DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY
Youngstown State University
All applicants for admission should consult the Graduate School handbook.
Regular admission will be granted to those students who:
a. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
b. Earned an undergraduate grade-point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
c. Have a minimum of 16 semester hours of study in the field of history
d. Submit graded piece of written work
e. Submit GRE scores
Provisional admission may be granted by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the Department, provided the applicant has demonstrated ability to do graduate work.
Special admission may be granted applicants whose GPA’s are so deficient that additional undergraduate work in history (normally 9 hours of B or better) is required.
International Students must supply:
a. Official transcripts of undergraduate work.
b. Proof of ability to master English (either the Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the Michigan Test of English.
Initial interviews should be conducted with all applicants prior to admission. Subsequently, an advisor will be appointed in the student’s field. The Department requires that students consult frequently with the advisor during the student’s years in the program. Students may request a change of advisors. Should a faculty advisor become incapacitated while a student is enrolled in the program, the Department will appoint a replacement to guarantee the continuity of studies.
The Department attempts to offer as many as seven graduate courses each semester. Efforts are made to balance these among concentrations in American, European and Non Western History. No one is permitted to enroll in History 6953 (thesis) or 6952 (Independent Study) without consent of the Department Chairperson or Graduate Director.
The Department accepts applications from interested students throughout the year. A file is maintained in the History Office. Normally, the Department is granted 5-7 assistants each year. The entire Graduate Committee normally makes selection in April. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.75, strong credentials in History, and three signed recommendations on file. Candidates will be notified in writing. Assistants are expected to commence their duties during the first week of the fall semester. A general meeting with the Graduate Director will take place during the first week of that term. Assistants are to work no more than 20 hours per week, normally divided between two members of the faculty. Outside employment is discouraged. Assistantship salaries are divided into nine payments, the first being September 15.
The Department of History believes that a yearly review of graduate students is beneficial both to the program and its participants.
- The Graduate Committee conducts a review of each Assistant at the beginning of the Spring semester. This review examines the quality of course work and duties performed by each assistant. Review findings will be used to make renewal decisions for the following year.
- The Graduate Committee also undertakes a periodic review of the progress of all students in the program.
- The Department welcomes written or verbal comments from graduate students.
These observations should be directed to the Director of the Graduate Program.
The Department of History offers three options to the candidates for a Master of Arts in History. Option I is designed primarily for those students who wish to continue their studies toward a doctorate. Option II is primarily designed to meet the needs and improve the effectiveness of secondary teachers as well as others who expect the M.A. to be a terminal degree. Option III, which leads to a Certificate in Applied History, is designed to prepare students for career opportunities in that field.
1. Students must complete a total of 30 semester hours of graduate credit including thesis (6 s.h.).
2. Students must take History 6900, Introduction to Historical Research and a course in Historiography (6902 American or 6904 European) the first time they are offered
3. Students must complete 12 semester hours of course work in a field of concentration, exclusive of thesis credit.
4. Students must complete an acceptable thesis.
5. Students must submit an analytical book review for their portfolio.
6. Students must pass written and oral examinations. These may not be taken until the thesis has been accepted by the readers.
7. Students working in American or British history will not be required, in most instances, to pass a foreign language examination. Students pursuing research in other fields may be required to demonstrate foreign language facility.
1. Students must complete a total of 33 semester hours of graduate course work.
2. Students must take History 6900, Introduction to Historical Research and a course in Historiography (6902 American or 6904 European) the first time they are offered after the student’s initial enrollment.
3. Students must complete twelve semester hours of course work in a field of concentration.
4. Students must submit two satisfactory (B or better) graduate seminar papers from two different Instructors. To satisfy Departmental standards these papers must be at least 18 pages of text, engage in proper usage of footnote and bibliographic forms. And make substantial use of primary sources. Shorter papers or reviews from readings courses do not satisfy these requirements. Neither does work attempted in History 6952 (Independent Study) or History 6900 (Introduction to Historical Research). The two research papers are to be deposited permanently in the student’s file and include a form signed by the instructor, advisor, and graduate director that the requirements have been met (sample form attached).
5. Students must submit an analytical book review for their portfolio.
6. Students must pass general written and oral examinations.
7. Students are not required to demonstrate a knowledge of or competence in a foreign language.
Option III: Certificate in Applied History
The MA in History with Certificate in Applied History is designed both to give students a grounding in American history and historical research at the graduate level, and to introduce them to ideas and techniques useful in applied history of the built environment. Students earning the Certificate may find work with state or local preservation groups, museums or government agencies course work has two components:
1. The History sequence begins with the study of historiography and strategies for historical research, and continues with three 6900 level history courses, at least two of which shall be in the American field, (for example: Colonial America, 19thcentury US, urban history, oral history, material culture).
2. The Historical Preservation sequence begins with American Architectural History and Introduction to Preservation and continues with specialized courses in research techniques and materials conservation, and concludes with a practicum class and an internship for “hands on” experience.
