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History Master's: Understanding the Past Informs the Future

Examining the diversity of the human experience helps us appreciate cultures, ideas, and traditions that are not our own, and helps us realize that our differences are often our strengths.

A degree in history may seem more conceptual than one in direct practice like engineering or medicine, but its role in society is just as indispensable. Studying history gives us the tools to analyze and explain issues of the past and see patterns that provide crucial information for solving current problems.

West Chester University's Master of Arts in History provides a broad base for teaching excellence, a bridge to Ph.D. studies, and a solid foundation to pursue myriad roles in the private and public sectors. A history master's from WCU will give you highly trained written and oral communication, research, and analytical skills.

The program is available in-person for full-time or part-time study with courses held in the late afternoon and evening to provide maximum flexibility. Because your goals are individual, you can work with our faculty experts to customize the program to fit your specific interests.

Our graduates have gone on to become archivists, filmmakers, digital curators, publishers, directors of programs, and teachers and professors nationwide. If you're interested in solving the problems of today by reflecting on the past, the Master of Arts in History from WCU is the foundation you need.


Tracks in Our Master's Program in History

WCU's Master of Arts in History offers both a thesis and a non-thesis track. Whichever option you choose, you'll have the freedom to choose your own courses, pursue research, and even study abroad or take field placements.  We encourage all our students to publish and offer financial support for students to present at conferences.

Thesis Track

Designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or working in research-intensive jobs, the thesis track allows more time for original research. You will spend less time in coursework and more time researching under the supervision of our expert faculty advisors. You will also have the opportunity to present and defend your thesis in front of a faculty committee.

Non-thesis Track

The non-thesis track of our master's program provides a generalist perspective. It's designed for students seeking more content courses as background for their own teaching, further academic work or personal enrichment.


Benefits of Earning Your History Master's at WCU

Accredited, Customizable Degree

WCU has been offering the M.A. in History for more than 60 years. It has an excellent reputation and is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

One of the top benefits of our program is that it's customizable to meet your interests and career goals. With only two required courses, you're free to pick the classes that interest you most, including two courses in a related field like anthropology, English, philosophy, etc. Other options include independent study, study abroad, and field work.

Accomplished Faculty and Small Classes

The faculty teaching WCU's courses in history is exceptional. Each member brings their own expertise and interests to the classroom from digital history and material culture to the Holocaust and persecution in all its forms. They are frequent publishers and presenters both at home and abroad.

At WCU, we cap our graduate history courses at a maximum of 10 students, meaning you'll receive personalized attention and an individualized program experience.

Affordable Tuition and Graduate Assistantships

Affordability is part of WCU's mission; it's why our tuition is among the lowest in the region and has been frozen since 2018. To help put your graduate degree within reach, WCU also offers multiple graduate assistantships with stipends awarded annually.

Personalized Career Advising

As a graduate student at WCU, you'll have full access to the Twardowski Career Development Center (CDC). The experts at the CDC will help you explore career options, write your résumé, perfect your interviewing skills, and create a job search strategy. The CDC also hosts employment fairs on campus throughout the year.

Historically Rich Location

West Chester University is located in one of the oldest counties in Pennsylvania, founded in 1682. There are many local archives, historical societies, and historical sites close to campus, including Brandywine Battlefield Park, the Underground Railroad Center, and Valley Forge National Historic Park.

WCU is also just two and a half hours from Washington, D.C. where you'll find historical sites like the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Holocaust Museum, just to name a few.


What Can You Do with a Master of Arts in History?

WCU's M.A. in history prepares you for a variety of roles:

  • Museum technician: Catalog, maintain, restore, and prepare museum pieces for display, research, or exhibition.
  • History teacher: Impart the value and benefit of history to future generations.
  • Historian: Gather information to form hypotheses and possible conclusions about past civilizations or events.
  • Archivist: Work alongside historians to collect, store, and retrieve historical artifacts, documents, and data.
  • Museum curator: Manage and oversee historical collections and exhibitions for display.
  • Museum exhibit designer: Create a themed display for artifacts, documents, and multimedia to tell a story.
  • Federal, state, or local historian: Analyze and compile historical data and trends that help government agencies allocate resources.
  • Architectural historian: Advise owners, stewards, and builders about historically accurate materials and preserve historical buildings and structures.

With a focus on written and oral communication, research, and analytical skills, your Master of Arts in History is a benefit for many career tracks including park ranger, research analyst, lawyer, costume designer, fiction writer, and multimedia designer.

Where are our graduates?


What Courses Are in the M.A. in History Program?

WCU's master's program in history has two required courses. The rest of your program is up to you. So whether you're interested in the history of the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, or the Middle East, you can pursue your passion.

M.A. in History

Thesis Option

Code Title Credits
Required Courses
HIS 500Methods & Materials Of Rsrch In History 13
HIS 650Seminar in American History3
HIS 691Thesis I: Research3
HIS 692Thesis II: Writing3
History Electives18
Total Minimum Credits Required 30

Ordinarily to be taken in the first semester, but no later than during the first 12 credit hours

Non-Thesis Option

Code Title Credits
Required Courses
HIS 500Methods & Materials Of Rsrch In History 13
HIS 650Seminar in American History3
History Electives24
Total Minimum Credits Required 30

Ordinarily to be taken in the first semester, but no later than during the first 12 credit hours

"West Chester University's master's program in history enabled me to read widely in my area of interest and allowed me to gain valuable experience 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 Ph.D. application process."

– Nick, Current Ph.D. candidate

"The internships available through WCU, including my internship at the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, provided me with invaluable working experience. I feel very fortunate to have worked closely with public history experts while helping to develop an archive rich in content."

– Suzanne, Current role

Get Started on YourMaster of Arts in History

Earning a history master's helps you understand how things change, why they change, and how the past shapes the present. Ready to embark on a rewarding career as a teacher, historian, or museum curator?

Apply Now



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