Graduate History Classes and Courses Overview

Graduate students of history may be seeking careers in scholarship, teaching or research. Graduate history programs provide a multitude of choices for study and specialization that accommodate any of these goals and interests.

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Essential Information

Both master's and doctoral degree programs in history are available, and programs at both levels often include a core curriculum while allowing students to choose a specialization for their research and dissertation. Course topics include such diverse themes as American history, women's history, slavery and race, the history of work, Middle East history and popular cultures world-wide. Some schools require proficiency in one or more foreign languages either to enroll in a graduate history program or by the end of the program.

Here are some common concepts found in graduate history classes:

  • Societal changes
  • Famous battles
  • Social movements
  • Economics
  • Justice
  • Civil rights

List of Common Courses

Historical Research Methods Course

Students are often required to take this course early in the graduate program. Lessons introduce theories, philosophies and techniques related to conducting historical research. Students attend lectures and practice their skills locating documents, evaluating findings and preparing written reports.

The American Civil War Course

Students explore the causes of the Civil War, major battles between the North and South and post-war reunification efforts. Major military, political and civilian figures of the period are also introduced. Participants learn about the far-reaching social, political and economic effects of the Civil War.

Modern American Political History Course

This class provides students with a broad overview of major 20th century political movements in the United States. Lectures cover topics like the Progressive Era, the New Deal, McCarthyism and the Great Society. Students also learn about civil rights, social welfare, the women's movement and conservatism as reflected in the political landscape.

The Middle Ages Course

Emphasized are major political, social, cultural and economic changes that took place between the sixth and 15th centuries. Lectures explore major figures like Charlemagne. The role of the Church during this period and the Crusades are also discussed. This course may fulfill a requirement for those pursuing a concentration in European history.

History of Modern Europe Course

This class surveys major historical events, generally from the Napoleonic era on. Topics discussed include national and cultural revolutions, industrialism, World War I and World War II. This course may fulfill a European history or modern history requirement.

Women's History Course

Major theories and philosophies related to women's history are examined. The coursework typically covers individual women of note and various movements related to women and their role in society, politics, economics and the arts.

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