Program Structure

Each course in the program is offered for two (2) semester credit hours. Courses are offered in two formats:

  • As residential Weeklong Summer courses during the months of June and July at our Ashland, Ohio campus.
  • As Live Online webinar courses offered on various schedules throughout the academic year.

The degree requires a total of 32 semester credit hours. Students may choose from either a thesis, capstone project, or a comprehensive examination track.

The minimum time to completion is 15 months of full-time study, starting in June and continuing until August of the second year. For students whose personal and profession lives require part-time study, a more reasonable timeline to completion is two to four years depending upon the student's desired course load and track option.

Students may take up to four (4) Weeklong Summer courses during any one summer semester. Students may take up to two (2) concurrent fall or spring semester Live Online courses, and no more than four (4) during any one semester. Students may not take a Weeklong Summer and a Live Online course concurrently.

Students should consult with their program advisor to discuss their semester-by-semester load. All degree requirements must be completed within ten (10) years from the date of their first course. 

Course of Study

Core Courses

The full 12 semester credit hour Core is required for all degree students.

Course NumberCourse TitleHrsPrerequisites
HIST 501/POLSC 501 The American Revolution 2 None
HIST 502/POLSC 502 The American Founding 2 None
HIST 503/POLSC 503 Sectionalism and Civil War 2 None
HIST 505/POLSC 505 The Progressive Era 2 None
HIST 506/POLSC 506 The Rise of Modern America, 1914-1945 2 None
HIST 510/POLSC 510 Great American Texts 2 None

Elective Courses

All students must earn 20 hours of elective credit. 

Students on the Thesis or Capstone Project tracks must complete 8 elective courses (16 semester hours), plus either HIST/POLSC 691 or HIST/POLSC 692 (4 semester hours).

Students on the Qualifying Examination track must complete 10 elective courses (20 semester hours) and HIST/POLSC 693 (0 semester hours). 

Course NumberCourse TitleHrsPrerequisites
HIST 601/POLSC 601  Sources of the American Regime  2  None
HIST 602/POLSC 602  European Discovery and Settlement  2  None
HIST 603/POLSC 603  Colonial America  2  None
HIST 604/POLSC 604  The Early Republic  2  None
HIST 605/POLSC 605  The Age of Enterprise  2  None
HIST 606/POLSC 606  America between World Wars  2  None
HIST 607/POLSC 607  America during the Cold War  2  None
HIST 608/POLSC 608 Civil War and Reconstruction 2 None
HIST 609/POLSC 609 World War II 2 None
HIST 610/POLSC 610  American Foreign Policy  2  None
HIST 611/POLSC 611  The American Way of War  2  None
HIST 613/POLSC 613 Postwar America, 1945-1973 2 None
HIST 614/POLSC 614 Contemporary America, 1974 to present 2 None
HIST 620/POLSC 620  The Reform Tradition in America  2  None
HIST 621/POLSC 621  Race and Equality in America  2  None
HIST 622/POLSC 622  Religion in American History and Politics  2  None
HIST 623/POLSC 623  Gender and Equality in America  2  None
HIST 623/POLSC 623 American Society and Culture 2 None
HIST 630/POLSC 630  American Statesmen  2  None
HIST 631/POLSC 631  American Political Rhetoric  2  None
HIST 632/POLSC 632  The American Presidency I, Washington to Lincoln  2  None
HIST 633/POLSC 633  The American Presidency II, Johnson to the present  2  None
HIST 644/POLSC 644  The Congress  2  None
HIST 641/POLSC 641  The Supreme Court  2  None
HIST 642/POLSC 642  Political Parties  2  None
HIST 643/POLSC 643 Constitutional Rights and Powers 2 None
HIST 660/POLSC 660  Topics in American History and Government  2  None
HIST 670/POLSC 670  Directed Study  2  None
HIST 691/POLSC 691  Thesis  4  None
HIST 692/POLSC 692  Capstone Project  4 None
HIST 693/POLSC 693  Qualifying Examination  0  Permission

The Qualifying Examination, Capstone Project, and Thesis Tracks

Students may choose the thesis, the capstone project, or the qualifying exam track. In choosing a track, students should consider their professional and educational goals and needs in consultation with their academic advisor. The qualifying examination and capstone project tracks are appropriate for students who do not plan to continue their studies beyond the master's level. The thesis track is open to any student, however it is strongly recommended for those students who plan to continue their studies beyond the master's level.

