History and Library Science

History and Library Science Master of Arts (HiLS) Dual-Degree Program

Organized in the late 1970s, the History and Library Science Master of Arts (HiLS) dual-degree program is jointly run by the Department of History and the College of Information Studies (the iSchool).  HiLS students graduate with both a Master of Arts in History and a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree.

The HiLS program is ideally suited for students interested in historical scholarship and research as well as applied skills. As a result of studying for two degrees, students in the HiLS program gain skills in historical methodology and in cutting-edge library and information science practices that prepare them for careers in libraries, archives, museums, and other information centers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Students admitted to the HiLS Program typically complete the program of study in three (3) years, but they have up to five (5) years to complete the program.  The HiLS program requires fifty-four (54) credit hours of study, with a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours in both the Department of History and the College of Information Studies.  Students select how to use the remaining six (6) credits.

Admissions

Admission requirements for the HiLS dual-degree program combine requirements for the MA in History and the MLS. Successful applicants make the case that they maintain a strong academic interest in historical scholarship and research while also seeking professional training in areas such as archives and records management, digital curation, public history, special collections, reference librarianship, and/or information systems. Prospective students should consult the admissions guidelines for the Master of Arts in History and the Master of Library Science degrees.

The application deadline is December 15.

HiLS applicants submit only one graduate school application online.  As part of the application students must submit GRE scores, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a writing sample (typically a 20-page research paper), a resume/CV, and a 500-word essay addressing questions outlined on the MLS admissions page.

HiLS applications are reviewed for admission separately by the iSchool and the History Department.  A joint History Department/iSchool committee then reviews all those applicants recommended for admission by each program and decides which applicants will be admitted to HiLS.  Students in the program must be formally admitted both by Department of History and the iSchool in order to be admitted to the HiLS program.  Students who are admitted by a single department have the option of pursuing the degree program in the accepting department.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all the requirements for the MA in History and the Masters of Library Science. 

MLS Requirements

In the MLS program, students must take the core courses required of all MLS students and the field study.  The MLS requirements include:

1. MLS Core Courses (12 credits)

  • LBSC 602 Serving Information Needs
  • LBSC 631 Achieving Organizational Excellence
  • LBSC 671 Creating Information Infrastructures
  • LBSC 791 Designing Principled Inquiry

2. Field Study (3 credits)

  • LBSC 707 Field Study in Library Science

3. Electives (9-15 credits)

  • Students select electives based on their interests, career goals, and knowledge areas in which they want to build their skills.

In addition, MLS students choose an area of specialization or develop an individualized course of study (Individualized Program Plan or IPP), which allows them to select electives based on their interests, career goals, and knowledge areas in which they want to build their skills.  Students in IPP may take all masters-level courses offered in the iSchool, as long as course prerequisities are met.  These include courses offered in the MLS program's areas of specialization: Archives and Digital Curation, Information for Diverse Populations (IDP), Community Analytics and Policy, and School Library.

Students in the HiLS program who want to prepare for a career in archives should follow the Individualized Program Plan (IPP) and take INST 604, Introduction to Archives and Digital Curation (the pre-requisite for other such courses), as well as other courses in archives and digital curation.  The Introduction to Archives Management course is open to all students in the MLS program, not just students in the Archives and Digital Curation track.

HiLS students may take 24-30 credits in the iSchool plus 24-30 credits in History for a total of 54 credits.

Requirements for the M.A. in History 

In History, students choose an area of concentration and take a certain number of courses--the General Seminar, readings courses, and Research Seminars--in that area of concentration.  Students decide whether they will do the thesis or the non-thesis option.  In the thesis option, students do one research seminar and then six credits of M.A. thesis research (HIST 799).  They write a 60-80 page M.A. thesis under the supervision of an advisor.  In the non-thesis option, students take two research seminars and an M.A. comprehensive exam.  For more details, see below and also the section on the MA degree on the History Department website.

