The MAGIC curriculum is designed to build strength in comparative history while allowing students the flexibility to explore their specific regional and thematic interests. Students, in consultation with the program director, design a curriculum that simultaneously provides broad exposure to global historical perspectives and depth in a particular regional or thematic history.

Course Breakdown

All students must complete the core colloquium HIST 505, Introduction to Global History in their first year.  Students must also complete a two-semester research seminar, resulting in an original, primary source-based research paper, known as the capstone paper.  This sequence normally consists of HIST 504, Global History Research Seminar, taken in the spring of the first year, and either a seminar specific to the student’s interests or the Research Seminar Omnibus.  The second part of the sequence can be taken in the fall or spring semester.

In the 2-semester research seminar, students prepare a substantial analytical paper integrating the historical literature with original research in the relevant foreign language(s).  Students who identify an appropriate two-semester research seminar in their chosen geographical field may petition to enroll in that sequence in lieu of HIST 504 and/or HIST 506, with the approval of the Director of MA Programs and the faculty member teaching the regional research seminar.

The remaining seven courses are usually distributed as follows:

  • Field I - Global and Comparative History (3-4 courses) emphasizes transregional and comparative studies, offering students the opportunity to explore common themes across different geographic regions.
  • Field II – Regional and National History (3-4 courses) allows students to gain deep knowledge of a particular part of the globe.

By petition, a student may focus Field I on one world region, Field II on another region, and emphasize relations between the two (e.g., Europe and the Americas); or develop an explicitly comparative perspective, such as, for example, politics, gender, and culture in the Middle East and Latin America.

Language Requirements

All students must demonstrate proficiency in at least one language other than English by passing the History department-administered examination before beginning their third full semester in the program. At the beginning of their studies, all students will take a reading examination in a language other than English to determine their level of proficiency. Students who do not pass the examination on entrance will be required to take courses or other appropriate steps to bring their language skills up to department standards.  Students who were conferred a high school diploma or an undergraduate degree at an institution in which English is not the primary language of instruction can petition for native proficiency.  While the language requirement is not a prerequisite for admission to the MAGIC program, prospective students are strongly encouraged to have language study prior to matriculating in the program.  For additional information on the language exam, please consult the MA Handbook.