Graduate Program

The Department of History at the University of Maine offers a graduate program leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy.

Through a series of seminars, special topics courses, and individually arranged tutorial sessions, students are brought into close working relationships with the faculty and are allowed considerable flexibility in designing their courses of study. At the master’s level, students pursue a course of study in one geographical area, such as America, Asia, Canada, Europe, or Latin America, while doctoral students choose American, Canadian-American, or International history as their major focus. Within such regional frameworks, a number of topical approaches are possible that reflect the research interests of the faculty. Because faculty research interests converge in important ways, however, Maine’s graduate program in history offers a number of truly unique opportunities for advanced study. One such convergence builds on the strength of the Canadian-American program by focusing on the Northeastern Borderlands Region of New England, the Atlantic Provinces, and Quebec; within this regional framework, students can explore a wide range of economic, environmental, political and social topics.

The University

The University of Maine is a major educational and research institution with about 12,000 students and 650 faculty located in central Maine. Founded in 1865, it opened its doors in 1868 as the land-grant university of the state. Today, the Orono campus is the site of a dynamic, modern university, encompassing eight colleges, the graduate school, and a full range of other academic and non-academic programs.

The University of Maine offers excellent resources for graduate students in history. Fogler Library contains nearly a million volumes, 6,700 periodical subscriptions and continuations, more than a million microforms, and, as an official depository for both the U.S. and Canada, nearly two million U.S. and Canadian federal government publications. The Library’s general collection contains substantial material in Canadian, regional, maritime, women’s, environmental, and anti-slavery history, while specialized collections include Maine-related materials, sound recordings and music scores, maps, manuscripts, Canadiana, patents, and educational materials for teachers and students. Its on-line catalog, Ursus, gives direct access to all library collections in the University of Maine System, the state’s major public libraries and the Maine State Library and indirect access, via the internet, to on-line catalogs at research institutions around the world. Graduate students in history also have access to the folklore and oral history collections at the University’s Maine Folklife Center.

Degree Requirements

For the Master of Arts degree, candidates follow one of two options. Under the Thesis Option, students complete at least thirty semester hours of course work, six hours of which will be thesis credit. Students must pass an oral examination on the completed thesis. Those selecting the Non-Thesis Option take at least two graduate research seminars in lieu of the thesis and must pass an oral examination upon completion of their course work. All students at the master’s level must demonstrate competence in one foreign language. Doctoral candidates fulfill the customary requirements of American graduate schools by completing advanced course work beyond the master’s level; passing a series of comprehensive examinations; demonstrating competence in one foreign language; and researching, writing, and defending a dissertation.

Admission and Financial Aid

A complete application for admission to the graduate program in history consists of the application form itself, transcripts of all previous academic work, Graduate Record Examination scores, and three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members or others who can judge an applicant’s potential for advanced study. January 15 is the deadline for applicants seeking to begin study in the fall semester; October 15 is the deadline for spring semester admissions. The department’s Graduate Committee makes all decisions regarding admissions. A master’s applicant normally will have achieved a “B” average (3.0 grade-point average) or better as an undergraduate, with a major or at least a substantial concentration in history, and have scored 500 or better on the verbal section and 4.5 or better on the analytical section of the Graduate Record Examination. For admission to the doctoral program, applicants should complete the MA degree, document a record of solid accomplishment at the master’s level, and offer the promise of superior achievement at the doctoral level. In determining admission to the graduate program, the Graduate Committee weighs an applicant’s grade-point average, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, writing sample (mandatory for Ph.D. applicants), interest in a field of history for which there is supporting graduate faculty, and degree of previous exposure to history. In certain cases, students who fail to meet these minima may be granted special admission, with regular status delayed until certain conditions can be met.

All students applying for admission to the graduate program may also apply for financial aid, in the form of various fellowships, scholarships, or teaching assistantships, by marking the appropriate places on the application form. Complete applications involving requests for financial aid should be filed by January 15; those arriving after that date may be considered for admission alone.

Further Information

Application forms, a Graduate School Bulletin, and information about graduate study at Maine may be obtained by contacting the Graduate School, 5755 Stodder Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469-5755. Telephone: 207-581-3291. Fax: 207-581-3232.