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Salisbury University BW
A Maryland University of National Distinction
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History Department
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Graduate Program FAQs

Salisbury University offers a Master of Arts Degree in History with concentrations in the following areas  Chesapeake Studies; Colonial and Revolutionary America; Modern (19th-20th century) United States; and European/World.

The M.A. in History provides students with a solid background in research, interpretation, analytical skills, and logical and incisive writing.  As a result students who have finished the program are well suited to many occupations.  Many, of course, will go into education, either at the secondary or post-secondary level.  Others have found satisfying work in such areas as museum studies (curators, researchers, etc.), the law profession, many different positions in local, state and federal government which place a premium on the skills acquired in the master’s program, as well as in the business world.

Several of our past graduates have gone on for further work at the doctoral level and have successfully completed their work at other institutions.  Some have gone on to work in collateral fields such as anthropology or archaeology, while others have opted to acquire a second Master’s degree, often in education.  We believe that all of our   degree candidates are as fully prepared for further post-graduate work as possible, but the competitiveness depends to a great extent on such factors as GRE scores, the over-all GPA, faculty recommendations and the personal commitment to the pursuit of a doctoral degree.

With a requirement of 30 hours to complete the program, it is possible to complete the program in a calendar year.  However, most graduate students limit themselves to 9-12 hours per semester, which is considered to be a full-time student.  A more reasonable expectation is completion within 2 years from the time of initial enrollment.  University regulations set a limit of 7 years to complete all requirements for the degree from the semester in which the first graduate class is taken.

In general, acceptance into the program presupposes a solid background in history at the undergraduate level.  The department expects students to have had at least 30 hours of undergraduate work, including a course in research and writing.  Students who lack this preparation may be admitted provisionally and are expected to make up any such deficiencies prior to or concurrent with registration for graduate courses.  Specific requirements will be determined by the Graduate Director and the Chair of the department.  All deficiencies are in addition to the 30 hours required for the M.A. degree.

The department offers two options for completion of the degree, one with a thesis and one without.  Students may decide, in consultation with the Graduate Advisor, which option is most advantageous.  Most often, students who plan on pursuing a doctoral degree are better advised to choose the thesis option which will provide them with a stronger foundation for doctoral studies.

Yes.  The department does require a comprehensive examination based on the student’s work at the graduate level. At the time of admittance into the program, each student will select one of the four areas of concentration as a major area and at least one other as a minor area.

The examinations are in two parts:  a written exam and an oral exam.  The written portion will consist of a 4-hour comprehensive examination in the major area focusing on demonstrated competency in research and writing, as well as understanding major topics, themes and events; and a 1-to2-hour examination for each minor area to show the understanding of topics, themes and events as well as a basic knowledge of the research and writing of the area.  For purposes of definition a major area is considered to be a minimum of 12 graduate hours and a minor area to be a minimum of 9 graduate hours.  The oral examination is given following successful completion of the written examination and will entail a 1-2-hour period involving the student’s committee and focusing primarily upon the major area of study (including the thesis, if that option is selected).  Students who fail either the written or oral examinations will be allowed a second attempt, but must do so within one calendar year. 

Yes.  Since many of our courses at the graduate level are seminar courses, which meet for a 3-hour period once a week, and because many of the students in the program hold day-time jobs, the majority of 600-level courses are offered in the evening as are many of the 500-level courses which may be taken for graduate credit.

At present the department has limited funds available for graduate assistantships on a highly competitive basis.  Students are invited to inquire about the availability, but should also contact the financial aid office for further information concerning loans and other sources of aid.

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Salisbury University 1101 Camden Avenue Salisbury, MD 21801 410-543-6000