Old photo of West Hall, University Hall, and East Hall.


By studying history, you will explore people, events, institutions and values as old as the ancient world and as new as yesterday's headlines.

What can an advanced degree in history do for me?

Whether as a historian or political analyst, while earning your master's degree in history from USD, you can expect to conduct sophisticated research projects and expand your writing skills to help advance your career. You can also earn more money with a master's degree. Students who graduate from our program are prepared to go on for the Ph.D. or to venture further into the field of history as an independent historian, beginning museum professional or an advanced secondary educator. As a terminal degree program, all graduate students have the full attention of the department’s historians.

Degrees & Offerings

History (M.A.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

The master's degree in history requires 30-33 credit hours and is offered in a plan A (thesis) or plan B (non-thesis) program of study. Students can focus on a variety of areas in American and European history. The applications of a master’s degree in history are far-reaching.

Concurrent History, Law (M.A./J.D.)

Master's + Doctorate
  Vermillion Main Campus

Combine your M.A. in history with a law degree. Graduates may go on to work in primary and secondary education or consider the field of law as a litigation specialist or paralegal. Admission to the Knudson School of Law is required prior to entering the M.A./J.D. program.

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Start Your Application Today

Each program has unique application requirements and deadlines. Be sure and consult the graduate catalog for detailed program information. It will ensure your application and materials are complete and submitted on time. To learn more about the application process, visit how to apply.

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.
An outside view of Belbas Center.

Student Opportunities

The academic opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Visit our department webpage for more information about the experiences and resources you can look forward to at USD.


Learn more about history

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in History.
Historic Photo Placed Over Current East Hall Building


At the University of South Dakota, our Department of History houses numerous disciplines that exist at the intersection of curiosity, research, writing, storytelling and the human experience. Find the answers to your questions about people, events, institutions and values with the guidance and support of our exceptional faculty.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Department of History.
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Burrow

David Burrow

Chair, History
Faculty Default

Jennifer Beermann

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Elise Boxer

Elise Boxer

Director, Inst of Amer Indian
Bio Image for Faculty Member Zoli Filotas

Zoli Filotas

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Sara Lampert

Sara Lampert

Associate Professor
Two students talking about history poster research.

A Customized Approach

As the only graduate program in history in the state of South Dakota, the program is designed to be personal and intensive with close mentorship from the department's faculty. You'll learn the history of the discipline, study historical methods in graduate-only seminars and pursue an independent research project in an area of your interest. Elective courses and thesis credits allow you to emphasize a particular research area within the general master’s program.
Two students with history poster.

Original Historical Research

Take advantage of opportunities to present your original historical research at conferences such as the Northern Great Plains History Conference, the regional Phi Alpha Theta Student History Conference, the biennial Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Conference and the upcoming 100 Years of History Conference planned for fall 2022.

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 
Resident & WRGP
MN Residents
Tuition (9 cr.)
Fees (9 cr.)
Books (estimate)

More About Tuition & Fees

This is an estimate tuition rate* per credit hour and other factors such as special fees associated with your program may change the cost of tuition. Tuition rates are subject to change. 

If you are wondering about how to pay for graduate school, there are additional funding options to consider.

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