History 6902 (American)
Intro to History 6900
Three 6900-level courses
5 courses total = 15 semester hours
Historic Preservation sequence:
|American Architechtural History
|Introduction to Preservation
|Documentation and Interpretation of Historic Sites
|Conservation of Historic Built Environment
|Practicum in Historic Preservation
|Historic Preservation Internship
6 courses = 18 semester hours
TOTAL 11 courses = 33 semester hours
- Students must submit two satisfactory (B or better) graduate papers from two different instructors. One shall be from a history seminar, and must be a research paper using primary sources. The other shall be based upon a paper begun in the preservation course, expanded through additional research and reading as directed by the instructor.
- Students must submit an analytical book review for their portfolio.
Up to eight semester hours of graduate work completed at other accredited institutions may be applied, provided the students earned at least a “B” grade in such courses, and provided the courses have been reviewed and approved by the Graduate Director and Dean of the Graduate School.
Students may take a maximum of 6 semester hours of 6900 level course workoutside the History Department upon the written consent of the adviser and Graduate Director.
Graduate students may apply up to six semester hours (including History 6944, Historic Preservation Internship) earned in graduate Study-Abroad programs toward the completion of the MA degree in History.
Students may take up to 6 hours of Independent Study (6952). All such work must be scheduled with prior notification of the Graduate Director. Permits will be issued by the Department Chair upon written notification of the Graduate Director. A student must have completed fifteen hours of graduate-level work in History before enrolling in Independent Study (6952).
A grade point average of 3.0 on the 4.0 scale is required for graduation. No credit is given for a course where the grade is below “C,” but the grade is included when calculating the grade point average. Consistently low grades are a basis for dismissal from the program.
All work (including transfer of credits) offered in fulfillment of the minimum credit hour requirement for the degree must have been taken within the six-year period immediately preceding the date on which the last requirement for the degree was completed. When graduate study is interrupted by military service or in other extraordinary circumstances, the six-year limit may be extended.
Thesis Under Option I
Thesis credit comes under History 6953. Prior to any student commencing research on a thesis, the thesis topic must be approved by the Graduate Committee as a whole. The student and the thesis director must fill out the Masters Thesis Topic Approval form (sample attached), offering a synopsis of the topic, major primary and secondary sources employed, and the names of two second readers. The thesis director must be that faculty member most closely associated in expertise with the topic of the thesis. The readers should be chosen for their compatibility with the thesis topic. The graduate director is responsible to insure that the student consult with all of the readers from the inception of the thesis, through the research and writing of drafts, until the thesis is completed. The student may not register for thesis credit (6953) until the Graduate Committee has approved the thesis topic. The student may not change thesis directors or second readers without the approval of the Graduate Committee.
In preparation of the thesis, the student should refer to Direction for Format and Presentation of a Master’s Thesis, published by the Graduate School of Youngstown State University.
The purpose of the Master’s Thesis is the following:
- To determine whether the student can develop a manageable research topic that makes a contribution to the field of history.
- To determine whether the student is familiar with the secondary literature in the field of thesis concentration.
- To determine whether the student can follow acceptable historical methodology. This includes doing research work, taking notes, utilizing proper footnote techniques, exploiting all of the pertinent available bibliographical materials, and presenting an acceptable bibliography.
- To determine whether the student can present research in an acceptable literary form whose emphasis is on communication.
- To determine whether the student can pass acceptable judgment upon the materials presented.
Students are advised that manuscripts normally go through several drafts, as readers will make comments and corrections. Hand-written drafts or “final” copies which are submitted to readers without prior consultation are unacceptable. The length of a thesis is, in most instances, from 70 to 125 pages, exclusive of bibliography and illustrations. Manuscripts must be in the hands of the reader at least six weeks before the end of the semester in which graduation is expected. The thesis, in its final approved format, and two Xeroxed copies, will then be presented to the Graduate School Office for binding.
Analytical Book Review
Students must submit an analytical book review of 750 – 1250 words written in a graduate course. The book review must include a critical assessment of an historical monograph which places the book in its historiographical context. It must be approved by the course instructor, the advisor, and the program director. It should be placed in the student’s portfolio as soon as he/she has completed 18 s.h. of graduate credit. (Sample Form Attached.)
Research Seminar and Readings Courses
Research seminars are designed to enable students pursuing Option II to complete a research paper. The primary emphasis of such seminars must be an eighteen page (or longer) research paper that makes substantial use of primary sources.
Readings courses must be organized around the reading and review of articles, monographs and other selected sources. Such courses must require analytical book reviews, at least one of which meets the graduate program requirement of a critical assessment of an historical monograph and which places the book in its historiographical context.
Before a student is permitted to appear for examination, he or she shall have:
a. completed the course requirements or will have finished them at the end of thesame semester in which the student takes the examination.
b. satisfied the mentor that the student is ready for the examination. The mentor,ordinarily, is the student’s advisor or thesis director. The mentor is responsible for guiding the student through the examinations.
c. passed the language examinaiton (where applicable).
d. had the thesis accedpted by the readers (where applicable) or the graduate seminar papers approved.
e. had the analytical book review approved.
