Rhodes Tower 1915
Elizabeth Lehfeldt, Department Chair
Robert Shelton, Graduate Program Director
The Master of Arts in History program offers advanced training in American, African, Middle Eastern, Asian, European, and Latin American history. The program encourages students to take courses in a range of geographic and temporal areas while allowing them the flexibility to focus on subjects that interest them. It strives to provide students not just historical content but also the ability to recognize and analyze themes and patterns across the historical landscape. The Master of Arts in History program is particularly well suited for pre-doctoral students, for secondary school teachers seeking additional enrichment, and for those interested in pursuing careers in public history. Close student and faculty contact is encouraged through a combination of lecture-discussion courses and research and reading seminars that are designed to broaden and deepen the students’ historical knowledge and provide training in history as a scholarly discipline. The department has developed new courses in the fields of East and Southeast Asian History, Ancient and Medieval History, Early Modern European History, American and European Social History, African-American History, African History, Middle Eastern History, Latin American History, and Public History.
In addition to College of Graduate Studies requirements for admission, applicants to the History program must have:
Under special circumstances, an applicant may remediate undergraduate deficiencies by enrolling as a non-degree student. Non-degree students must achieve a graduate GPA of 3.0 or better for twelve credit hours in approved courses to qualify for admission.
The Department of History offers a number of graduate assistantships and internships to complement full-time study. Assistantships and internships require twenty hours of service per week to the department. Graduate assistant responsibilities include tutoring students, assisting professors in the preparation of lectures and discussions, and working on departmental programs. Additional financial assistance is available through various internship programs.
The History MA program is intended to prepare students for entry into doctoral programs in history and art history. Graduates of the program also are prepared for secondary-level teaching in history and social studies, as well as careers in public history (i.e., the practice of history in a non-academic setting).
In addition, the master’s program in history develops a variety of skills that are basic to success in many careers in business and other professions. Recent graduates have demonstrated skills in conceptualization, research, analysis, and oral and written communication in careers in banking, the media, insurance, journalism, law, marketing and advertising, publishing, and government service.
Faculty Research and Publications
All members of the graduate faculty participate in the activities of local and national historical associations and are active in research and publication in their fields of specialization. In recent years, faculty members have made important scholarly contributions in the form of books and articles on diverse topics, such as African American stage performers at the turn of the 20th century, American labor and immigration history, sexuality and gender in China, food and nationalism in Southeast Asia, tenantry and landownership in the American revolution, tourism in New Orleans, the professionalization of firefighting and the rationalization of the insurance industry, Moroccan political and social history, racial discourse and labor activism in the 19th century South, British medieval church history, the emergence of capitalism in the Netherlands, and Early Modern Spain. The MA program is designed to encourage students to interact closely with faculty in their areas of interest. Through research and reading seminars, independent study, and/or the writing of a master’s thesis, students are encouraged to develop independent research and writing skills.
Students may pursue either of two plans for the Master of Arts degree in History. Plan A requires the writing of a thesis, while Plan B requires additional courses in lieu of a thesis. The prospective student selects one of the programs in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.
For both plans, students are required to complete a total of thirty-two credit hours in approved courses with at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Only one grade of B- may count towards the degree and grades below B- (C or F) will not count towards the degree. Depending on their undergraduate preparation in history, students, with approval, may take up to eight credit hours in courses outside of the History Department. For the policy on transferring credit from another institution, see the section on Transfer Credit in this Catalog.
Upon admission, each student must consult with the Director of Graduate History Studies in order to establish a general plan of study. HIS 697 Independent Study in History can be taken only with the approval of the Graduate Program Director.
Special Requirements for Plan A
Special Requirements for Plan B
Museum Studies Specialization
Robert Shelton, Graduate Program Director
The History Department in cooperation with the Art Department and the Levin College of Urban Affairs offers an interdisciplinary program that leads to a Master of Arts degree in History with a specialization in Museum Studies.
The program is broad in scope rather than highly specialized. Depth in a specialized area is achieved through HIS 599 Internship in History, HIS 695 Research Seminar, and the 500-level elective course.
Admission requirements are the same as those for the MA in History program.
Students are required to complete a total of thirty-six (36) credit hours in approved courses with at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Upon admission, each student must consult with the History Graduate Program Director in order to establish a general plan of study.
