In addition to satisfying all admission requirements set by The Graduate School, the Department of History requires applicants to its program to have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE). The department welcomes applicants from any undergraduate major, although the graduate committee may require students who have majored in other fields to take prerequisite undergraduate courses in history.
For information about the application process, for the online application form and for application instructions, see http://www.applyweb.com/apply/jmug/index.html. There, applicants will upload the materials required for the application.
The Department of History requires all prospective applicants to submit the following:
- GRE scores
- official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended
- a brief statement of purpose, 500 words in length, that identifies the applicant's academic or professional background, intended field of concentration, and long-range career aspirations.
- three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic work and potential for graduate study.
- a formal writing sample of approximately 10 to 20 pages that demonstrates the applicant's analytical abilities and writing skills. Applicants who have been out of school for some time should contact the graduate director for advice on identifying appropriate recommenders and on selecting a suitable writing sample.
- any additional materials that demonstrate the applicant's preparation and potential for graduate study.
Students seeking admission to the Master of Arts with teaching licensure must contact the School of Education.
The Department of History offers the Master of Arts degree with a major in history.
Complete applications must be received by February 1. Incomplete applications will not be considered; applicants are responsible for assuring that all materials have been received. The graduate committee begins its review of all complete applications after February 1. Applications received after February 1 will be reviewed in accordance with openings available in the program. Students normally matriculate in the fall semester.
The graduate program in history at James Madison University offers concentrations in World, United States, or local/regional/public history. It permits students to deepen their understanding, acquire knowledge and develop critical skills necessary for advanced research and writing in history. Through a blend of courses and internships, the program enhances levels of professional competence that demand mastery of the techniques of research, critical thinking, and careful oral and written communication. Graduates of the program are able to demonstrate an ability to understand and perform scholarly research with cross-disciplinary perspectives. We see this as essential since it provides important skills designed to meet the changing needs of our students in society.
To ensure that our mission is kept in focus, we require graduates to demonstrate an advanced knowledge in their specific areas of study.
These often interrelated goals are achieved through coherent, orderly programs of study encompassing investigation and/or supervised practical experience. As part of a comprehensive university supported by public funds, the graduate program in history is committed to serving the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the region. The Department of History's graduate program encourages students to develop strengths in critical and creative thinking, communication and applied skills. A balanced combination of theoretical and practical studies prepares the successful graduate for advancement in the workplace, future educational opportunities, informed participation in today's increasingly more complicated society and leadership in community affairs.
The graduate program in history serves multiple audiences. Since historians today practice their discipline in a variety of careers, we offer a concentration in local/regional/public history. The concentration exposes students to the broad range of skills and issues associated with public history while providing them with a solid advanced background in history. Students also augment their academic training through internships in a range of public history settings including museums, archives, government agencies, libraries, historic preservation organizations, businesses, contract history firms, cultural resource management firms and historic sites.
The Department of History's graduate program actively supports all university and college goals and objectives.
Minimum departmental requirements for the Master of Arts degree with a major in history are as follows:
- Thirty graduate credit hours in history (HIST 653, HIST 671 and HIST 673 required)
- All students in the U.S. concentration must take at least one offering of HIST 600 and one offering of HIST 605. Students in the U.S. concentration must take at least 21 credits at the 600 level or above.
- All students in the U.S. concentration and in the local/regional/public concentration must take, in addition to HIST 653 or its equivalent, three credit hours of course work outside the field of their concentration.
- All students in the world concentration must take at least six credit hours of course work in the region(s) of their thesis and must take six credit hours of course work in regions other than the region of their thesis.
- Completion of the second year of a college course in a modern foreign language with a grade of "C"; or above or successful completion of a reading examination approved by the history department in a modern foreign language
- Completion of a thesis for six credit hours
- Successful completion of a comprehensive examination in one of the three fields of concentration
The program offers an opportunity for concentration in three fields of history:
- World history
- United States history
- Local/regional/public history
All Master of Arts students are required to complete the following courses.
