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Program Description & Guidelines

August 2014

Welcome to the M.A. History Program at UCA! This document will serve as your handbook to the program, its requirements, and rules. Graduate school is challenging. We have designed the program to train you to analyze texts critically, vocalize your thoughts and insights, write effectively, and understand both the historiography of your major field and the discipline in general. In the process, our courses will expand your understanding of the particular areas and eras you choose to focus on and provide you with content details you will need to teach history, go on to a Ph.D. program, or simply impress your friends and family with your knowledge of interesting historical facts. We hope you enjoy the graduate student experience!

This M.A. degree is intended to serve two types of graduate students: those who wish to continue their studies in a Ph.D. program and those who want a terminal M.A. (such as current teachers wanting to expand their content knowledge and those who wish to teach at the community college level). As such, both types of students need major and minor fields (geographic concentrations) that will allow them to focus their historical knowledge either as the basis for additional training or as a teaching field. Students are encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunity to pursue these interests in the courses in which they elect to enroll, and/or by choosing to write a thesis under the direction of a thesis advisor.

Now that you have been admitted, meet with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies (COGS) as soon as possible to decide your major and minor fields (chosen from American history, European history, or Non-Western history); decide on your courses for the current semester; and discuss which track you plan to pursue. You will be given a checklist to keep track of your classes and requirements. You should also be sure the COGS has a current email address so that you can receive important announcements. Finally, if you ever have any questions about the program, requirements, or what to do next, do not hesitate to contact the COGS, who will be happy to help!

Program Rules and Requirements- back to top

All graduate students in this program must adhere to the following program rules and requirements:

  • Students must complete 30 hours to graduate. Eighteen hours must be at the 6000 level. A minimum of 24 graduate hours must be taken in residence.
  • Students must develop a major general field of study (a minimum of 12 graduate hours) and a minor general field of study (a minimum of 6 hours taken)
  • Students must complete HIST 6300 and HIST 6371
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average throughout their course of study.
  • Students may not register for classes if they have two outstanding X grades from previous semesters. Once X requirements have been met, the hold will be released.
  • Students may not get credit for more than one Independent Study.
  • Students will successfully pass formal comprehensive examinations administered during their last semester of graduate study. These examinations will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis with the understanding that a “B” level performance is necessary to pass. All three members of the examination committee must agree on the grade awarded.
  • Students who fail a written or oral exam will have one opportunity to retake the exam.
  • Students must complete any additional track-specific requirements, listed below:

Non-Thesis Track:- back to top

Aside from the above requirements, non-thesis track students must pass both a written and oral exam. The written exam tests specific, detailed knowledge from the courses you have had with three professors: two from your major field and one in your minor field. The oral exam tests broad knowledge and connections from all courses taken. The three faculty members who directed the written exam will comprise the oral exam committee. Should a student fail either exam, a second examination must be taken no earlier than one month after the first examination.

During the student’s final semester, students will request the COGS to create an examination committee. As a rule, this committee will be composed of no fewer than three graduate faculty members chosen by the COGS from whom students have taken course work during their graduate study. Generally this will represent your major and minor fields. It will be the responsibility of the committee to administer the final comprehensive examinations.

The purpose of the comprehensive examination will be to examine students’ general knowledge of history. Questioning, therefore, will concentrate on students’ knowledge of their major general field of study, their minor general fields of study, as well as general historiography and historical methodology learned in the 6300 course.

Thesis Track:- back to top

Aside from the requirements listed under Program Rules and Requirements, thesis track students are required to write a Master’s thesis. A student must have a 3.5 minimum gpa at the time of their enrollment in the first thesis course (HIST 6301). As this track is designed for students who plan to continue their studies in a Ph.D. program, the following additional requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Submit a thesis prospectus and complete the Intent to Write a Thesis form.
  • Show proficiency in one foreign language through a translation examination administered by the department. You will be given one to two pages from an academic journal or scholarly monograph to translate with the help of a dictionary in three hours. 85% accuracy will be counted as a passing score. If you fail the exam you may retake it twice more, but you must wait one month between test dates. Once proficiency has been proven, students will be allowed to register for HIST 6301 and 6302.
  • Complete HIST 6301 and 6302 (thesis research and writing) under an approved thesis director and thesis committee. If additional semesters are needed to complete the thesis, students must enroll in 6101 every semester (including one summer session) until thesis is completed.
  • Provide evidence that they possess knowledge of the general discipline adequate to the M.A. level of study (written) and defend the thesis (orally). It will be the responsibility of the thesis director and the thesis committee to administer the final oral defense of the thesis and a written comprehensive examination. The comprehensive portion of the examination will test students’ general knowledge of history. Questioning, therefore, will concentrate on students’ knowledge of their major general field of study, their minor general fields of study, as well as general historiography and historical methodology.


In addition to the curricular requirements described above, early in the penultimate semester of study, students must choose a thesis director and submit a thesis proposal that must be approved. It will be the responsibility of the thesis director in conjunction with the COGS to select a thesis committee. Both the thesis director and the committee members must approve the proposal.

Students who have chosen this track will meet with the COGS to set up the comprehensive examinations. Also, the department has created a Thesis Guide which has discipline specific guidelines to supplement the Graduate Studies “Thesis and Dissertation Guide” available at

Advising and Registration- back to top

Graduate students should consult with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies when planning which classes to take each semester. At this advising meeting the registration hold will be removed from the student’s account which will allow self-registration through the MyUCA (

Forms and Deadlines:- back to top

Many of the forms you will need are available online at on the History Department website, or from the COGS.

