Program Overview

The Comparative Studies in History and Society (CSHS) MA program provides a comprehensive and advanced introduction to major methodological, thematic, and theoretical approaches to history, drawing on related disciplines and the broad faculty expertise at Koç University in the humanities and social sciences such as sociology, gender studies and political science. In particular, the program offers an integrated comparative historical approach that allows students to gain a broader and deeper understanding of historical processes in the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and East and South Asia from the early modern period to the present. While in their thesis, students could focus on a single geographical region, they are encouraged to engage with fields of scholarship beyond the spatio-temporal scope of their research projects.

The CSHS MA program is a two-year degree program with a thesis. Students take courses in the first year and conduct their research and complete a thesis in the second year. The students identify specific faculty whom they wish to collaborate with on mutually agreed upon research projects. Mirroring the methodological diversity of the program’s faculty, students could employ various research methods, including but not limited to archival research, digital humanities, and oral history.


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MA with Thesis

Learn more about MA with Thesis​.​​​

MA without Thesis

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Program Outcomes

The program help serve the career needs of students in two ways. First, the program prepares  students who wish to continue on to Ph.D. programs in Türkiye, Europe and North America. Second, it trains students who are interested in research and policy-related positions in governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in Türkiye and beyond.


Some of the students who graduated from this program also apply to doctoral programs.

SHS 502 / RESEARCH METHODS AND DESIGNIntroduces the fundamentals of historical and social research by focusing on a variety of research methods. Exposure to the philosophy of social science methodology and quantitative research methods. Introduction to historical, sociological, and comparative methods, including oral history, ethnography, interviewing techniques, archival research and document analysis. Building on their training in these methods, students are guided through the steps of research design, namely writing research proposals, constructing hypotheses, operationalizing research questions, designing questionnaires and interview forms, research and publication ethics and data collection.
CSHS 503 / SOCIAL THEORYSurveys some of the main themes and names in social theory. Examines in depth the classical foundations of sociological theory, especially the works of Marx, Weber and Durkheim. Focuses on some of the important early and late twentieth-century thinkers, including Gramsci, Bourdieu and Foucault, and discusses the feminist and postcolonial challenges to classical theory.
CSHS 504 / HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGYSome of the most important theoretical questions of the social sciences have been posed by scholars pursuing investigations at the intersection of sociology and history. How are these questions formulated and answered? How important is a consideration of the temporal nature of human actions and social structures and what are its consequences for our understanding of social life? How does the past “matter” to the present? This course addresses these questions and introduces students to some key theories, methodological contributions and a selection of substantive themes in comparative and historical sociology.
CSHS 505 / ECONOMY AND SOCIETYSociological analyses of the economy. Review of the works of Adam Smith, Marx and Weber as these relate to economic sociology. Discussion of the interaction of political power and economic organization, the state-market relationship, regulation of the economy by the state, hegemony in the world economy, globalization, attempts to constitute a neoliberal order in the national and transnational context and contradictions involved in this attempt. Focus on capitalist crises and the causes and consequences of the 2008 Great Recession.
CSHS 506 / TURKISH STATE AND SOCIETYFocuses on major approaches and issues in the study of nineteenth century Ottoman and modern Turkish societies. Analyzes major social, economic and political transformations in Ottoman/Turkish society from a regional perspective.
CSHS 510 / THESIS SEMINARRequired course for second year graduate students. Designed to accompany students along the process of formulating their arguments and focusing their research question. Learning from one another, students will be reminded that they face similar problems for which they can find solutions as a cohort.
CSHS 516 / NATIONS AND NATIONALISMExamines ideas of nationalism, nations and nation-states, and the different ways in which nationalism is practiced and expressed, and the major theoretical works on these concepts.
CSHS 517 / OTTOMAN STATE AND SOCIETYAnalysis of Ottoman state, institutions and culture with a specific emphasis on state and social group relations in the nineteenth century Ottoman Empire. Evolution of social change from the Classical Age to the end of the empire, rise of local nationalisms, ruptures and continuities between the Ottoman imperial regime and nation-states.
CSHS 532 / THE MEDITERRANEAN IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORYConcentrates on the strategic, economic and political role of the region in the 20th century. Investigates the contribution of the Mediterranean region into the global political developments, with a focus on Mediterranean interaction with other parts of Europe.
CSHS 540 / RISE AND FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION, 1917-1991Exploring the nature and significance of the Soviet experiment, the controversies to which it has given rise, and the forces, processes, and personalities that shaped the formation, transformation, and ultimate collapse of both the Soviet system and the Soviet Union.
CSHS 550 / SELECTED TOPICS IN HISTORY AND SOCIETYFocuses on selected aspects of nineteenth century Ottoman and modern Turkish political and social structures in comparison to other states and societies. Some of the issues to be covered are state-society relations, migration, social stratification, identities, citizenship and political economic transformations.