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Graduate Program


Graduate Director:
Dr. Evelyn Sterne
Email: sterne@mail.uri.edu
Phone: 401-874-4074
Fax: 401-874-2595

Program Overview
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?
Financial Aid
Application Requirements


Program Overview

We provide a flexible 30-credit (10 course) program at the historic New England land-grant campus of the University of Rhode Island, close to the cities of Newport and Providence and to Amtrak train lines on the northeastern corridor. We offer three programs:

  • M.A. in History
  • Joint Program in History/Library and Information Studies (MA/MLIS). The joint program requires 60 credits, whereas the two degrees if earned separately would require 72 credits.) Students in the joint degree program need 24 rather than 30 credits of History; they can count six credits of Library coursework toward the History degree.
  • Joint Program in History/Archaeological Oceanography (MA/Ph.D.) - For more information about this program, please contact Dr. Roderick Mather.

 

Thesis & Non-Thesis Options

There are thesis and non-thesis options within the History graduate program, each requiring 30 credits. Most students choose not to write a thesis as doing so usually slows their progress toward the degree. Students who wish to write a thesis may apply to do so after completing one semester of graduate work. Students writing a thesis earn 6 to 9 of their credits in the form of thesis research and must take an oral defense examination covering their course work and thesis. Guide to Thesis Option

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

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Program Requirements and Course Descriptions

We offer three major areas of study: U.S. history; European history; and anthropology and archaeology. Students declare a primary concentration in one of these fields and a minor concentration in another (except that they cannot minor in the anthropology and archaeology option; this works only as a major field of study). Students also can minor in another department such as English, Labor and Industrial Relations, Spanish, Marine Affairs, Political Science, Psychology or Women's Studies.

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.

Guide to 400/500 Level Courses

Upcoming 400/500 Level Seminar Topics

Online schedule of courses from e-Campus

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Full Time or Part Time

Advanced Topics courses and Graduate Seminars are held once a week, almost always in the late afternoon, so that students who are working or teaching in area schools will find it easier to attend. About half of our students attend full-time, and the other half take a class or two per semester. We welcome students from other graduate programs such as Education, English and Political Science. We also welcome non-degree students who need graduate work for professional development or wish to take courses for personal enrichment. Students attending school full-time generally take two years to complete the M.A. in History and three years to complete the joint History/Library program.

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Opportunities for Research

Graduate students at the University of Rhode Island have access to a good state university library with its own special collections unit on campus. Our main campus at Kingston is twenty-five minutes from the Newport Historical Society, and forty minutes from the John Hay Library at Brown University, the Rhode Island Historical Society, and a variety of smaller archives and libraries in Providence. Travel by train or car will take students to major research libraries in Cambridge, New Haven and New York.

The URI Center for the Humanities has a limited amount of funding available to support graduate student research.

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What Can Students Do With a Master's Degree in History?

Many students who have completed graduate work in history at the University of Rhode Island are teaching in public schools, private schools or community colleges, or pursuing further graduate study in history Ph.D. programs. Others are working in museums or historical societies or as librarians, archivists and writers. The research and writing skills that history graduate students develop also are valuable in fields such as journalism and consulting.

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Financial Aid

A limited amount of financial aid is available to graduate students and is awarded on the basis of both need and merit. Teaching assistantships provide tuition reimbursement and a nine-month stipend; the salary for 2009-2010 academic year is $13,894. University tuition scholarships provide one year of tuition and are not renewable. All applications submitted by the Feb. 1st deadline are considered for financial aid, and awards will be announced in April. Because only a small number of these large grants are available, students also should apply to the Student Financial Aid Office for student loans if they are in need of aid.

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Application Requirements

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.

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Graduate Student Resources

Contact Info

For general inquiries, contact Dr. Evelyn Sterne, Director of Graduate Studies. sterne@mail.uri.edu; 401-874-4074 (ph), 401-874-2595 (fax)

For inquiries about the Archaeology and Anthropology option, contact Dr. Roderick Mather. roderick@uri.edu