The Master of Arts Program in History | College of Arts

The Master of Arts Program in History

Application Requirements:

  • a degree in history, or its equivalent, with at least a high second class or 'B/B+' average
  • included with the application, a statement of intent describing proposed area of study and proposed thesis topic
  • academic transcripts, minimum two academic references, and other relevant materials required by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • please also see our How To Apply page for details, templates, etc.

History MA - a timeline:

Generally, students are admitted to the MA program with some funding to subsidize (although not cover entirely) the costs of their degree over up to five registered semesters:

  • two or more guaranteed positions, which are tied to specific semesters (eg. Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Fall 2022)
  • a guaranteed University Graduate Scholarship amount, paid out over the first four registered semesters 
  • students may also be nominated upon admisstion for a College of Arts Graduate Tuition Scholarship or Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarships, and may also apply for external funding like SSHRC or OGS grants.

For more on estimated costs of your degree visit the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies total degree cost estimator.

To complete an MA degree by Major Research Paper (MRP) you will pass six graduate courses (at least 3.0 credits) and submit and defend a Major Paper on an approved topic (10,000 to 12,000 words).

To complete an MA degree by Thesis you will pass four graduate courses (at least 2.0 credits) and successfully write and defend thesis on an approved topic (25,000 words).

For more details about the MA degree requirements, please consult the current University of Guelph Graduate Calendar.

Suggested semester schedule:

  • Fall 1 - take 2 or 3 graduate courses + GTA position
  • Winter 1 - take 2 or 3 graduate courses; finish draft of your research proposal + GTA position
  • Summer 1 - register and work on your MRP / Thesis and take a directed reading course (if you still need courses)  OR  take a temporary leave of absence for summer employment (your choice; on a temp. leave you pay no tuition but also receive no scholarship funds)
  • Fall 2 - finish up any courses you still need; work on your MRP / Thesis + GTA position; YES! you can defend and finish in December!
  • Winter 2 - finish your MRP / Thesis full draft by Feb. 1 and defend in early April; you're done!

Please also consult our helpful Guelph History MA Thesis / MRP Proposal Guidelines .pdf

Collaborative International Development Studies (IDS) Designation:

Students can also choose to combine their MA in History with an IDS designation (MA.HIST+IDEV). The IDS collaborative specialization offers an interdisciplinary framework for the study of international development that combines training in a selected academic discipline with exposure to a broad range of social science perspectives. This designation gives extra flexibility on the job market while permitting disciplinary specialization required by most PhD programs. In addition to the MA in History course requirements (tailored to IDS), students take the IDS seminar and one course from each core area: Sociology/Anthropology, Geography, Economics and Political Science. Completion of the IDS program adds the designation "International Development Studies" to the MA degree. Visit the IDS website for more information or e-mail