Master of Arts in History and Political Studies

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The Master of Arts in History and Political Studies is a fully online degree program designed for graduate students who have interdisciplinary interests and for educators who want to expand their professional credentials to teach courses in both history and government.


The program entails 36 hours of coursework, split evenly between history and political science, and an interdisciplinary portfolio.


All students are required to start with two introductory courses that provide an overview of the disciplines of history and political science as well as a grounding in each field’s methodological approaches.  Students are then required to take one course in each of the History Department’s three thematic tracks (War & Violence, Rights & Identity, and Encounters & Exchanges) and the Political Science Department’s three principal subfields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, and International Relations).  Following those requirements, which account for twenty-four credit hours, students can choose any two other history courses and any two other political science courses as electives that best suit their professional objectives.

Thematic Tracks for History

  • War & Violence:  Courses examine how different societies have experienced, conducted, and remembered military conflict, mass killing, and genocide.
  • Rights & Identity:  Courses explore how individuals and collectives have defined themselves at different times and places around the world.
  • Encounters & Exchanges:  Courses explore how the world’s diverse peoples have encountered and interacted with one another on a large scale over time.

Subfields for Political Science

  • American Politics:  Courses examine political institutions and political behavior in the United States.
  • Comparative Politics:  Courses explore the diverse political systems around the world.
  • International Relations:  Courses explore the cooperative and conflictual interactions of sovereign states and non-state actors on the global stage.


Students will submit an interdisciplinary portfolio in their final semester, reflecting their development and work in the program, and consisting of the following components:

  • A synthetic essay that builds connections between history and political science courses and addresses a broader interdisciplinary question.
  • Either an annotated bibliography of books and major articles read throughout the program, organized by course, OR a teaching portfolio consisting of a teaching statement that describes their philosophy, strategies, and objectives for teaching both history and political science courses; a draft syllabus for a course in history and a course in political science; and a sample of course materials.
  • A compilation of written work from completed courses, such as research essays, book reviews, and response papers.

Additional Information:  Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit. 

Students seeking admission to the MA in History and Political Studies must meet the following requirements and submit all documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Graduate Application:  The Graduate Application is an institutional application required by SHSU.  Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application fee:  An application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. Statement of intent:  This is a written statement explaining why the applicant wishes to pursue an MA in History and Political Studies; how the applicant's educational background or work experience has prepared him/her to undertake an interdisciplinary graduate degree; and what the applicant plans to do professionally with the degree.
  4. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.
  5. Two letters of recommendation that discuss the applicant’s academic and professional potential.
  6. An optional academic writing sample demonstrating the applicant’s ability to advance an argument in professional prose.
Master of Arts in History and Political Studies
Required Courses
HIST 5301Methods in History3
POLS 5301Scope & Methods of Political Science3
Prescribed Electives: History
War and Violence
Select one course from the following:3
Pre-Modern World History
Pre-Modern European History
The Japanese Colonial Empire
Early Medieval Europe
High and Late Medieval Europe
Holocaust & Genocide
Seminar In Military History
Seminar in War & Violence
Film and War in America
The Reconstruction Era
World War II
Revolutionary America
US Civil War
Seminar in the His of Am South
United States Diplomatic Hist
The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1922
European Diplomatic History
Rights & Identity
Select one course from the following:3
American Immigration History
Recent African-American Hist
Legacies of the Reformations
Smnr in Amercn Envirnmntl Hist
Revolutionary America
Early National America
Seminar in the His of Am South
Recent America, 1876-1933
Contemporary Amer,1933-Present
Amer Cultural & Religious His
American Historiography
Topics In the History Of Women
African American Civil Rights
China in Revolution
Early Modern Europe
Later Modern Europe
Encounters & Exchanges
Select one course from the following:3
Intellectual History
Mesoamerican Civilizations
Debates in Global Migration
Empires in World History
The Audible Past
African Environmental History
Colonial America
Recent America, 1876-1933
The American West
World Historiography
Texas History
Latin American History
Public History
Great Brit & The Brit Empire
Cross-Cultural Interactions
Select two additional courses (not previously taken) from the above HIST lists: 6
Prescribed Electives: Political Studies
American Politics
Select one course from the following: 3
American Politics
State Governments, Policies, and Politics
Judicial Politics
The U.S. Presidency
The U.S. Congress
American Political Parties
Seminar in American Politics
Public Policy
Comparative Politics
Select one course from the following:3
Women in Politics
Political Attitudes & Behavior
Media & Politics
Comparative Politics
Seminar in Comparative Politic
International Relations
Select one course from the following:3
Smnr in Internationl Relations
International Relations
Select two additional courses (not previously taken) from the above POLS lists: 6
Total Hours36

Note:  Courses listed under two requirements may only be taken once and may only fulfill one requirement.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MA in History and Political Studies is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Problem solving/research:  critical, analytical, and evaluative thinking, while building an informed belief system by synthesizing knowledge and posing questions about different societies and cultures. 
  • Communication/presentation:  professional expression of ideas through written, verbal, and visual work.
  • Leadership/teaching:  effective engagement in local, state, regional, national, and global communities while promoting civil discourse and civic participation.