First Year, Fall Semester
HIST 653. Patterns of World History (or its equivalent)
HIST 671. Seminar in Historical Research Methods
First Year, Spring Semester
HIST 673. Graduate Research and Writing Seminar
Second Year, Fall Semester
HIST 700. Thesis
Second Year, Spring Semester
HIST 700. Thesis
This workshop is a study of life in colonial Virginia. Through the use of primary and secondary sources, the students research and aspect of Virginia culture and society. A week of the course is in Williamsburg, Virginia. Graduate students are expected to lead research groups and demonstrate knowledge of secondary literature of the period.
This workshop examines the impact of the Civil War upon Virginia and her citizens. It explores the secession crisis, tactical and technological developments, and the evolution into "hard war."; A four-day battlefield tour will reinforce ideas discussed in the classroom. Students must demonstrate command of the historiography and key primary sources.
An interpretative survey of England's mainland colonies from 1558-1776, with special attention to the evolution of the first British empire, historiography and important primary sources.
Surveys Anglo-American political and constitutional traditions. Emphasizes the evolution of 17th- and 18th-century British constitutionalism, its transferal to the British North American colonies and the development of the first national and state constitutions in the United States. Emphasis on historiography and study from primary sources.
An interpretive study of the political, economic, social and cultural history of the United States from the French and Indian War through the Federalist period. Particular emphasis is placed upon historiography and analysis of primary sources as reflected through class discussion, oral presentations and writing assignments.
An interpretative study of the political, economic, social, intellectual and cultural history of the United States from the ratification of the Constitution through the Mexican-American War. Particular emphasis placed upon historiography and analysis of primary sources as reflected through class discussion, oral presentations and writing assignments.
A study of the background, development, personalities and aftermath of the Civil War. Special attention is given to the coming of the war and different explanations of its causes and to the policies and significance of Reconstruction. Students must demonstrate command of the historiography and key primary sources.
This course undertakes a critical examination of the impact of industrialization, race and gender, consumerism, the New Deal, and two world wars on the lives of American workers and their unions. Students will learn the major historiographical problems in American labor history and develop a mastery of the secondary literature.
An interpretative study of U.S. history from the conclusion of the Civil War until the assassination of William McKinley, with special emphasis on industrialization, urbanization, western and overseas expansion, early reform movements and politics. Students will address historiography and examine primary sources.
An interpretative study of U.S. history from the rise of Theodore Roosevelt through the 1920s, with a focus on the progressive reform movement and the problems and issues generated by the Nation's emergence as a world power and an industrial urban society. Emphasis is placed on command of historiography and analysis of primary source material.
An interpretive study of U.S. history from the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, through the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961. The analysis of historical texts, historiography of major figures and seminal events, and interpretation of major debates and historiographical trends will be emphasized in this seminar.
An interpretive study of U.S. history from the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961 through the present. The analysis of historical texts, historiography of major figures and seminal events, and interpretation of major debates and historiographical tends will be emphasized in this seminar.
This graduate seminar focuses on the historiographical issues in the broader field of the history of technology as well as the theoretical and conceptual frameworks used by historians to examine the interplay between technology and culture. Topically, this course examines the major events, themes, individuals, groups, and issues associated with, and influenced by, the rapid technological changes in the United States from the 1870s to the present.
Seminar in examining and analyzing political and social theory from different cultures though the 18th century with emphasis on historiographical interpretation.
A study of Japanese history from around the mid-19th century to the present. Major topics include the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Meiji Restoration, the rise of militarism, the Pacific War, the occupation of Japan and the new Japan. In depth analysis of the above topics through historiographical approach. Additional assignments.
Advanced examination and analysis of Marxist-Leninist theory and its impact; analytical study of the main Marxist texts and historiography.