Each option serves the same goal: that is, by completing the qualifying examination, capstone project, or thesis a student will demonstrate mastery of the topics taught in the program. In addition to content mastery, students must also display well-developed analytical and interpretive skills in the use of original documents and their relationship to the broader subject of American history and government.

The student need not choose a track until the semester during which he or she reaches 20 hours in the program. With the permission of the program chair, the student may switch tracks after he or she has made an initial decision.

Qualifying Examination Track

Students who choose this option must earn 12 hours of core course credit and 20 hours of elective credit. The student may take the qualifying exam either concurrently with their final course in the program or may take it in the subsequent semester. Students should complete the qualifying examination registration form when they are ready to take the exam.

The qualifying examination is composed of essay response questions based upon the program's core curriculum. The exam is offered once each semester (fall, spring, and summer), generally six to eight weeks prior to the end of the semester. Students may repeat the examination once. If the student fails to successfully pass the exam after their second attempt, the student may face dismissal from the program.

Capstone Project Track

Students who choose this option must earn 12 hours of core course credit, 16 hours of elective credit, and successfully complete HIST/POLSC 692.

The capstone project allows a student to demonstrate his or her mastery of subject matter, as well as analytical and interpretive skills in a practical, useful, or creative format of the student's choosing. A capstone project combines different kinds of practical experience (e.g., as a docent or historical reenactor) or other written work (e.g., lesson plans or historical fiction) with analytical and interpretive writing in the form of one or more essays. Capstone projects may include:

  • Creation of a selection of materials (e.g. primary documents) to enhance a curriculum, with essays providing justification of the selections and analysis and interpretation to assist in their use.
  • Participation in a Civil War battle reenactment, with interpretive essays explaining the significance of the battle in the military and political outcome of the Civil War.
  • Development of an exhibition at a school, library, or museum, along with analytical and interpretive essays explaining the significance of the exhibition.

Capstone track students must attend the research methods seminar to begin work on their project proposal. After the seminar, which lasts about two hours, the student will then work individually with the program's thesis/capstone project coordinator to plan their capstone project proposal. Students should attend the research methods seminar around the time they complete 20 hours in the program. The capstone project proposal requires the approval of the thesis/capstone project coordinator, the capstone project advisor, and the capstone project second reader, who will review the proposal to make sure it meets the substantive and methodological requirements of a master's program. Once the proposal is approved, the student may begin work on the project. Students should NOT proceed to write their capstone project prior to receiving formal approval of their proposal.

Students should declare their interest in attending the research methods seminar by completing the research methods registration form.

Thesis Track

Students who choose this option must earn 12 hours of core course credit, 16 hours of elective credit, and successfully complete HIST/POLSC 691.

The thesis allows a student to demonstrate his or her mastery of subject matter, as well as analytical and interpretive skills in a traditional written format. A thesis is a written work stating a claim or interpretation and supporting it with data and argument. For example, a thesis might claim that a certain type of protestant theology is responsible for political reform movements in the United States and support that claim by examining, in one of a number of different ways, the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Thesis track students must attend the research methods seminar to begin work on their thesis proposal. After the seminar, which lasts about two hours, the student will then work individually with the program's thesis/capstone project coordinator to plan their thesis proposal. Students should attend the research methods seminar around the time they complete 20 hours in the program. The thesis proposal requires the approval of the thesis/capstone project coordinator, the thesis advisor, and the thesis second reader, who will review the proposal to make sure it meets the substantive and methodological requirements of a master's program. Once the proposal is approved, the student may begin work on the thesis. Students should NOT proceed to write their thesis prior to receiving formal approval of their proposal.

Students should declare their interest in attending the research methods seminar by completing the research methods registration form.