Master of Arts in History
Designed to meet the varied academic and professional needs of graduate students, the MA program is especially well suited to those individuals interested in comparative and transnational history.
Ours is a flexible MA program. In close consultation with their advisors, students will choose from a wide array of courses. Each will complete an individualized capstone project, with options for intensive research, experiential learning and integrated study.
All applicants are eligible for need-based aid; merit scholarships are available for those with exceptional promise.
Why Earn an MA in History?
Apart from intellectual curiosity and gratification, there are some practical reasons to seek the MA degree:
- Enhanced credentials for doctoral program: The MA will significantly enhance your qualifications if you plan to pursue a full-time doctoral program; this can be especially useful if you seek to enter graduate school in a field outside your undergraduate major.
- Material benefits: Having the MA significantly enhances your qualifications and pay in most public and private organizations.
- Test the water: The one-year MA can help you decide whether the academic path is right for you — before you invest a great deal of time and resources in a multiyear doctoral program.
- Transferable skills: The emphasis on research and writing will give you skills that are critical for every career path.
It is certainly possible to earn an MA at many fine institutions, but there are compelling reasons why you should consider studying at Brandeis:
- First-class training: The History program is a highly selective program that trains students in the broad field of history, problems in historiography and critical thinking, research and writing skills.
- Dedicated mentoring: Brandeis is a small research university with an emphasis on small classes and genuine mentorship; each student has the opportunity to work closely with a distinguished scholar.
- Scholarships: To enable qualified students to attend Brandeis, the graduate school has a need-based scholarship fund that allows a partial reduction in the cost of tuition and fees.
- Intellectual diversity: Brandeis has an array of graduate programs that complement and overlap with the graduate program in American history, including politics, Near Eastern and Judaic studies, sociology, and English and American literature. Faculty in the African and Afro-American studies and American studies departments play key roles in the program. The program also complements the comparative history program in the Brandeis history department; this graduate program provides traditional disciplinary training with a comparative perspective that is fundamental to a broader understanding of the issues, patterns and dynamics of change.
- Career support: The Office of Career Services helps to identify opportunities, design an effective resume and prepare for interviews.
- Library resources: Library resources include our own Goldfarb Library, a collection of exceptional strength in American history. In addition, the Boston Library Consortium allows graduate students to use books in major libraries throughout the area. Graduate students have full access to many nearby manuscript repositories. Brandeis is within easy commuting distance of some of the very best public and private libraries in the United States, including the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Boston Public Library and the American Antiquarian Society.
- Boston: Brandeis students partake of the rich intellectual and cultural environment of the Boston area — from a plethora of events at area universities to the array of museums and other institutions in metropolitan Boston. The Boston Area Graduate History Network is a recently formed consortium of graduate history programs. It facilitates cross-registration in courses offered by different institutions, and publicizes seminars, talks and other events of interest to students of history.
- Matriculation in a doctoral program
- Education (secondary-school teaching, with higher rank and salary)
- Government research and policy-making
Admission is by vote of the Executive Committee. The deadline for MA candidates is May 1, and review of applications is on a rolling basis.
To apply, visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website and complete an electronic application. The application requires a writing sample, transcripts, letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination scores and a personal statement.