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FAQs

Do I have to take the GRE?

Yes. The Department of History at USU, like most history graduate programs, requires that all applicants take the general aptitude portion of the GRE. The advanced test in history is not required.

What is the difference between the MA and the MS?

The difference is that students seeking an MA must show current competency in a foreign language (equivalent to having completed two years of a foreign language at the undergraduate level) whereas MS students may be required to incorporate computer science, statistics, or environmental or other applied science in their research.

Does the thesis or Plan B have to conform to a particular format?

A thesis should be a tightly conceived research effort based on primary sources. Successful theses at USU have been as short as 60 pages, but are usually around 100 pages. Plan B papers address historical questions of more limited scope and run around 30 pages. Plan B students must also submit a portfolio of their graduate writing with two separate and distinct pieces of work. Students writing a thesis must get their final work approved by the graduate school. You can pick up a pamphlet that spells out these format requirements. The department also requires that students conform to the footnote and bibliography format of Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Should I have a topic in mind for my thesis when I arrive at USU?

Although you do not need to know your exact thesis topic, it is recommended that you have a geographical and chronological focus before you arrive at USU. This will aid in finding an advisor, choosing an appropriate topic, forming a thesis committee, and picking classes.

If I want to pursue a doctorate (Ph.D.) what approach should I take?

Definitely the Plan A and MA. There are important skills learned in the process of researching and writing the thesis that will help in doctoral-level seminars and in completing the dissertation. Any foreign language in hand will also make the road to a Ph.D. easier.
How long will it take to receive my master's? Two years is the standard, although some students finish earlier and some take a bit longer. If you hold a graduate assistantship or a fellowship, you are expected to finish in two years. No university funding is available after the second year.

Do graduate credits earned elsewhere transfer?

The student's supervisory committee may recommend the transfer of course credits earned at another accredited institution that has a graduate program, provided the course or courses carry a grade of B or higher, were taken within the past six years, and have not been used for a previous degree. Credits with P (passing) grades will not be accepted as transfer credits. Transfer credits cannot replace required residency credit, which for the master's is 24 hours.

Does USU have any advantages over other graduate programs I might consider?

The key advantage we offer is individual attention. Because we limit our entering class to approximately twelve, every graduate student is important to us. Moreover, at USU master's-level students are not competing with doctoral students for the faculty's time and for history-related work experiences.

Where do USU graduates go after receiving their master's in history?

USU graduates relocate all over the world in a variety of undertakings. Some use their master's degree to acquire jobs in historical societies, museums, publishing, or teach. Others go on to earn law degrees or doctorates in history. One of our graduates have managed the architectural archives of the LDS church, directed the Cayman Islands National Museum, and headed research and educational programs in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Among our master's graduates who have completed their doctorates are faculty members at the University of Arizona, Kent State University, Brigham Young University, Southern Oregon University, Middlebury College, BYU-Idaho, Case-Western Reserve, and Cal Poly-Pomona.