Graduate Programs in History with Curriculum Overviews

Essential Information

Depending upon the specific aspect of history studied, graduate-level degree programs delve into events that took place through various periods of time and the effect they had on the world.

Advanced degrees in history are available at two levels: Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. To enter into a master's degree program in history, you will need to have a bachelor's degree in history. The same is true for doctoral programs, though a master's degree is preferred. Applications for both master's and doctoral programs may also require GRE scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and, in some cases, a background in a foreign language.

Graduate students in history select a program field, and then take courses tailored to this subject. The selected field also influences the kind of research that graduate students will conduct as part of their degree. Common program fields include American history, world history, modern European history, women's history, and military history.

Master of Arts in History

Individuals enrolled in graduate history programs learn how to use research methodology and theory to uncover bits of information from historical sources. They must search through old books and texts, conduct interviews with historians and analyze archived materials in order to synthesize historical accounts into comprehensive narratives. Common courses include:

  • World history graduate seminar
  • American Revolution
  • U.S. history
  • 20th century events
  • Public history
  • Ancient Roman wars

Doctor of Philosophy in History

Doctoral students are trained to understand historical and global processes, interactions and transformations within societies. Intensive reading of theoretical and historical analytic literature is required, as is the completion of a dissertation. Doctoral students complete coursework in high-level history topics, including:

  • American history
  • Women's studies
  • Medieval history
  • Ancient history
  • Research
  • Historiography

Popular Career Options

Students who have earned a master's degree in history may be able to obtain jobs working in museums, universities, historical societies and beyond. The following are just a few examples of potential job titles for these graduates.

  • Archivist
  • Document editor
  • Oral historian
  • Interpreter of historical manuscripts
  • Curator
  • Media specialist
  • Consultant

Those who earn a doctoral degree in history are well prepared to teach at the university level and maintain archives for historical societies. Additional career options include:

  • Historic preservationist
  • Professor
  • Academic historian
  • Restoration expert
  • Conservator

Individuals with an interest in history can pursue the topic at the master's and doctoral levels, following the completion of a bachelor's degree in history. Graduates from these programs are generally ready to serve in a position as a researcher or an instructor at the university level.

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