History MA Accelerated Master's Degree

The Department of History offers an Accelerated MA degree program that allows students to finish their BA and earn their MA in History in as few as 10 semesters. Students in the Accelerated MA program will complete the MA with their choice of completing either research papers or a thesis.

The combined program requires a minimum of 146 credit hours. Students accepted to the Accelerated MA degree program will be permitted to count up to 6 credit hours at the 4000-level or higher toward both the BA and MA degrees; these courses will require additional work by the instructor. The remaining credit hours must be at the 5000/6000 level. 

Any 4000-level courses taken before admission to the Accelerated MA program will only apply to the undergraduate requirements. Students are encouraged to work closely with the Undergraduate and MA Program Directors to ensure that required courses are timed appropriately. Students meet with the MA Director as soon as they consider participating in the program.  


To be eligible for the Accelerated MA program, students must have completed:

Three 1000-level courses9
HIST 3199Introduction to Historical Inquiry4
Two additional 2000-3000 level courses6
Total Hours19

Students with more than 105 credit hours cannot be considered for the Accelerated MA. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Accelerated MA comes in two steps: provisional admission and graduate admission.

Provisional Admission

Applicants are considered for provisional admission if they meet the following four criteria.

  • Earned 60 hours as an undergraduate.
  • Completed the core curriculum requirements for History BA.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.2 with a B or better in HIST 3199.
  • Have discussed applying with both the Undergraduate and Graduate Directors.
  • OPTIONAL: those undergraduates interested in being considered for BA/Latin Honors/Degree with Distinction must complete HIST 4999 Senior Seminar with a B+ or above.

The MA Program Director, in consultation with the Undergraduate Director, will determine whether the student can apply for provisional status. Graduate courses completed by undergraduate students who have been provisionally admitted to Accelerated Master’s program will be charged at the undergraduate tuition rate; these courses will still offer the student “graduate status” and will later count toward the MA degree. These courses must be approved before the semester starts. Therefore, it is recommended to apply for provisional status as a junior.

Graduate Admission

Applicants are considered for admission to the Graduate School in their final undergraduate semester.  They must

  • Be in their final semester in undergraduate status
  • Have earned a minimum GPA of 3.2 since being granted provisional status
  • Submitted at least one letter of recommendation from an UMSL History professor
  • Submitted to the MA Director a 1–2 page statement of purpose briefly explaining why an advanced degree in History is of interest and why the applicant merits serious consideration
  • Have met with the MA Program Director in History

The MA Program Director, in consultation with the Undergraduate Director, will determine whether the student can apply for graduate admission. Final decisions concerning formal admission are made by the Graduate School in consultation with the Program Director. Students admitted to the graduate program will have graduate status and must continue taking graduate courses until the completion of the MA degree. 

Graduate Program Requirements

  • Up to two courses at the 5000-level for 6 credit hours.
  • Five courses at the 6000-level for 17 credits beginning with HIST 6000 (students must take at least two 5000-level courses prior to enrolling in HIST 6000), including one 5-credit course.

In addition to this core, each candidate must select one of the two following degree options.

Thesis Option –32 hours total

In addition to fulfilling the requirements listed above, the candidate choosing this option must enroll for 6 hours of thesis credit and submit an acceptable thesis. The thesis is based on original research in primary sources. Thesis candidates whose completion of the thesis requires reading ability in a specific language must demonstrate the capacity to do so prior to beginning research.

Research Paper Option

To complete this option, the candidate must complete two additional 5-credit hour seminars (each consisting of a 6000-level reading seminar plus 2 credit hours of supplementary work on a substantial research paper.)

Awarding of Degrees

The student may apply for and receive the bachelor’s degree in the semester when all the undergraduate requirements are completed. In their final semester in undergraduate status, the student must apply and be admitted to the graduate program, to begin the following semester. The student will apply to receive the master’s degree in the semester that the requirements for the graduate degree will be completed.

If the student fails to enroll for more than one year after receiving the bachelor's degree, the student can still earn the master’s degree, but the graduate-level credits earned as an undergraduate cannot be used for the graduate degree.