Applied History - Master of Arts
|| “Ship’s Applied History program blends a traditional academic history graduate program with a public history program. This diverse training allows for more options in the job market.”
Tailored to Meet Your Needs and Interests
Shippensburg University’s graduate program in applied history is designed for college graduates seeking advanced historical training and educators seeking professional development opportunities. Students may also pursue a dual master’s degree in applied history and library science (M.A./M.S.L.S.) offered in coordination with Clarion University.
The graduate program 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 one-on-one with students to design a program of study to meet their personal and professional needs.
For those seeking careers in the field of public history, the program offers coursework in archives, museum studies, oral history, local history, and historic preservation, as well as professional internships to prepare students for employment in museums, historical institutions, and at historic sites. Educators will find a diverse array of courses in United States history, world history, and historical methods that will deepen their historical knowledge and provide new resources for classroom use. The curriculum provides a rigorous historical training, including the option to write a master’s thesis, that can also prepare students for further graduate work.
The M.A. program in applied history provides students with practical academic training and experience in the following areas:
- Professional development for teachers
- Advanced study in diverse historical fields and subjects
- Preparation for employment in museums, businesses, historical organizations, and government
- Advanced training in historical research and writing
- Specialized classes in Museum Studies, Historic Preservation, Archives, Oral History, and Local History Research
- Opportunities for hands-on experience and fieldwork through internships and service-learning projects
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.
The 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). To be awarded the Master of Arts in Applied History degree, you must complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate work, distributed as follows:
Required Courses (12 credits):
- HIS 600: Computerized Historical Research Methods (3 credits) or HIS 601: Research in Local and Regional History
- HIS 501: Introduction to Applied History (3 credits)
- A 6-credit thesis or 6-credit supervised internship
Restricted/Free Electives (9 credits) are chosen within the following fields:
- History of the Americas (3 credits)
- Global Connections/Comparisons (3 credits)
- Applied History Skills (3 credits)
Free Electives (9 credits)
You can design a personalized internship experience that will meet your 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.
Some of our students’ recent internship experiences include:
- 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
Dual Master’s Degrees in Applied History and Library Science
(M.A./M.S.L.S — 54 Credits)
You may enroll simultaneously in Shippensburg University’s Master of Arts in Applied History program and Clarion University’s Master of Science in Library Science program. If enrolled in both programs, you may double-count 6 credits, enabling both degrees to be earned through a total of 54 credit hours of coursework. You must apply and be accepted in each program separately to pursue the dual-degree option. The library science program is offered through a combination of distance education courses and classes offered at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg. This degree prepares students for library and research careers in archives, libraries, and historical societies.
Master’s Degree in Applied History Completed Simultaneously with Secondary Education Certification in Social Studies
(Total credits depends on evaluation of student transcripts)
The secondary education certification program prepares students to teach in the secondary schools of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in history or a related field may seek their applied history master’s degree and their certification in secondary education at the same time. Because these constitute two separate programs, applicants must specify their interest in both programs when they apply to the School of Graduate Studies, and their application must be accepted by both the Department of History and the College of Education and Human Services (it is possible that students may be accepted for the applied history master’s degree or the secondary education certification but not both programs). Applicants seeking to pursue the master’s degree in applied history and secondary education certification in social studies simultaneously should have at least a 3.0 GPA and are advised to have successfully completed the Praxis I exam.
Other Options for Graduate Studies In History:
Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a History Concentration (36 credits)
This graduate program leads to a master of education degree with emphasis on curriculum & instruction. 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 degree program requires a completion of 36 graduate semester hour credits. Eighteen credit hours will be devoted to graduate coursework in education and eighteen credit hours to graduate coursework in history. 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 (30 credits)
The Organizational Development and Leadership 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. In addition, 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.
To be eligible to pursue a master of arts degree 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 grade point average 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 this program will be influenced by both.
- 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.
Individuals possessing less than a 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average may be accepted following an interview and the submission of a 500-word statement of purpose (described above).
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.
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.
Steven B. Burg, Ph.D., Chair, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999. Specialty areas: Public history, modern U.S., public policy
Kwabena Akurang-Parry, Ph.D., York University, 1998. Specialty areas: Africa, comparative slavery, labor and gender in colonial Ghana, and cultural studies
John D. Bloom, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1991. Specialty areas: U.S. cultural history, oral history, Pennsylvania history, public history
Catherine B. Clay, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1989. Specialty areas: Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, comparative women
Betty A. Dessants, Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 1995. Specialty areas: U.S. foreign relations, 20th-century U.S., teaching methods
Allen Dieterich-Ward, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2006. Specialty areas: U.S. environmental, public history
David F. Godshalk, Ph.D., Yale University, 1992. Specialty areas: African-American history, U.S. social history, American South
Kim M. Klein, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1998. Specialty areas: Colonial and revolutionary America, Canada
Chandrika Paul, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 1997. Specialty areas: South Asia, Southeast Asia, comparative women, British Empire
Gretchen K. Pierce, Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2008. Specialty areas: Latin America, Mexico, comparative revolutions, temperance, and gender
Susan Rimby, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1992. Specialty areas: Teaching methods, women, U.S. labor
John W. Quist, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1992. Specialty areas: 19th-century America, Civil War, reconstruction
Christine K. Senecal, Ph.D., Boston College, 1999. Specialty areas: Early medieval Europe, ancient Rome, Byzantium
Robert Shaffer, Ph.D., Rutgers University. Specialty areas: U.S. foreign relations, 20th-century America
Jonathan K. Skaff, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1998. Specialty areas: China, Japan, Inner Asia
Mark E. Spicka, Ph.D., Ohio State University. Specialty areas: Germany, Modern Europe
Allan A. Tulchin, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2000. Specialty areas: Early Modern France, religion
Brian J. Ulrich, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 2008. Specialty areas: Middle East and Islam
Our historians are dedicated scholars and enthusiastic teachers eager to pass on their passion for the study of history. As you consider your options for the future, do not hesitate to contact us with questions about our M.A. program in applied history.