Graduate Programs

As a comprehensive state university, West Chester offers one of the most affordable masters' level graduate programs in the region, with both the Master of Arts (M.A.) in History and the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Social Studies: History Concentration. A full range of late afternoon and evening graduate courses and seminars enables both full-time and part-time students to complete either program at their own pace, within a six-year limit.

With 20 full-time faculty members, the Department has specialists in many areas of European and United States history as well as African, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern studies. The Department believes that close interaction between faculty and students is an integral part of graduate education. As part of that philosophy, the faculty values both excellent teaching and active scholarship.

What our students say:

The variety of classes in the masters program allowed me to expand my content knowledge and skills in the classroom. I helped design a website for the Great Migration with Drs. Hardy and Smucker, which I use in my AP U.S. History class, and I wrote an essay which compares and contrasts propaganda in World War I and World War II, which I use in my Honors U.S. History class. - John Hashagen

The internships available through WCU, including my internship at the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, have provided students with invaluable experience working in the public arena. I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to work closely with experts in the field of Public History while helping to develop an archive rich in content and with ease of accessibility to the public. - Suzanne Irvin

The MA History program at West Chester University enabled me to read widely in my area of interest and allowed me to gain valuable experience tutoring undergraduates as a graduate assistant. My professors supported my decision to pursue an unorthodox master's thesis project and provided guidance at every phase of the PhD application process. All of these things have proven crucial to my intellectual and professional development and have prepared me well for my first year as a doctoral student [at Boston College]. - Nick Quadrini

To learn more about our program, consult our Graduate Student Handbook. For course descriptions, see the Graduate Catalog. Please plan to attend our Graduate Student Open House, February 17, 2016.

M.A. in History

The MA degree in history provides a broad base for teaching excellence, a platform for studies leading to the Ph.D., and skills for professions in both the public and private sectors. Students in the MA program concentrate in United States, European, or World/Comparative history and may take up to six semester hours in a discipline related to their major field of study (with permission of the graduate coordinator). The MA in history may be earned by completing either a thesis or non-thesis program. The non-thesis option is designed for students who desire more content courses as background for their own teaching, further academic work, or personal enrichment. The thesis option is designed for students who wish to conduct original research on the Master's level. MA graduates from the West Chester program have gone on to a variety of Ph.D. programs in the United States and abroad.

Admission Requirements

The Department of History requires a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in history and a 2.75 overall GPA for admission to its graduate program. While it is not an absolute requirement, in general candidates should have at least taken the survey-level sequences in U.S. and World/Western Civilization (candidates may be admitted provisionally without these courses and may be asked to complete the sequences prior to full-degree candidacy). The application package should contain a statement of professional goals, a writing sample of no less than two pages on a historical topic, and three letters of recommendation, preferably academic. In both programs, admission to full-degree candidacy requires a GPA of 3.0. Students interested in graduate studies in history may also take two graduate courses before formal admittance to either graduate program.

Applicants who do not meet the above criteria may be admitted on a provisional basis. Students so admitted may then apply for full-degree candidacy upon completion of 12-18 semester hours of applicable course work with at least a 3.0 GPA. In both programs students must pass written comprehensive examinations at or near completion of their course work.

For application materials, contact the Graduate School (e-mail or telephone 610-436-2943). For further information about the history graduate programs contact Professor Brenda Gaydosh, Coordinator of the Graduate School, Department of History, (e-mail or telephone 610-436-0734).

Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Holocaust and genocide studies offers a master of arts degree for students who complete the necessary 30 hours in the degree program. For the master's degree, field studies and a thesis are options. A graduate certificate is also offered for students who complete an 18-hour program of study.

This program aims to provide its graduates with the background and intellectual skills needed to either pursue careers as teachers or as history professionals for work in museums, archives, libraries, and other institutions.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Graduate history courses at WCU enhance the ability of students to:

  • Construct generalizations and interpretations that demonstrate an advanced knowledge of historical eras, change over time, and key historical concepts in the history of the United States, Western Civilization, and global civilization.
  • Communicate effectively at the graduate level (in both oral and written presentations) their advanced knowledge of history in reasoned arguments supported by historical evidence and an appreciation of multiple causes, effects, and perspectives.
  • Locate, distinguish between, and assess primary and secondary sources, and to analyze and interpret a variety of written, oral, visual, and material evidence at an advanced level (Information Literacy).
  • Connect their advanced knowledge of historical events and topics to a broader context (historical, historiographical, political, global, or with contemporary life and issues).

Graduate Assistantships

The Department offers part-time and (on rare occasions) full-time graduate assistantships. Half-time assistants work ten hours per week, for which they receive six hours tuition remission and a $2,500 stipend. Full-time graduate assistants, in return for twenty hours of assigned duties per week, receive full tuition remission and a stipend of $5,000 for the academic year. Graduate assistants' duties include tutoring undergraduates in general education courses and the required departmental methods courses, and can include working with professors on scholarly projects. Application for assistantships is made through the Graduate School. For consideration for financial support, submit applications for the fall semester by March 15. The Graduate School
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