214 Allen Hall
Department of History, Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Telephone: (662) 325-3604
Graduate Studies at MSU . . . A Tradition of Excellence
Mississippi State University's Graduate Program has traditionally had concentrations in the South, Race and Race Relations, the Civil War and Gender. We continue to focus on those areas. But about a decade ago we added three exciting nodes of excellence. They are Agricultural, Rural and Environmental History (ARE); International Security/Internal Safety (ISIS); and History of Science and Technology (HOST). Each doctoral student takes a field in at least one of those three specialties. The vast majority of theses and dissertations encompass some aspect of one of those fields.
We conceive of our nodes of excellence broadly. For example, subjects as diverse as military history, international relations, municipal police agencies, paramilitary organizations--particularly prominent in southern history--and homeland security fit comfortably within ISIS. Rural enclaves, environmentalism, agribusiness, plantation society, farming practices, tenant farming, agricultural price support policies, logging and community studies are done under the ARE rubric. HOST entails studies of eugenics, technical education, aerospace, cancer research, national science policy, popular science, and local industries.
At least as exciting has been the crossing over between two or more of these nodes and traditional concentrations. Topics such as adoption of technology among African-American sharecroppers combine several departmental strengths. So too does the relationship among colonial European powers and the conquest of tropical disease or Confederate soldiers and naval shipyards. The attempt to establish chemical industries using agricultural products in rural Mississippi during World War II brings together all nodes and several concentrations. So too does Jimmy Carter's embargo on agricultural products-grain and technology--to the Soviet Union.
Each node is organized around a fundamental seminar. Other course offerings to prepare graduate students in the nodes of excellence are selected with the individual in mind; courses required in each case depend on a discussion among the graduate student and graduate committee members.
Each applicant must submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Studies
The History Department expects applicants to have a GPA of 3.00 in their last two years of undergraduate study.
The prerequisite for admission to a graduate program in history is a minimum of 18 hours of undergraduate history courses; for a graduate minor in history, 12 hours of undergraduate history courses are required.
Each applicant to the Ph.D. program must take the Graduate Record Examination. Applicants should ask the Educational Testing Service to send the scores directly to Mississippi State University. (This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed the M.A. in History at Mississippi State University.)
Each applicant to the Ph.D. program must submit a writing sample directly to the Graduate Coordinator of the History Department. Examples of acceptable writing samples are publications, chapters from a thesis, or a seminar paper.
Applicants should understand that the History Department uses the Statement of Purpose as a major factor in making admissions decisions. It is to the applicant's advantage to take special care in completing this statement. Applicants should add additional pages to the Statement of Purpose if necessary.
Before the History Department admits a student, a member of the graduate faculty must personally agree to serve as that student's major professor and graduate advisor.
Completed applications must be received in the History Department by November 1 for admission for the spring semester and by April 1 for admission for the fall semester. Normallu, applicants will receive an admission decision within 30 days after the recepit of all required materials.
The applicant must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, and meet the History Department's requirements for admission.
An applicant not satisfying the History Department's minimum requirements can be admitted on a provisional basis, but must earn a 3.00 grade point average in his or her first nine hours of graduate work at MSU.
This category of admission is reserved for students not meeting a specific requirement, but who seem likely to meet it in the near future. This category is most often used for applicants who have completed the requirements for degrees which have yet to be formally awarded.
This admission status is normally reserved for students desiring graduate study for purposes other than earning an advanced degree. It may be used, however, by students who have not completed the formal admission process, but who wish to begin taking history courses immediately. A student may take graduate courses at Mississippi State as an unclassified student without going through the Office of Graduate Studies or departmental screening process. If an unclassified student is later admitted to a degree program, he or she may transfer up to nine hours of credit into that program. Taking courses does not in any way signify or guarantee admission to the History Department's graduate program.
International students intending to pursue a graduate degree in history must meet all regular requirements and, in addition, present a Test of English as a Foreign Language score of 550 or higher. This requirement does not apply to international students with degrees from an American institution, nor to students from countries where English is the primary language.
Graduate Fields in History
The Department of History offers graduate fields in a wide variety of areas, the principal fields are listed below. (Please consult the Graduate Handbook for a complete list.)
Nodes of Excellence:
Agricultural, Rural, and Environmental History
International Security/Internal Safety
History of Science and Technology
Imperialism, Colonialism, and Decolonization
Not all of the fields listed above are available for dissertation research or as the major field for a Master of Arts degree.
Common Exam Dates 2010-11
October 10-21, 2011
March 5-16, 2012
April 16-27, 2012
Opportunities for Financial Aid for Graduate Students
Information about the above forms of financial aid may be obtained from:
P. O. Box AB
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Information about Minority Fellowships may be obtained from:
P. O. Box G
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Teaching and Research Assistantships, Dissertation Fellowships--The History Department awards a number of teaching, dissertation, and research assistantships each year to its most outstanding students. First Year M.A. Student Scholarships--The Mississippi State University Department of History has awarded First Year Garner Scholarships in honor of James W. Garner for up to three students seeking the master's degree. Applications for assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships administered by the History Department must be submitted directly to the History Department before March 1, and awards will be made in April.
For more information about Departmental Financial Aid, Contact Graduate Coordinator, Peter Messer.
History graduate students are also eligible for research assistantships in the Social Science Research Center (SSRC). Graduate students awarded an SSRC assistantship will typically assist faculty members engaged in large-scale collaborative projects.
Information about these assistantships may be obtained from:
P. O. Box 5287
Mississippi State, MS 29762