MA in History - American History

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MA in History with a Concentration in American History

A master's in American History can make a lawyer more persuasive, a comedian funnier, a sports commentator more historically accurate and an actress more convincing.

As you can see, master's degrees in American History aren’t just for professors any more. They’re for anyone who wants a greater understanding of the politics and policy, literature, society and culture that make us America.

Use your degree to go into research, writing, banking, government or publishing. Your expanded interest and extra years studying American history show employers an impressive level of commitment that gives you an edge in the applicant pool.

You’re also likely to bring home a bigger paycheck. A recent study completed by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce shows that students with history degrees, especially American History, command higher salaries than those with other humanities degrees.

History (MA) Courses

HIS-501: Historiography
This course provides a deep-level exploration into the study of history and historical writing, focusing on the craft and profession of history and its relationship to society. The course contends with the changing nature of historical interpretations and arguments, and the role of historical meta-narratives in shaping one's understanding and experience of history. Students are asked to position and evaluate their own thinking in relation to various historical analyses, defending a preferred approach to a relevant area of interest.
HIS-502: Historical Methods
Historians use a wide variety of methods and approaches to the study, analysis, and evaluation of historical accounts and sources. This course offers students an opportunity to investigate various methodological approaches and the relationships between method, theory, and interpretation in historical research. Students will design an initial research proposal and articulate how a chosen methodology positions them appropriately to address the central issues and problems of their research.
HIS-510: Comparative History and Research
Comparative research is a valuable tool for historians to be able to discover possible historical and social connections across separate historical settings. This course introduces students to best practices, issues, and challenges of comparative history approaches. Central to the course is the development of effective research practices in comparative history: identifying appropriate sources, articulating the context and focus of a research project, and making an informed and supported argument. This course will use the topic of democratic revolutions to model comparative research.
HIS-520: Historical Lenses and Scholarship
What does it mean to focus on the economic issues of an historical event? What considerations of race, gender, class, or other lenses of difference can be made to illuminate the social and cultural experiences of people throughout history? The central focus of this course is to provide students with an exploration into various lenses of historical research and analysis and how these lenses can structure the types of questions an historian asks. The course uses the topic of transatlantic slavery to introduce several lenses that can be applied to future topics of interest to students. Students will integrate best practices for the production and writing of historical scholarship using a chosen lens (or lenses) of analysis.
HIS-501 and HIS-502
HIS-790: Research Seminar for Historians
The capstone experience integrates knowledge and skills developed in previous coursework with a focus on developing scholarship in a student's chosen area of specialization. This course focuses on helping students propose a topic for research, conduct preliminary research on primary and secondary sources, and develop a capstone research proposal. This course prepares students for the formal capstone submission in the subsequent capstone course. Students must have completed 24 credits in their program to enroll in this course.
Must complete 24 credits
HIS-791: Capstone for Research Historians
The capstone experience integrates knowledge and skills developed in previous coursework with a focus on developing scholarship in a student's chosen area of specialization. This course extends students' research proposals into a formal capstone project. Students will workshop and submit their final capstone projects in this course.

American History Concentration

Select 5 of the following:

HIS-600: Early American Encounters
The modern nation of the United States of America was born out of European colonization. The themes that arise from these early encounters between colonists from different European countries, Native Americans, and displaced Africans as they created the "New World" continue to shape America's social, political, economic, and cultural landscape to this day. In this course, students investigate how historian understand the different facets of the creation of this New World, including armed conflict, cultural cooperation, gender roles, environmental issues, and the role of religion in conquest.
HIS-501 and HIS-502
HIS-601: New American Nation
America has held many titles as a result of its political inception, including "the birthplace of democracy" and "the first nation based on an idea." Does the historical evidence substantiate those claims? Was the American Revolution truly "revolutionary"? In this course, the separation of the American colonies from England and the political, cultural, social, and economic realities that resulted are critically examined. Students will challenge and refine previously held or popular notions of the period encompassing Revolutionary-era America through the early nineteenth century.
HIS-501 and HIS-502
HIS-602: Era of the Civil War
The era of the American Civil War is one of the most studied periods in American history. Despite the robust and well-established scholarship on the topic, vibrant debates and competing schools of thought still exist. In this course, students will add to this rich tradition with their own interpretations of the social, economic, cultural, and political roots of the conflict and its relevant impacts on the American narrative. Emphasis is placed on applying different methodologies and lenses to the vast historical body of knowledge surrounding the antebellum period through the Reconstruction era. Students evaluate the implications of methodology and lens on interpretations of the Civil War.
HIS-501 and HIS-502
HIS-603: The Gilded Age and Progressive Era
This course examines the period between Reconstruction and the first World War, paying particular attention to the emergence of industrial capitalism, the rise of the modern American city, the shifting nature of rural life in America and the rise of Populism, immigration, racial tensions, Progressivism, the conquest of the West, and the rise of the United States as a global power militarily, economically, and politically.
Take HIS-501 and HIS-502
HIS-604: America and the World Wars
As America emerged on the stage as a world power, it is not surprising that increased involvement in international affairs followed. America's participation in the world wars of the twentieth century brought about profound changes related to international diplomatic relations, the expanding role of the state in economic and military policy, cultural and ideological shifts domestically and globally, and technological innovations in weaponry, transportation, and manufacturing. While the consequences of warfare on the greater world stage are central to this course, students also will examine the myriad ways in which social, political, and cultural life transformed in the United States during this era. Students contend with how historians have, both implicitly and explicitly, inserted value judgments into their interpretations of the methods of war, political regimes, human rights issues, and geopolitical reorganizations of the era.
Take HIS-501 and HIS-502
HIS-605: Cold War and the American Empire
The Cold War period has been defined by America's ideological conflict and proxy warfare with the Soviet Union. The tremendous cultural, social, economic, and political turmoil that resulted from this era, including such events as the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement, can still be felt throughout the globe today. In this course, students draw connections among contemporary issues and their foundations in the period between the end of World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union. Students explore how the essential nature of this conflict compares and contrasts to traditional conceptions of "war," examine to what extent the Cold War was representative of a paradigm shift in terms of foreign policy and military engagements, and investigate the general relationship between war and society in this period.
Take HIS-501 and HIS-502

What You Will Learn

You will explore major political, cultural, social, and economic shifts in American society and their relevance to people around the globe today. Through sophisticated applications of chosen topics and methodologies, you will exit the program a true American history scholar.

Where You Can Go

  • Post-secondary education
  • Museum work
  • Archiving or publishing 
  • Government institution
  • Banking
  • Economist
  • Historical consulting firm

Admission Requirements

Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options.  Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.

Additional requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree (can be in a discipline outside of the intended MA degree program).
  • Statement of Purpose: 200-500 words explaining why you wish to enter the program.
  • Writing Sample:  Minimum 3-5 pages (i.e. research paper, creative work, critical analysis of a literary piece, or work from previous academic studies).

Students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are eligible for provisional acceptance. Based on your educational background, some Master of Arts provisional students may be required to take SNHU 501 – Introduction to Graduate Studies – which will provide students with the scholarly tools to be successful in their Master of Arts program of study. This policy is effective for new students enrolling for the 15TW4 graduate term starting April 27, 2015.

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