An advanced study of the period of Nazi domination in Germany covering the Weimar Republic, the rise of the NSDAP, the Third Reich and World War II. The nature of totalitarianism, the character of Adolf Hitler and the general Weltanschaaung of Germany under the Third Reich are emphasized. Students will consider primary and secondary sources and must demonstrate command of the historiography.
A study of the economic, intellectual, political and religious development of the English people from 1485-1714, with particular focus on the constitutional struggles of the period. The analysis of historical texts, historiography of major figures and events, and interpretation of major debates and historiographical trends will be emphasized.
A study of high medieval civilization as an introduction to the history of modern Europe. Attention is given to the Italian and northern renaissance, the fragmentation of western Christendom, the intellectual impact of Luther and Calvin on western thought, and the structure of Tudor despotism in England. Students must demonstrate command of the historiography.
Detailed analysis of the bibliography, methods, substance and interpretations of family history in Europe and America. Emphasis will be on sources, structure, patterns of change and continuity, and stages of family life to the Industrial Revolution.
Africa in the 20th century, with emphasis on Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Zaire. Special attention is given to the legacy of the slave trade and the effects of colonization on independent Africa.
The seminar covers the period from the Russian Revolution in 1917 to the present. Topics include pre-revolutionary Russia, the revolutions of 1917, civil war, the 1920s Stalinism, World War II, the Cold War, the disintegration, the current situation in the former Soviet states, and the historiographical literature.
Attention is focused on Europe in the middle ages, with a concentration on social and intellectual aspects and on the development of parliamentary institutions. Students must demonstrate command of the historiographical sources.
An advanced study of the lands between Germany and Russia, from the Baltic to the Balkans. The course covers the collapse of the Central European empires, the birth of independent East European states between the wars, the World War II occupation of the region, the communist era, and the post-communist world. Students will consider primary and secondary sources and must demonstrate command of the historiography.
An in-depth study of Chinese history since 1840, with particular emphasis on China's response to the West, the demise of imperial China, abortive experiments in republicanism, the origin and evolution of Chinese Communism under Mao and after Mao's death. The historiography of seminal figures and events will be emphasized.
A study of the major changes in world view brought on by exploration and science in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. Attention is given to the causes of each movement as well as the individuals and the technology involved. Students must demonstrate command of the historiographical sources.
This course examines the old regime, its institutions, the causes of popular revolts, the enlightenment, the beginnings of industrialism and the impact of the French Revolution upon Europe. Analysis of texts, the historiography of major figures and seminal events, and the interpretation of major debates and historiographical trends will be emphasized.
An interpretive study of European history (and the historiography devoted to the period) from the Congress of Vienna to the outbreak of World War I. Particular attention is given to the intellectual climate of the period, with emphasis on liberalism, nationalism, socialism and nihilism.
A survey of the special problems which have beset the Arab Middle East since World War II. Special emphasis will be given to Palestinian nationalism and to the PLO, to the origins of civil conflict in Lebanon, to Iraqi and Syrian Baathism, and to the revival of Islamic fundamentalism.
An interpretive study of European history (and the major interpreters of that history) from World War I to the Cold War, with special emphasis on the revolutions of 1917-1919, the rise of totalitarianism, the origins of the World War II, the Cold War and its aftermath, and the continuing crisis of values.
This course examines World War II in Europe and in Asia. The major military campaigns are discussed, as are collaboration, resistance and the war crimes trials. Analysis of texts, the historiography of major figures and seminal events, and the interpretation of major debates and historiographical trends will be emphasized.
Selected topics are studied in depth. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor. Prerequisite: Permission of department head.
A seminar in the techniques of analyzing manuscript collections in order to create an edition of historical documents. Both the theory and methodology of documentary editing will be emphasized, including collection, selection, transcription, annotation, proofing, illustration, indexing and publication. Software tools and issues will be considered.
Focused readings on material culture studies. Readings explore approaches, theories and methods of various disciplines that utilize material culture as evidence. Emphasis is on persistent themes in material culture studies including regional variation and cultural transfer, identity formation and class issues, consumerism, and ethnicity and acculturation.
