General Requirements for the Masters Degree in History
Students who enter the degree program in history must complete 30 hours of graduate study, at least 20 of which must be in history. Graduate students select a primary and a secondary field. The secondary field shall consist of not less than six hours and shall include at least one seminar in that field.
The graduate program requires that all students take two classes: HIST 5950: Introduction to Historical Research and HIST 5940: Studies in Historiography . The Historical Research class is offered in the Fall, and is taken by most students in their first semester of graduate work. Historiography is offered in the Spring, and is generally taken in the second semester of work.
Students enrolled in the master's degree program in history may register for courses which carry either the 5xx7 or the 5000-level designation. However, 5xx7-level courses that are taken by the student for undergraduate credit cannot be repeated for graduate credit. Moreover, graduate students in the history department shall be required to do additional work beyond that which is normally required of undergraduate students in 5xx7-level courses. A minimum of 70 percent of all courses taken by the students participating in the master's degree program must be from the "Graduate Only" listing.
Academic Status Committee
A departmental committee will review the work of all graduate students at the end of each semester. Students whose work is judged conditional or unsatisfactory will be informed of their status, with written reports and recommendations being sent to members of the department and to the graduate dean.
Admission to Candidacy
After satisfactorily completing 12 hours of approved course work, the student shall apply to the Graduate School for admission to candidacy for the master's degree. Students who fail to apply for admission to candidacy after earning 12 hours of approved graduate credit in the department shall be summoned before the academic consultation committee for special consultation.
Comprehensive, Written, and Oral Examinations
The program offers students the choice of pursuing either a thesis or a non-thesis option, though the Department strongly suggests that students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree after graduation choose to write a thesis. Those students choosing the non-thesis option take more elective classes than those choosing to write a thesis. Non-thesis students are also required to take, and pass, a comprehensive written and oral examination before being allowed to graduate.
The masters level thesis at ETSU is a year-long project that culminates with the creation of a substantial piece of original scholarship. Students who plan to continue graduate study at the doctoral level should write theses; in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator other students are also encouraged to select this option.
In addition to the six (6) credits of required courses, the student must complete HIST 5960: Thesis , and an additional 21 credits of electives, for a minimum total of 30 credits
Students must designate a primary and secondary area of study. The secondary field shall consist of not less than six (6) credits and shall include a seminar in the field. The student taking the thesis option must also pass a final examination.
Students will assemble, in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and their advisor, a thesis committee. The committee must include at least three faculty members -- ideally faculty whose academic strengths and interests will support and challenge the student throughout the course of the thesis project. Students may include faculty members from other departments whose work is pertinent to the student's scholarship..
At the discretion of the candidate's committee, the final examination may be written, oral, or a combination of the two. It may be comprehensive and cover the thesis and coursework. The student may pass the examination; fail with no opportunity for re-examination; or fail with an opportunity for further study and re-examination by the committee on a specified date.
The following links demonstrate the wide scope of thesis projects that ETSU masters students have undertaken:
- Projects being pursued by current students may be found here.
- Thesis topics of recent graduates may be found here.
- The theses of many past students may be read at the Sherrod Library website.
Non-Thesis Option [Course Work Option]
All students selecting the course work option will be required to complete an additional 33 hours of electives in addition to the six credits of required courses, for a minimum total of 39 credits.
A minimum of 30 credits must be in History, and no more than nine credits may be in courses in collateral fields approved by the graduate coordinator.
Students must declare a primary and secondary field of study. The primary area must include a seminar in that field which will include the completion of a major research paper; the secondary field shall include a minimum of nine credits of study.
The department chair and graduate coordinator will nominate an advisory committee for each student which will include two professors in the primary area and one in the secondary area. During the student's final semester of course work, each student will take a comprehensive written examination set by the committee over the primary and secondary fields of study which will be followed by a comprehensive oral examination. The student may pass the examination; fail with an opportunity for further study and review with reexamination by the committee; or fail with no opportunity for reexamination.