Thesis & Non-Thesis Options
Program Requirements & Course Descriptions
Full Time or Part Time
Opportunities for Research
What Can Students Do With a Master's Degree in History?
Students who choose the non-thesis option must complete a major research paper (of at least 30-35 pages) by taking either HIS 495 or HIS 591. They also must take a comprehensive written and oral examination covering their primary and minor fields of concentration after finishing their coursework. Guide to Non-Thesis (Comprehensive Examination) Option
Students must complete 30 credits, or 10 courses of 3 credits each. Classes are to be distributed as follows (and with the stipulation that at least half the classes must be at the 500 level or above):
All students must take at least one Advanced Topics class (HIS 401, 441, or 481). These seminars comprise the first half of the capstone course for undergraduate history majors but also are popular with graduate students. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to take the second half of the capstone (HIS 495) and use it to write the major research paper required of students not writing a thesis. The other option for completing this paper is to register for HIS 591 (Directed Studies). To register for HIS 591, first consult with the professor you wish to work with and then contact the graduate director for a permission number.
All students must take at least three Graduate Seminars (HIS 506, 507, 508, or 544). Students also may take an approved graduate seminar in another discipline, provided at least two of their graduate seminars are in History. URI graduates who already have taken an Advanced Topics class as undergraduate history majors and received a grade of B or higher may substitute a fourth Graduate Seminar for an Advanced Topics class if they like.
Incoming students should plan to take one Advanced Topics class and at least two Graduate Seminars in their first year (or one Advanced Topics class and one Graduate Seminar if they are part-time students taking only one course per semester).
Students completing thesis research take 6-9 credits of HIS 599 (Master's Thesis Research) with the professor directing their thesis. To register for HIS 599, please contact the graduate director for a permission number.
Some students take HIS 502 (Special Readings in European History), HIS 536 (Special Readings in American History), or HIS 588 (Special Readings in Asian or Latin American History). These courses are taken in conjunction with a 300-level undergraduate course, with extra readings and assignments to make the class more challenging. Students interested in taking HIS 502, 536, or 588 must first seek permission from the professor teaching the course and then secure a permission number from the graduate director. These classes can be taken only with members of the graduate faculty, which generally means full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Students may take up to six credits of graduate work in History at Rhode Island College, and graduate students at Rhode Island College may take up to six credits of graduate work at the University of Rhode Island. Students also may request permission from the Graduate School to transfer up to six credits of graduate work from another university.
The URI Center for the Humanities has a limited amount of funding available to support graduate student research.
Prospective students must fill out applications online at Graduate Admissions. Please submit the following materials online: application form; personal statement; recent GRE scores for verbal, quantitative and analytical writing tests; at least two letters of recommendation from former teachers; and a non-refundable application fee submitted as a credit card payment or an electronic check.
Please send transcripts of previous college or university work (required) and any other materials directly to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, 113 Washburn Hall, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881. We do not require a writing sample, although you may send one if you wish.
The deadline for spring admission is November 15; for fall admission with consideration of financial aid, February 1; for fall admission without financial aid, July 15.
Students who wish to apply to the joint program in History/Library and Information Studies or History/Archaeological Oceanography must declare their intention to do so in the initial application process and duplicate all materials for both applications.
Although prospective students ordinarily should have completed 24 undergraduate credits of history, we do consider applicants with degrees in other relevant fields; those without adequate background in history-related courses may be asked to take additional credits or to audit courses.
For general inquiries, contact Dr. Evelyn Sterne, Director of Graduate Studies. firstname.lastname@example.org; 401-874-4074 (ph), 401-874-2595 (fax)
For inquiries about the Archaeology and Anthropology option, contact Dr. Roderick Mather. email@example.com