Comparative Studies In History And Society MA with Thesis

Program Overview

Comparative Studies in History and Society (CSHS) combines the strengths of the sociology and history departments of Koç University in an interdisciplinary Master of Arts (M.A.) program. The program, which serves a growing need in Türkiye for interdisciplinary graduate programs in the social sciences, offers a theoretically-driven, historically-informed, and empirically-rigorous graduate education.

Application Requirements

A complete application package includes the following documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcript (a minimum GPA of 3.00/4.00)
  • ALES (for native applicants)
  • GRE (for foreign applicants)
  • TOEFL or (e-)YDS or (e-)YÖKDİL

Comparative Studies in History and Society MA with Thesis


Minimum Required Scores

ALES (Equally Weighted)













  • You must have a 3.00 GPA for application for MA Applications.
  • We strongly encourage applicants to submit a scanned image of the transcript at the time of application, which can speed processing; however, a final, official transcript will be required of all admitted students during registration.

Letters of Recommendation

  • The Graduate School requires two letters of recommendation for MA applications.
  • Recommendation letters  should be by persons well qualified to speak from first-hand knowledge about the applicant’s potential for graduate study.
  • Letters of recommendation must be submitted online.


  • Applicants to MA and PhD programs must have their results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE-for foreign applicants) or ALES (Akademik Lisansüstü Eğitim Sınavı-for native applicants) General Test sent to the Graduate School.
  • You need to also upload available scores during online application. You will be able to leave these spaces empty if your scores are not available at the time of application.
  • We do accept applications without ALES and/or TOEFL scores.
  • You must submit these scores as soon as they are announced.


  • All applicants whose native language is not English must ensure that the Graduate School receives their official score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Minimum score required is 80.
  • We do not accept IELTS.

Writing a Statement of Purpose

As suggested in the general application section, a good statement of purpose will include reasons for applying to this program, career objectives, and research interests. In addition, as much as possible, it should include a tentative thesis topic, including which research methods will be used. Moreover, applicants are strongly encouraged to become familiar with CSHS faculty research areas and projects and to indicate names of faculty they may want to work with in the statement of purpose. Those who have an interest in working with a particular faculty member can contact that person for additional information. More detailed information, including a list of recent faculty publications can be found on the Sociology and History Department’s web pages.

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.

The program will help serve the career needs of students in two ways. First, the program will prepare students who wish to continue to PhD programs in Türkiye and abroad. Second, it will train students who are interested in research and policy-related positions in governmental, non-governmental and international organizations in Türkiye and abroad.

Program Structure and Course Description

1st Year*

Hist 501 (Historiography)Hist 502 (Research Methods in History)
Area ElectiveArea Elective
Area ElectiveArea Elective
Area Elective 
KOLT 500 TA Training 


2nd Year **

CSHS 510 Seminar 
CSHS 595 ThesisCSHS 595 Thesis
ENGL 500 Academic Writing 


* **Courses may or may not be offered in the semesters they are listed under.

* ** This template is subject to change

In the first year, students will take two required courses (HIST 501 and HIST 502) and five area electives. In addition to the area electives offered by CSHS, students may take other graduate courses offered in the Graduate School of Social Sciences and Humanities as electives with the consent of their advisors. The second year is devoted to thesis writing. All M.A. students must take CSHS 510: Thesis Writing Seminar TEAC  500: Teaching Experience (non-credit), and ENGL 500: Graduate Writing (non-credit).

* Students can take a language or other skill-based course (e.g. quantitative methods) as an elective in the fall or spring semester of their first year. If the language (or skill-based) course is a two-course sequence (e.g. Ottoman Turkish I and II), then one of the two will count as a non-credit audit. They may take a CSHS area elective in lieu of an elective course. Alternatively, students may, upon the consent of their academic advisor, take a graduate course from a different program as an elective or an area elective.

Required Courses

HIST 501 Historiography
Provides a global presentation of the purpose, practices and methodologies in history-writing from the 18th to the 21st century. Examines the professionalization of history as a discipline, the importance of primary sources (such as archives) and of key notions such as causality, truth, interpretation and objectivity in history-writing.

HIST 502 Research Methods in History
Introduces major historical research methods, including archival research, oral history, research and publication ethics and document analysis. Guides students through the steps of research project, namely writing research proposals, constructing hypotheses, formulating research questions, data collection, and discourse analysis.

CSHS 510 Pre-Thesis Seminar 
Prepares students for a successful start on their thesis by helping them choose their topic, formulate a research agenda and assess different methodologies.

CSHS 595 Thesis

ENGL 500 Graduate Writing 
This is a writing course specifically designed to improve academic writing skills as well as critical reading and thinking. The course objectives will be met through extensive reading, writing and discussion both in and out of class. Student performance will be assessed and graded by Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

TEAC 500 Teaching Experience 
Provides hands-on teaching experience to graduate students in undergraduate courses. Reinforces students’ understanding of basic concepts and allows them to communicate and apply their knowledge of the subject matter.

Area Elective Courses (a limited number of area electives are offered each semester)

CSHS 503 Social Theory
Surveys 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 506 Turkish State and Society 
Analyzes major social, economic and political transformations in Ottoman/Turkish society in the 19th and 20th centuries. Focuses mainly on Turkish state, society, and culture from 1923 to the present.

CSHS 511 Social Stratification
Introduces students to the major theories and empirical trends in social stratification. Examines dimensions of social inequalities and stratification, such as class, race, ethnicity and gender from a comparative, historical, and global perspective.

CSHS 516 Nations and Nationalism 
Examines 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 Society 
Analysis 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 521 Comparative Perspectives on the Middle East 
Analyzes the establishment and development of Middle Eastern political systems, social and political processes including the end of empires, formation of nation states, and their foreign policies beginning with the nineteenth century.

CSHS 524 Etatist Policies in Comparative Perspective 
Examines state-oriented policies in general in Eastern Europe including the Soviet Union and Balkan countries, comparing these countries to Türkiye. Deals with different economic policies in those countries during the 20th century. Explores the effects of etatist economies on the political transformations in these societies.

CSHS 533: Science, Technology, and Society
Introduces students to the fundamental concepts and issues in the study of science and technology. The course employs a multidisciplinary point of view in the social sciences and humanities and focuses on the reciprocal ways in which science and technology shape society and the ways in which society shapes science and technology. The main questions we will ask will be philosophical (how to define science and technology?), sociological (how does science and technology interact with social categories, such as gender and race), historical (how does the historical development of science and technology inform them today? How do past debates matter?), and political (how does power matter in the practice of science and technology? How should science and technology be controlled democratically?).

CSHS 538 Social and Political Movements 
Engages some of the theoretical perspectives, conceptual issues/questions, and empirical research that animate the study of social movements and collective action. It will look into the individual and collective involvement in social movements, as well as examine the social and political context of collective action. How and why do social movements emerge? How are social movements organized? How do activists choose political tactics and strategies? What are, if any, the effects of social movements on processes of social and political change?

CSHS 541 Migration and Population Movements 
Provides an advanced survey of scholarly literatures on migration and population movements. Covers theories of and empirical studies about international migration, transnational migration and diaspora formation, refugee movements and internal displacement.

CSHS 565 Advanced Topics in the History of Culture and Society
Introduces some of the major historiographical approaches to the study of culture and society. We will map turning points in the field and examine methodological, theoretical, and ideological frameworks that have guided historians today. Topics will include the history of the urban life, popular culture and social control, reading habits, religious beliefs, and gender relations.