An introduction to the philosophy and technique of historic preservation. Course examines the Secretary of the Interior's guidelines for restoration, state and national register forms and procedures, historic architecture, structural analysis, restoration techniques as well as the business aspects of historic preservation projects. Students undertake leadership assignments for architectural field assessments and national register nominations.
A study of the philosophy and practice of museum work. Emphasis on museum administration, conservation, exhibition and education. Provides background for internships and employment in the field. Students undertake a focused research project as well as leadership assignments for class projects.
A study of the varying philosophical and practical perspectives related to archives and manuscripts processing and administration. Through targeted readings in the professional literature, field trips and leadership roles in discussions, students will explore topics such as appraisal, acquisition, preservation, access and contemporary ethical, legal and technological issues. Students will undertake a manuscript processing or administrative project.
A seminar on the theory and methodology of genealogical research, including the critical evaluation of sources, incisive documentation, online resources and the critical analysis of research findings. The course will require extensive utilization of local and state repositories and engagement with local research topics as well as with personal data. Personal genealogical information should be collected and secured at home before the state of the semesters.
A topical approach to the study of early U.S. history. Topics might include Colonial America, the American Revolution, the Market Revolution, Civil War and Reconstruction, American Intellectual History, or any pertinent topic falling within the pre-1877 period. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
Intensive study of topics of current interest and demand. Primarily designed for history and social studies teachers. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
A topical approach to the study of recent U.S. history. Topics might include American science and technology, industrialism, 20th-century diplomacy, black nationalist thought, 20th-century American military history, or any pertinent topic falling within the post-1865 period. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
A topical approach to the study of early European history. Topics might include ancient history, medieval Europe, Tudor-Stuart England, renaissance and reformation, the era of the French revolution, or any pertinent topic falling within the pre-1815 period. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
A topical approach to the study of recent European history. Topics might include Europe in the 19th century, Europe between the World Wars, Europe during the Cold War, Russia or any pertinent topic falling within the post-1789 period. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
Selected historical topics relating to the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding region are studied in depth. Students will undertake primary research and collaborate on final project. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
Provides students with practical experience in using historical skills in a public or private agency. Periodic student reports and seminars are required. This course may be repeated for credit. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: Permission of department head.
A topical approach to the study of history in areas aside from Europe and the United States. Topics might include Latin America, modern Japan, modern China, modern Africa, Islamic world or any pertinent topic falling within parameters of concentration. Topic and professor offering the course will change with each offering. This course may be repeated when content is different. See MyMadison for topic and professor.
This course provides an introduction to the historiography and research methods of world history. Emphasis is on integrating local and regional studies into a larger framework of world/global history utilizing the themes and methodological approaches that have been developed by the major contributors to this subfield of history.
The course examines the growth of the global economy since the 14th century. Concentrating on world systems/dependency theory approaches, it investigates the emergence of capitalism, its relationship to modern nationalism, and the role that the concept of development has played in the contemporary organization of nation-states.
Systematic presentation of the theories and approaches to historical research, including detailed analysis of historiography past and present. Required of all first year graduate students.
An intensive research and writing seminar focused on the process of conceptualizing, researching, writing and refining historical research papers grounded in primary sources. Emphasis will be on evaluation of sources, interpretation of evidence, refinement of presentation and development of professional standards of criticism. Required of all first year graduate students.
An introduction to the varied and interdisciplinary "field"; of public history – such as community/local history, historic preservation, archives, historical archaeology, museum studies, business and policy history, documentary editing and publishing, and documentary films – through readings, class discussions, occasional guest speakers, occasional field trips and an extended public history research project.
Continued preparation in anticipation of the comprehensive examination. Course may be repeated as needed.
Continued study, research and writing in the area of thesis concentration. Course may be repeated as needed.
This course is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis.