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(717) 477-1371
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Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
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Master of Arts in Applied History

Applied History Program

Shippensburg University’s graduate program in applied history is designed for college graduates seeking advanced historical training and educators seeking professional development opportunities.

The MA in Applied History is a flexible program designed to provide educators, public historians, and individuals wishing to pursue advanced graduate work with practical professional training. Our faculty work closely with students to design a program of study to meet their personal and professional needs.

The MA in applied history program provides students with practical academic training and experience in:

  • Professional training in historical research and writing
  • Continuing Education for teachers
  • Advanced study in diverse historical field and subjects
  • Preparation for employment in museums, businesses, historical organizations, and government
  • Specialized classes in Museum Studies, Historic Preservation, Archives, Oral History, and Local History Research
  • Specialized Summer K-12 Educators Institute

You may enter the program as a degree candidate or take individual courses as a non-degree student. Graduate credits can fulfill Act 48 requirements and can be applied toward permanent certification in teaching or toward work on a doctorate or other advanced degree.

Applied History Admission Requirements

To be eligible to pursue the Master of Arts in Applied History, you must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Present an official transcript showing at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA for your undergraduate studies.
  • Complete a 500-word statement of purpose discussing your reason for pursuing graduate studies in applied history. This should include a discussion of prior training and professional goals and how both will influence this program.
  • Prospective students are also invited to provide any additional information, letters of recommendation, or writing samples that will allow the history department to assess their potential for graduate studies.

Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA lower than 2.75 may be accepted following an interview and review of the statement of purpose.
Application Deadline: Applicants are encouraged to have all of their materials submitted by the second Friday in September for spring admission, or by the second Friday in February for summer or fall admission. Qualified individuals who apply after those dates will be accepted to the program if space is available.

Applied History Degree Requirements

This 30-credit degree can be earned in approximately one and one-half to two years of full-time study or several years of part-time study (a maximum of seven years from the start of the program). Master of Arts in Applied History degree candidates must complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate work.

Required Courses (12 credits)

  • HIS 501: Introduction to Applied History (3 credits)
  • HIS 600: Computerized Historical Research Methods (3 credits) or
  • HIS 601: Research in Local and Regional History
  • A 6-credit thesis or 6-credit supervised internship

Restricted Electives (9 credits)

  • History of the Americas (3 credits)
  • Global Connections/Comparisons (3 credits)
  • Applied History Skills (3 credits)

Free Electives (9 credits)

See the Checklist for Applied History Master's Degree for information about electives.

Applied History Degree Options

Dual Master’s Degrees in Applied History and Library Science

Shippensburg University’s Master of Arts in Applied History program and Clarion University’s Master of Science in Library Science program enables students to earn a dual-degree after completing 54 credits. You must apply and be accepted in each program separately to pursue the dual-degree option. The library science program is offered entirely online. This degree prepares students for library and research careers in archives, libraries, and historical societies.

Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a History Concentration

This program is open only to fully certified secondary school social studies teachers. Its purpose is to foster teacher growth through exploration of principles of theory and practice that enhance teaching. This 36-credit program is equally split with 18 credits devoted to education coursework and 18 credits to history coursework. Students are not required to complete an internship or thesis for this degree.

Master of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership with a Concentration in Historical Administration

This 30-credit program is designed for those students pursuing careers in management and administrative positions. Its objective is to enhance students’ understanding of how organizations operate and change over time and the role of leadership in formal and informal settings. Students will have the opportunity to develop historical research skills and familiarity with the methods of applied history. Historical administration students will also complete an administrative internship with a historical institution.

Applied History Internships

Students may design personalized internship experiences that will meet their educational needs and professional interests. Shippensburg University is ideally located for gaining practical public history experience. Within an hour’s drive, students will find internship opportunities at national, state, and local historical sites. Opportunities are available in Harrisburg (35 miles from Shippensburg), as well as Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, less than 90 minutes away.

Recent student internship experiences:

  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
  • The Army Heritage and Education Center
  • The Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History
  • Cumberland County Historical Society
  • Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
  • York Heritage Trust
  • C & O National Historical Park

Applied History Career Options

Recent graduates have secured teaching positions at community colleges, received admission to doctoral programs, obtained positions in both the public and private sector, and started public history careers with local and county historical societies, as well as national sites such as Gettysburg National Military Park, the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Antietam National Military Park, Harpers Ferry National Historic Site, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.