Degrees Offered


The program offers courses in all areas of historical study, including medieval and modern Europe, Russia, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, but its special strengths are in the United States, the American South, and Britain. 

The M.A. in history has two objectives that aim to prepare students for history-related careers in teaching, public or government service, law, historical editing, archival management, and business: 1) to increase the student’s knowledge of the areas of history in which he/she wishes to specialize; and 2) to provide the student with skills for performing primary and secondary historical research and analysis, and writing skills as developed in coursework essays and most of all in an acceptable scholarly thesis.

The student entering the graduate program must be advised on his/her coursework by the graduate program coordinator. New students should contact the graduate coordinator by phone or email to discuss this soon after they have been admitted. Consultation with the graduate coordinator should continue for the duration of the program.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

If you are accepted into the program, you will not be required to be in residence, although the program does not offer distance-learning courses. If you are a full-time student, the average duration of the program will be two years, with course work and formulation of your thesis topic in your first year followed by completion of the remaining course work and your thesis in the second year. The thesis involves research in primary documents on an original topic, which you will choose in coordination with your faculty advisors. The department prides itself on the ample guidance given to graduate students in research techniques and analytical and writing skills.

In addition to required course work, you must write a thesis acceptable to the department and must demonstrate reading knowledge of a foreign language. A final examination, which may be written or oral— or a combination of the two forms—is also required. Those holding assistantships must carry nine hours each semester. You must maintain a cumulative “B” average in all graduate-level courses (6000-level or above). With the approval of the graduate program coordinator, you may take graduate-level courses outside the history curriculum, but normally no more than two such courses are permitted. If you concentrate your course work and thesis in US history, you must take at least one non-US history course other than historiography; likewise, if you concentrate your studies in European history, you must take at least one non-European history course other than historiography.


Research facilities on campus include the Robert Muldrow Cooper Library, whose holdings include more than 1.5 million items and the University’s Office of Special Collections, with extensive archival materials pertaining to the history of the South and South Carolina. Historic homes on campus, including Fort Hill, the John C. Calhoun plantation house, provide a venue for research into material history.


Application Information

Students are admitted to the graduate program by the dean of the graduate school upon the recommendation of the department’s graduate program coordinator department chair. In order to apply to the MA program in history, you must submit the following as part of the application process:

  • Acceptable scores on the verbal and writing sections of the GRE 
  • Final Transcript(s) for your BA sent by your undergraduate school(s) (the most successful applications have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in history courses and 3.0 in all courses during the last two undergraduate years)
  • 3 Letters of Reference, preferably from undergraduate professors
  • A sample term paper
  • A personal statement addressing your background in history, intended areas of specialization and reasons for applying
  • A completed Graduate School Application Form

Additionally, if you have 1) a GPA of less than 3.0 in the history major for your BA degree and/or 2) a BA degree, including the major and minor, in subject(s) other than history, you should take a minimum of four upper-level undergraduate history courses at Clemson or at another accredited university or college and receive a grade of “B” or higher in each course before admission to the program. The only exception to this course requirement are applicants who demonstrate that, as a part of their BA degree, they completed a minimum of four upper-level undergraduate history courses with a grade of “B” or higher.


You may apply on the web at Your application should be received no later than January 20 for fall admission. (The program does not have spring admissions.) Every required item in support of your application must be on file by that date. Please note that consideration for assistantships begins in January and continues until the available assistantships are filled.

Required Documents


The history graduate program offers a total of 10 teaching assistantships that pay stipends of $9,200 in the first year and $10,700 in the second. The assistantships include a standard tuition reduction in an amount determined by the University. The departmental graduate committee selects teaching assistants from current and incoming students on the basis of grades, recommendations, and GRE scores.


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)