Graduation forms–Must be completed by all students even if you will not participate in the graduation ceremony. ($40 also due with these forms).

  • Application for Graduate Degree
  • Graduate Degree—Change/Exception Form (if needed)
  • Graduate Student Cap & Gown Order Form
  • Tracking of Graduate Students Form

Financial Support:- back to top

The Department employs a few Graduate Assistants every year. Graduate Assistants support faculty by grading, administering evaluations, facilitating classes in a professor’s absence, and conducting other support services as needed. If you are interested, see the department secretaries for the appropriate form.

Students are also encouraged to apply to any of the funding sources offered by the university:

Robert M. McLauchlin Graduate Scholarship: The fund provides scholarship for graduate students who have been admitted with full qualifications to a graduate program at the University of Central Arkansas or who are continuing in good standing in a graduate program. New recipients of the scholarship must be enrolled for 9 or more credit hours. The scholarship is renewable for the second semester with a graduate grade point average of 3.0 and continuation of full-time study. Selection is based on academic performance, school and community involvement, and need. The UCA Foundation and the Graduate Office encourage individuals interested in this opportunity to contact the UCA Foundation (450-5288). Applications must be submitted early in the spring semester of each year. Selections are made mid-spring for the following fall semester.

Student Opportunities (STOPS Database):
This database contains information on scholarships, fellowships, internships, grants, travel internships and awards for students at all levels including undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral. The information is intended to help students with finding the right opportunity, the eligibility criteria, who to contact, and where to go to get more information.

Student Research Fund, University Research Council:

Resources to locate UCA and National Scholarships:

UCA Foundation Scholarships:

Additional Resources:

  • Fellowship Database at the University of Illinois: (This database contains over 800 graduate student funding opportunities.)
    FinAid was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service. This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools—on or off the web.
    Access to FinAid is free for all users.
  • US Department of Education (Grant information from the US Department of Education)

Graduate Faculty- back to top

Dr. Chris Craun. Assistant Professor. Education: B.A., University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (1997); Ph.D., University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland (2005). Teaching Fields: Ancient history, early medieval history, especially early Christianity, Carolingian monasticism, early medieval gender, and the cult of saints. Research Interests: Martyrologies, early Hagiography, Christian asceticism, construction and use of gender in sacred texts, biblical motifs in architecture and medieval literature, as well as Carolingian ecclesiastical literature.

Dr. Buckley Foster. Lecturer II. Education: B.A., University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (1997); Ph.D., Mississippi State University (2003). Teaching Fields: 19th Century U.S. South, Military History. Research Interests: Civil War.

Dr. Donald Jones. Associate Professor. Education: B.A., Northeast Louisiana University (1965); Ph.D., University of Kansas (1994). Teaching Fields: Twentieth-century Europe, Modern France. Research Interests: The European Union; Labor Strikes in 1948 France; Vichy Regime France.

Dr. Michael Kithinji. Assistant Professor. Education: B.A., University of Nairobi, Kenya (2000); Ph.D., Bowling Green State University (2009). Teaching Fields: Africa and African diaspora. Research Interests: Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa, Education and Intellectual History, Policy History, Pan-Africanism and Regional Integration in Africa.

Dr. Wendy Lucas. Chair and Associate Professor. Education: B.A., Whittier College (1997), Ph.D., University of California at Riverside (2004). Teaching Fields: American History, Colonial & Revolutionary America, Native Americans, Gender History. Research Interests: Euro-Indian interactions, Identity in Early America, Quakers, and material culture.

Dr. Story Matkin-Rawn. Associate Professor. Education: B.A., Smith College (1997); Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (2009). Teaching Fields: Post-Civil War U.S, Southern, Arkansan, and African-American history. Research Interests: African American organizing before World War II, Civil Rights, Southern labor history, History of Education.

Dr. Roger Pauly. Associate Professor. Education: B.A., Olaf College (1988); Ph.D., University of Delaware (2000). Teaching Fields: Imperial History, Victorian Britain, 19th Century Science and Technology, Military. Research: New Imperialism and Victorian Anthropology.

Dr. Michael Rosenow. Associate Professor. Education: B.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2000); Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2008). Teaching Fields: U.S. History since 1815, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, U.S. Immigration History, U.S. Diplomatic History. Research Interests: Labor and Working-Class History, Racial Identity and Race Relations, U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History.

Dr. Vaughn Scribner. Assistant Professor. Education: B.A., Kansas State University (2008); Ph.D., University of Kansas (2010). Teaching Fields: colonial America, American Revolution, Atlantic slavery. Research Interests: Colonial American tavern culture, loyalists in the American Revolution, early modern science and the environment, Atlantic slavery, social and urban history, broadly.

Dr. Zach Smith. Assistant Professor. Director of the Asian Studies Program. Education: B.A., University of Georgia (2007); Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2015). Teaching Fields: modern China, modern Japan, gender and sexuality in East Asia, postcolonial theory, global history, nationalism.

Dr. Sonia Toudji. Assistant Professor. Education: B.A., Université Mouloud Mammeri, Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria (2004); Ph.D., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (2012). Doctorat Études Anglophones-Université du Maine, Le Mans, France (2011). Teaching Fields: Arkansas History, Early American History, Native American History. Research Interests: Early Encounters; Gender & Intimacy; Native American & African Identity in the Frontiers, Slavery & Captivity.

Dr. David Welky. Professor. Education: B.A., Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) (1993), Ph.D., Purdue (2001). Teaching Fields: American Nation II, American Thought and Life Since 1865, and America Since 1920. Research Interests: Twentieth-century United States, Cultural History, Mass Culture, Film History and Sports History.