All MA students in the HiLS program must complete a minimum of 24 credits in History.  The mandatory course requirements are as follows:

  1. History and Contemporary Theory (HIST 601; 3 credits) (Taken in Year 2 or 3)

  2. Field General Seminar(s) (HIST 608; 3-9 credits)

    1. 608A-B (United States)
    2. 608C (Modern Europe)
    3. 608D (Middle East)
    4. 608E (Women's and Gender History)
    5. 606F (Science and Technology)
    6. 608G-I (Latin America)
    7. 608J-K (East Asia)
    8. equivalent seminar(s) in other historical fields
  3. Research Seminar (HIST 8XX; 3 credits)

All MA students must take at least 12 credits in a “major field” within History, including at least 3 credits of General Seminar in that field and at least 3 credits of Research seminar in that field.  In certain fields, students may take more than one General Seminar in that field.   Often students take “research seminars” as independent study courses with faculty in their fields.  Typically students take other readings courses in their fields or in other fields that interest them.

Special Notes

  1. Courses completed during previous postbaccalaureate degree programs and/or at other institutions may be considered to satisfy course requirements.

  2. Requests for course requirement waivers, equivalency, and credit transfers should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies. A request must include the course syllabus and transcripts showing the final grade. The endorsement of the advisor is typically sought.

  3. Up to nine (9) credit hours of major and minor field readings courses may be taken at the 400 level.

Degree-By-Thesis Option

The Degree-By-Thesis option addresses the needs of two types of students. First, it offers students who are taking the MA as a terminal degree the opportunity to master historical scholarship and historiography, while also pursuing an intensive, original research project. Second, the thesis option can help students assess their aptitude for research and writing at the doctoral level.

Students who opt for the Degree-by-Thesis must complete at least twelve (12) credit hours in one of the approved major fields (see Fields of Study). Three to nine (3-9) of these credit hours must be in the appropriate General Seminar(s) and an additional three (3) must be in 800-level research seminars. The students take an additional six (6) hours of HIST 799 (Master's Thesis Research).

In consultation with the advisor, the student develops an original research project that will require substantive analysis of primary materials, in addition to full engagement with the existing relevant scholarship. Archival and bibliographic research may last several months, and be conducted in the College Park region or farther away. Writing may take an additional several months.  Typically the MA thesis is 60-80 pages long.

All thesis research, including oral history research, must be conducted in accordance with University rules as well as professional and legal standards. In some instances, MA students might be required to submit a précis of the thesis or other materials to the Institutional Review Board of the University of Maryland or another institution. In Spring 2006, the campus IRB issued a finding that oral history does not enjoy a blanket exclusion from IRB review. It is, therefore, essential that all research projects involving oral history and other forms of research that fall under human subjects research protocols be cleared by the IRB.

In an open oral defense of the thesis, normally lasting not longer than two hours, the student must attain approval by a majority of a Thesis Examining Committee consisting of at least three members of the Graduate Faculty, chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the students's advisor. The advisor chairs the committee. At the conclusion of the oral defense, the committee will determine whether the thesis is satisfactory as submitted or if revisions must be undertaken before the thesis will be officially accepted. If the student has expressed the desire to continue on to the doctoral program at Maryland, the thesis committee will also make a recommendation to the Graduate Committee about the student's admission to the Ph.D. program.

There is no minor field requirement or comprehensive examination for students who select the Degree-by-Thesis option.

Degree-by-Examination Option

The Degree-By-Examination (a.k.a. "non-thesis") option likewise addresses the needs of two types of students. For students seeking a terminal-degree MA, the option offers a flexible mixture of course work and research seminars, affording the opportunity both to attain a broad general understanding of historical scholarship and to pursue original research. For students who wish to pursue the PhD degree at Maryland or elsewhere, the option prepares students for various aspects of a doctoral program, including reading courses and seminars in a major field, comprehensive examinations, and advanced research and writing.

Students who opt for the Degree-By-Examination must complete at least twelve (12) credit hours in one of the approved major fields (see Fields of Study). Three to nine (3-9) of these credit hours must be in the appropriate General Seminar(s) and an additional six (6) must be in 800-level research seminars.

Students who opt for the Degree-By-Examination must pass a four-hour, written examination based on the student's course work and/or a set of readings devised by the student in consultation with the advisor. Typically the reading list for the MA comprehensive exam is about 50 books.  It is the expectation that MA non-thesis students take the examination in the fourth semester of full-time study.

At or about the time that the student registers for graduation, the Degree-by-Examination student will present two (2) 800-level research papers to the MA examining committee for its approval. The examining committee will review the papers, the MA examination, and the student's entire record in the MA program to make a final determination for degree conferral. If the student has expressed the desire to continue on to the doctoral program at Maryland, the committee will also make a recommendation to the Graduate Committee about the student's admission to the Ph.D. program.