The History Department and the Art Department offer an interdisciplinary program that leads to a Master of Arts degree in History with a specialization in art history. The program provides a comprehensive approach to the integral study of history and art and allows for advanced training that broadens and deepens the student’s knowledge about the relationship between art and history.
The program is broad in scope rather than highly specialized. Depth in a specialized area is achieved through independent study, thesis, and related courses in history or approved electives. The program is designed to accommodate both full-time students and those students who are currently working but are free for classes after 4 p.m. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program and the number of credits required, it is expected that the student will usually take two years (or longer if part-time) to complete the degree.
Although the Art Department is responsible for admission decisions for the art history specialization, the History and Art departments jointly supervise thesis advising and approve applications for graduation.
For non-degree students, graduate courses in art education and studio art also are available.
Faculty Research and Publications
All members of the graduate faculty participate in the activities of local, national, and international art and historical associations and are active in research and publication. In recent years, faculty members have made important scholarly contributions in the form of books, articles, and catalogs on such diverse topics as African ivories, African perspectives on 15th- and 16thcentury art, Buddhist sculpture, Cleveland architecture and the city’s struggle for self-identity, Gothic fan-vaulting, Hindu temple art, Jaina manuscript painting, Hindu and Buddhist iconography, Indian mandalas, Tantric art and erotic rituals, navigation and maritime goddesses and serpent deities of Orissa, Modern Jewish Art, Jewish American Artists, and a historic perspective on Cleveland’s landmark Terminal Tower.
The Art History program prepares students for entry into doctoral programs in art history, for secondary-level teaching in art history and cultural studies, archival management, historical preservation, art gallery and art museum curatorial employment, art consulting, and slide-library work.
In addition to College of Graduate Studies requirements for admission, applicants who wish to pursue the art history specialization must have:
Results of the Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination are desired from all applicants. Results of both the General and Subject test of the GRE are required of applicants who do not meet the minimum grade-point average set for admission to the College of Graduate Studies.
A number of graduate assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis to qualified students. Assistantships provide tuition support and a stipend in exchange for ten hours of service per week in the research and instructional programs of the faculty. Interested students should apply to the Graduate Advisor in advance of the academic year.
Graduate study enables participation in the research of the graduate faculty, which is sponsored by local, national, and international agencies and is widely published in leading professional journals and books.
Graduate student research is often presented at regional and national conferences.
Graduate students have access to the Ingalls Library of The Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the foremost collections in the nation, and to the considerable collections of the Cleveland Public Library. Excellent interlibrary loan, OCLC facilities, and general computer-research services on campus assure rapid acquisition of additional material. Computer applications to the history of art are encouraged and well supported by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
Special exhibits and shows in the Cleveland State University Art Gallery afford graduate students experience in curating and publishing exhibition catalogs.
Additional practical experience and funding is facilitated by internships at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and local art galleries.
Upon admission to the program, the student must immediately contact the Graduate Advisor in the Art Department to develop a general plan of study, which is recorded on a program planning form. This form provides the basis for subsequent consultations.
Students may pursue either of two plans for the art history specialization. Plan A requires the writing of a thesis and is intended primarily for the student who plans to study for a Ph.D. in Art History. Plan B is intended primarily for the student seeking only an MA degree and requires additional course work in lieu of the thesis. Plan B is designed for breadth and flexibility rather than specialized concentration. Prospective students select a program in consultation with the Graduate Advisor. Students in plans A and B must complete their approved courses with at least a 3.0 grade-point average, and all students must earn a minimum of twenty hours of credit at the 600 level.
Plan A (36 hours)
Students anticipating further study are encouraged to begin acquiring a second foreign language in order to meet the Ph.D. program requirements at other universities.
Plan B (40 hours)
Each candidate, whether pursuing Plan A or B, must prepare a twenty-minute slide presentation as an exit requirement. Candidates also are expected to attend and participate in their colleagues’ presentations. These slide presentations should demonstrate an original approach to a well-defined topic developed from one of the student’s seminar papers. They afford the candidate the opportunity to refine and distill research, following the guidelines of professional art historical society meetings.
For Plan A candidates, the thesis committee must consist of two faculty advisors from the Art Department, one from the History Department, and one member external to the degree program. The guidelines for the thesis are decided on by agreement between the student and the committee. The committee notifies the Graduate Advisor when the thesis has been completed successfully.