MA in History

6.1 Background

Expanding education in both quality and quantity is among the goals of the Ethiopian educational policy. This can be exemplified in opening of new universities and graduate programmes. Accordingly, universities are developing their capacity in both training and researching in parallel with the increasing number of students enrolled each year. In this regard Bahir Dar University is a typical example. 


Bahir Dar University is found in Bahir Dar Town, the capital of the Amhara National Regional State. It was founded in May, 2000.The establishment of Bahir Dar University owes a lot to two former higher institutions: Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute and Bahir Dar Teachers College.  In 2008, with the expansion of both undergraduate and graduate programmes, former Faculty of Education has now splinted into four new faculties. Faculty of Social Sciences is one of the newly opened faculties.


Department of History is within the Faculty of Social Sciences. The department came into existence in 1992 as one of the academic units of the then Bahir Dar Teachers College. Between 1992 and 2001, it had been offering courses for Diploma students. Following the inauguration of the Bahir Dar University in May, 2000, all diploma regular programmes were upgraded to a degree level. Since then, the Department has been training degree students majoring in history and minoring either in geography or English.


 Before the introduction of the practicum courses, the Department had a tradition of arranging field trips in order to give students a chance to have first hand information about places of historical interest and to make the teaching-learning of history more meaningful, enjoyable and lively. The Department needs to revive that tradition so as to integrate theory with practice.




Universities are now under constant pressure to open new training programmes and upgrade existing ones in order to accommodate the ever increasing number of students joining higher education institutions. Like other institutions, the Bahir Dar University, so as to accomplish the missions and visions,  is not only expanding its degree prorammmes by opening new fields of study, but also launching postgraduate programmes in the natural and social sciences. There is now a growing demand from social science graduates for the opening of a graduate programme in history.

Geographically, Ethiopia is point of departure in the Horn and Bahir Dar is a town located at the southern shore of Lake Tana, the source of Nile and the largest lake in the country. This geographical centrality of the country and the geopolitical importance of the Nile and Lake Tana, has made the Department of History to design graduate courses with a strong emphasis on the Nile Valley and the Horn. 

Duration of study

Graduate students are expected to complete their studies by the end of their second year. However, under special circumstances, students may be allowed to extend their study to a third year. In each semester, students are supposed to take a maximum of three courses or 12 credit hours. The final year will be devoted to a great extent to the preparation and production of the M.A thesis.

Compulsory Courses 


Course Name

Course code

credit hours

Peoples and Cultures in the Abbay Basin and the Western Borderlands

Hist. 511


Historiography and Advanced Historical Methodology 

Hist. 521


Relations Between the Nile Basin Countries Since the 19th Century 

Hist 512


Theories and Methods of Historical Research   

Hist. 522


The Dynamics of Conflicts and Intervention in Northeast Africa  

Hist. 532


Environmental History of  the Horn and the Nile River Basin

Hist. 611


Hydro Politics of the Nile 

Hist. 621


M.A Thesis

Hist. 612


 Degree Nomenclature

The degree to be awarded to the graduates will be:

Degree of  Master of Arts (in History)

 List of courses required

Applicants to the graduate programme are required to have B.A / B. Ed degree in




Geography and Environmental Studies (Minor History), and


Political Science and International Relation