MA in History

Uncover Historical Narratives and Career Options With MA in History


A Master of Arts (MA) in History is a rigorous graduate-level program that immerses students in the study of past events, societies, cultures and civilisations. The curriculum typically begins with core courses designed to provide a solid foundation in historical methods, theories and themes. Students engage in the study of historiography, exploring how historians have interpreted and written about the past over time. They also learn various research methodologies, critical analysis techniques, and theoretical approaches that underpin historical inquiry.

As students progress through the program, they often have the opportunity to specialise in particular areas or periods of history according to their interests and career goals. Specialisation tracks may include Ancient History, Medieval History, Early Modern History, Modern History, or specific regional histories such as European, American, or Asian History. Advanced seminars and coursework within these specialisation tracks delve deeply into the historical contexts, events, and themes relevant to the chosen area of study, allowing students to develop expertise in their field.

A significant aspect of many MA programs in History is the completion of a thesis or capstone project. This involves conducting original research on a specific historical topic, utilising primary and secondary sources, and contributing new insights or interpretations to the field of history. The thesis process typically includes formulating a research question, conducting literature reviews, analysing evidence, and presenting findings in a coherent and scholarly manner. Some programs may offer non-thesis options, such as comprehensive exams or research papers, but the thesis is often considered a cornerstone of the MA experience.

In addition to core and specialisation courses, MA programs in History often include a range of elective courses that allow students to explore diverse topics within history or related fields. These elective courses may cover thematic areas such as social history, cultural history, economic history, political history, intellectual history, or interdisciplinary approaches to historical study. Students have the flexibility to tailor their coursework to their interests and career aspirations, while also gaining a broad understanding of the complexities and interconnectedness of historical phenomena.

Throughout their studies, MA students engage in seminar discussions and research workshops, where they present their research findings, engage in critical dialogue with faculty and peers, and refine their analytical and communication skills. These forums provide valuable opportunities for intellectual exchange, collaboration, and mentorship, fostering a vibrant scholarly community within the program. 

Additionally, some MA programs offer opportunities for internships or practical experience in museums, archives, historical societies, or other relevant institutions, allowing students to gain hands-on exposure to the practice of history and prepare for diverse career pathways in academia, public history, education, government, journalism, law, and beyond


Core subjects in a Master of Arts (MA) in History program typically provide students with a solid foundation in historical methods, theories, and key concepts. While specific course offerings may vary depending on the institution and program, the following are commonly found core subjects in MA History programs:

  • Ancient India
  • Indian History 
  • Historian
  • Economic History of India 
  • Indian Politics
  • Cultural History 
  • Modern India
  • World History 

Practical Learning

The MA in History course emphasises practical learning in several key areas:

  • Archival Research
  • Historical Methodologies
  • Fieldwork and Site Visits
  • Historical Interpretation
  • Collaborative Projects

Course Curriculum

The course curriculum for an MA in History typically spans over two years and is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of historical theories, methodologies, and thematic areas. Here's an overview of the typical course structure and curriculum for a two-year MA in History program:

First Year 

  • Introduction to Historical Studies
  • Historiography and Historical Methods
  • Ancient and Mediaeval History
  • Research Methodology in History
  • Modern World History
  • Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
  • Regional History (Choice of Region)
  • Elective 1: Themes in Social History

Second Year 

  • Contemporary World History
  • Economic and Political History
  • Elective 2: Cultural History
  • Dissertation/Thesis Proposal
  • Specialised Topics in History (Choice of Period or Theme)
  • Dissertation/Thesis Writing and Defense
  • Internship/Fieldwork (Optional)
  • Elective 3: Environmental History

Top Institutes

Some of the top institutes offering MA in History programs in India include:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi
  • Delhi University (DU), New Delhi
  • University of Hyderabad (UoH), Hyderabad
  • Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh
  • Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
  • University of Mumbai, Mumbai
  • Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), New Delhi
  • University of Calcutta, Kolkata
  • University of Madras, Chennai

Career Growth

Postgraduates can experience significant career growth and advancement in various sectors. Here are several choices for advancing the career: 

  • Advanced Research Positions
  • Academic Leadership
  • Archival and Museum Management
  • Historical Consulting
  • Public Speaking and Media
  • Government and Policy Advisory
  • International and Diplomatic Relations
  • Digital Humanities and Technology
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation


An MA in History opens up a diverse range of career opportunities across various sectors. Here are some sectors where individuals with an MA in History can find scope:

  • Academia and Education
  • Archives and Museums
  • Public History
  • Publishing and Media
  • Government and Diplomacy
  • Cultural Heritage and Tourism
  • Libraries and Information Services
  • Nonprofit and NGO Sector
  • Business and Corporate Sector
  • Heritage Conservation and Urban Planning

Pros & Cons

Pros of pursuing a MA in History:

  • Deep Understanding of the History
  • Research Skills
  • Specialisation
  • Career Opportunities

Cons of pursuing a MA in History:

  • Narrow Career Focus
  • Limited Practical Skills