The M.A. Maritime Studies requires a total of 36 s.h. of course work. For a comprehensive outline of the master’s degree in Maritime Studies and to check semester-semester offerings, please refer to the latest Course Catalog and Graduate Guidelines.

As of August 2023, the MA in Maritime Studies has a revised curriculum.  Students must complete:

4 core prerequisite classes (annual schedule) – 12 s.h.

  1. HIST 6805 – History and Theory of Maritime Archaeology (fall semester of 1st year) (3 s.h.)
  2. HIST 6820 – Maritime Archaeological Field Methods (spring semester of 1st year, HIST6805 is a prerequisite) (3 s.h.)
  3. HIST 5530 – Field School in Maritime History and Underwater Research (summer of 1st year, HIST6805 and HIST6820 are prerequisites) (3 s.h.)
  4. HIST 6900 – Historiography: Introduction to Research (fall semesters) (3 s.h.).  It is recommended that this course be taken in consultation with a thesis adviser (once a thesis topic has been selected).  This course can be taken in the 2nd year.

Thesis hours (HIST7000) (6 s.h.).  All admitted students should seek a thesis adviser upon entry, securing an adviser by the end of spring semester of their first year.

1-2 courses of research skills (3-6 s.h.).
The History Department maintains a list of research skill classes, and petitions for particular graduate-level research skill classes can be made via a thesis advisor.  The present list of approved research skill classes include:

  1. HIST 5950 – Introduction to Quantitative History (2 s.h) & HIST5951 Directed Readings and Research in Quantitative History (1 s.h.) (3 s.h. total; both must be taken)
  2. COAS 6000 – Scientific Diving and Underwater Research Techniques (3 s.h) (scheduled by ECU’s Diving and Water Safety Office; Students must contact ECU DWS to ensure their eligibility to enroll)
  3. GEOG 6401 – Geographic Information Systems (3 s.h.) (scheduled by ECU’s Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment)
  4. Graduate-level language courses are also eligible (all scheduled by ECU’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures)

The remaining courses, are referred to as electives (12-15 s.h.).  Maritime-focused electives vary by semester based upon instructor availability to teach courses. The course catalog and graduate guidelines provide an overview of all potential electives, with the following courses generally being offered on annual, biennial, or periodic schedules:

Annual Schedule

HIST 5505 – Maritime History to 1415

HIST 5520 – Maritime History Since 1815

HIST 5950 – Introduction to Quantitative History

HIST 6010 – Maritime History, 1415-1815

HIST 6525 – Sea Power

HIST 6810 – History of Marine Architecture and Ship Construction

HIST 6850 – Field Research in Maritime History
[note: this course is 6 s.h.]

Regular Schedule (Biennial)

HIST 6080 – Studies in European Maritime History and Archaeology

HIST 6225 – Battlefield Archaeology

HIST 6650 – Management of Coastal Cultural Resources

HIST 6825 – American Maritime Material Culture

HIST 6890 – Ship Reconstruction

Irregular Schedule (Periodic)

HIST 6610 – Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Maritime Studies

HIST 6620 – Public Policy and Management of Cultural Resources

HIST 6630 – Seminar in Maritime Studies

HIST 6640 – Maritime Cultural Resources

HIST 6660 – Maritime Heritage of the Coast

HIST 6830 – Maritime Cultural Landscapes

HIST 6832 – African and Caribbean Maritime Archaeology and History

HIST 6835 – Advanced Methods for Maritime Archaeology

HIST 6840 – Introduction to Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation

HIST 6845 – Advanced Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation

HIST 6855 – Principles of Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation

HIST 6860 – Archaeological Museum Conservation Methods Internship

HIST 6865 – Field Methods in Archaeological and Museum Artifact Conservation

HIST 6881 – Small Watercraft


Note regarding scientific diving training (COAS 6000)

Students wishing to enroll in program field schools or collect underwater archaeological data as a part of thesis research (i.e. pursuing a career in maritime archaeology) must also complete COAS 6000 (Scientific diving, 3 s.h.).  COAS 6000 provides the training necessary to obtain an ECU Scientific Diver certification.  This certification meets the standards for scientific diving established by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and is required for those diving under ECU auspices.  An open water diving certification (e.g. a PADI, NAUI, SSI, SDI or equivalent certification) is a prerequisite for entering the course.  COAS 6000 may be used only as a non-HIST course elective, and can be taken in excess of a regular 9 s.h. courseload.

This course must be taken before HIST5530, and therefore is usually completed in the 1st or 2nd semester of classes (1st semester is preferred).  Incoming graduate students may not take more than 9 semester hours of “regular classes” in their first semester. COAS6000 is the only exception to this rule. This exception exists due to inclement weather issues (that can disrupt training schedules).  Additionally, COAS 6000 offers a greater degree of flexibility than a “regular” class (some of the content such as theory portions may be undertaken online), and due to the time spent in the pool and open water sessions, it also doesn’t carry the same reading, writing, or library time than a regular graduate class.

COAS courses are not HIST courses, therefore registration in COAS 6000 occurs by contacting the director of the Diving and Water Safety office (Mark Keusenkothen,, 328.4041).