office of Graduate Studies web page.  

MA Program Admissions

An undergraduate major in history provides a desirable background for more advanced work, majors in other fields will be given consideration. The Department recognizes that almost any major may provide an adept student with knowledge or methodologies useful in the field of history.  We look for a student’s knowledge of historical context, historiography, and basic research methodology as demonstrated by a course in historiography, a capstone project, and/or a senior thesis. In evaluating grades, recommendations, and other supporting documents, the Department's Graduate Entrance Committee primarily seeks evidence of promise in the field of history. Candidates for the master's degree are expected to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language approved by the department by the end of the first year of graduate work. Language credit by transfer is not acceptable.

For information on admission to the History Masters Program, click here. Prospective applicants may also contact the Graduate Director, Dr. Jason Smith, or department staff for further information. Students wishing to enroll for non-degree graduate coursework prior to admission for graduate study in History should consult the department's policy on Graduate Non-Degree Coursework and contact UNM's Non-Degree Student Services.