Examinations will be based on a student’s mastery of three areas of history. For those students writing a thesis, the thesis director will be one of the examiners. To avoid parochialism and better prepare students for further study or teaching, the Department requires that students select no more than two faculty from any one of the three areas of concentration: American, European, or Non-Western fields, for the written and oral examinations. Students concentrating in Historic Preservation must select no more than two faculty from the Preservation area. Students should consult with their own advisor and the Director of the Graduate Program when selecting examiners. The student is advised to consult with examiners well in advance of the examinations. In most instances the student will select faculty with who he/she has had one or more graduate courses and the material examined will be from that covered in those courses and related areas.
If the student has worked extensively with a faculty member in a non-course settings (e.g. thesis director or other closely supervised setting) he or she may include that faculty member on the examining board.
A student must pass the written examination in order to be eligible for the oral examination.
1. Written Examinations:
The purpose of this examination is to show the student’s ability to organize and express his or her thoughts.
Each examiner will submit a question (or questions) to the mentor who will compile the test and submit it to the Director of the Graduate Program for final approval. The examination will last a maximum of three hours, one hour being allotted for the question (or questions) submitted by each examiner.
In order to expedite the process, the Director of the Graduate Program should set a time by which the reader must grade the examination and return it to the Director of the Graduate Program. The results, when compiled, should be communicated to the students by the Director of the graduate Program as soon as possible so as to avoid any unnecessary anxiety.
If the student passes the examination, the mentor, along with the Director of the Graduate Program, will arrange for the oral examination as soon as possible.
A student who fails one part of the examination need take only that part over again. In such a case, six weeks must elapse between the date of the first examination and the second. A student who fails two or more parts must repeat the entire examination. In such a case, the student may repeat the examination only after a lapse of three months from the date of the first examination.
A student may take the written examination only twice.
- Oral Examination
The purpose of this examination is to determine the following traits of the student: maturity; professional sense of history; bibliographical knowledge; ability to communicate knowledge; competency in factual knowledge. For those students writing a thesis, the thesis director will be one of the examiners.
Faculty and students should be advised that the Director, along with the mentor or thesis advisor, is responsible for scheduling the examination.
There will be a minimum of three examiners including the mentor, who acts as the chair. Examiners will be selected after consultation with the advisor and the Graduate Director. The student is to notify each examiner and a time convenient to all arranged well in advance of the examinations. Either the Director of the Graduate Program or the Department Chair should be in attendance as an ex-officio member. The committee chair should, prior to the examination, give the board members some background information about the student they are to examine. The chair of the committee will act as moderator and help set the student at ease.
Each examiner will ask questions for 15 to 20 minutes. In no case is the examination to exceed 75 minutes. The chair may terminate the examination at any time if it is apparent that the student is floundering or becoming “rattled.” At the end of the examination, the student will be asked to leave the room. The committee will then collectively judge whether the student passed. The mark on the exam will be pass or fail. A student who fails may take the examination one more time with the mentor deciding the date.
Graduation with Distinction
Departmental honors will be granted to those students who satisfy the following requirements:
a. Candidate must have earned a minimum GPA in all graduate work of 3.86.
b. Candidate must have been outstanding on written and oral examinations.
c. Candidate must have been recommended by his or her adivsor and unanimously approved by the Committee and Graduate Director.
d. Candidate must have provided evidence of outstanding scholarly work in the fulfillment of the required thesis or two seminar papers.
e. Candidate must have engaged in activities that promote the historical discipline, i.e.: outstanding graduate assistant; History Day participant and promoter; active member of History Club, Phi Alpha Theta, etc.
Students graduating with distinction will be notified in writing by the Graduate Director after the completion of written and oral examinations. Copies of this notification will be deposited in the student’s permanent file.
A foreign language examination may be required of candidates under Option I. This examination is recommended only for those students who are going on for Ph.D. work or whose thesis research requires facility in a foreign language. This requirement can be met by demonstrating a reading knowledge of a foreign language. The following languages are approved for the M.A. requirement: German, French, Russian, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Hebrew, and Latin. Another language may be substituted is it is pertinent to the student’s special field of study. Details on the examination, including the dates administered, are included in the Graduate Catalog.
Graduate Record Examination
Students considering additional graduate study should consider taking the Graduate Record Examination during the fall term of their second year in the program. Although GRE is not required at Youngstown State, faculty appreciate the importance of this standardized test in gaining entry into other institutions and will offer assistance to students in preparing for the exam.
The University has adopted a stringent rule on plagiarism which is noted in the Student Handbook. Improper use of another’s work may result in failure or suspension from the program.
Please note: No substantive change may be made in the thesis application, including faculty involved and project direction without the Graduate Committee’s approval.