Examinations

Guidelines for HiLS Degree Examinations

All written examinations are administered twice a year, in October and April.

The examination committee consists of three members of the Graduate Faculty, typically all members of the History faculty. The student's advisor chairs the examination committee. The Director of Graduate Studies designates the other committee members, in consultation with the advisor and the student. Each committee member may contribute questions for the examination.

The examination will be graded pass or fail.

Students should consult their advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies for additional guidelines on the expectations for and the grading of examinations.

Petition for Re-Examination

In the case of failure of a written examination (Degree-by-Examination option only) or a language examination, the student may petition the Graduate Committee to take the examination a second time. If the petition is approved, the student must retake the examination when it is next offered.

Advising and Advisory Committees

Each student admitted to the HiLS program will select an advisor in History who is a member of the Graduate Faculty and whose intellectual interests are compatible with the student's plan of study. All graduate students are required to choose an advisor by November 1 of their first semester. If they do not choose an advisor by that date, the DGS will appoint one for them. The faculty advisor is responsible for advising the student, approving course selection each semester, monitoring the student's progress, and informing the student of the nature and timing of examinations and other evaluations. The advisor, in consultation with the student, will be responsible for constituting the advisory, thesis, and examination committees. The advisor will also represent the student to the Graduate Committee, as appropriate.

The advisory committee, to be constituted no later than the spring semester of the first year of study, consists of the student's advisor and two faculty members in appropriate fields, chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the student and the advisor. At the conclusion of the first year of study, all students will make available to the advisory committee a transcript of coursework and major written work completed during the first year. The Director of Graduate Studies will provide the advisory committee with additional relevant information, such as teaching assistantship evaluations. Upon review of the appropriate materials, the advisory committee will then recommend to the Graduate Committee continuation, modification, or, as appropriate, termination of the student's program.

After the first year of study, the advisory committee may convene to discuss progress-to-degree. The advisor has primary responsibility for determining the need for an advisory committee review, but a student has the right to request formal review.

The advisory committee ordinarily serves as the HiLS thesis or examination committee, but substitutions are possible, provided that all members of the HiLS thesis or examination committee are members of the Graduate Faculty and that the student's advisor serves as the committee chair.

HiLS students may change advisors at any moment of their studies, registering the change with the Director of Graduate Studies.

A change of advisor or of the composition of the advisory committee must be recorded in the student's electronic file.

Registration, Time-to-Degree, and Progress-to-Degree

Continuous Registration

All graduate students must register for courses and pay associated tuition and fees each semester, not including summer and winter sessions, until the degree is awarded.

HiLS students who will be away from the University for up to one year may request a waiver of continuous registration and its associated tuition and fees. Waivers shall be granted only if the student is making satisfactory progress toward the degree and can complete the degree requirements within the required time limits. Interruptions in continuous registration cannot be used to justify an extension to time-to-degree requirements.

The Graduate School makes available an official Leave-of-Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness, and Dependent Care. The Dean of the Graduate School must approve the leave. The time-to-degree clock is suspended during an approved leave-of-absence.

Additional information on Continuous Registration and Leave-of-Absence policies is published online in the Graduate Catalog.

Time-to-Degree

Whether a full- or part-time student, all students admitted to the HiLS program must complete all degree requirements in five (5) years from initial enrollment.

Progress-to-Degree

All students in the HiLS program will be expected to demonstrate steady progress towards the completion of degree requirements. At a minimum, the Graduate School requires students to maintain a B average in all graduate courses. However, the Department of History expects a higher level of performance.

Failure to make satisfactory progress-to-degree or to maintain the expected grade point average may result in the suspension or loss of departmental funding, the denial of a petition for extensions, and in extreme cases, a recommendation for dismissal.

Extensions and Waivers

The Graduate Committee will consider petitions for waivers to departmental guidelines. Petitions for waivers to Graduate School requirements must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, using the appropriate form. In most instances, the petitioning student will be required to provide a rationale for the waiver request, and, as appropriate, a convincing plan of study. The advice of the student's advisor may be sought. The advisor will be required to endorse any waiver request that involves extensions to overall time-to-degree as well as the major benchmarks of progress-to-degree.

All petitions should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies, and in some cases the Dean of the Graduate School, will notify the student of their disposition of petitions for extensions.