What's New?

Klezmer Music Extravaganza and Svenska Fika (coffee break)! 

Date: Friday, December 5

Location: DHC Fishbowl

Time: 12:30-2:30 pm

All History/Philosophy Students and Faculty are invited

The SU History Club meets Monday night in Dauphin Humanities 205 at 7:30 pm. For information, contact History Club President Devon Newcomer dn9056@ship.edu


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Related Links

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History/Philosophy Department

122-124 Dauphin Humanities Center
Shippensburg University
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 17257

Dr. Steven Burg, Chair 

Janice Reed, Secretary

Tel: 717-477-1621
Fax: 717-477-4062

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Master of Arts in Applied History

A Program Tailored to Meet the Personal and Professional Needs of our Graduate Students

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.

For those seeking careers in the field of public history, the program offers coursework and professional internships to prepare students for employment in museums and historical institutions. 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. (All courses can be used to help satisfy Pennsylvania’s Act 48 requirements.) The curriculum provides a rigorous historical training that can also prepare students for further graduate work. Recent graduates have secured teaching positions at community colleges, 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.

Testimonials from our recent graduates:

  “As a Social Studies teacher, my experience in the Applied History Master’s Degree Program at Shippensburg University was invaluable.  The program helped me to improve my research, writing, and historical inquiry skills.  These skills allow me to be a more complete resource for my students, and have opened doors to advancement in my teaching career.”
--Joshua DeSantis, MA ‘09, Social Studies Teacher,  Susquenita Middle School

"For me, the most valuable aspect of Shippensburg University’s Applied History program was the option to complete an internship.  The ability to get real world experience in diverse areas (mine ranged from the Cumberland County Historical Society to a summer at The Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C.) was beneficial both to solidify my career goals and to prepare me for the job market."
 --Kristen Otto, MA ’08, Development Services Coordinator, George Washington’s Mount Vernon

"I returned from Iraq and retired from the Army in 2006.  Enrolling in Shippensburg’s Applied History Graduate Program was one of the smartest things I ever did.  The coursework was challenging and rewarding and the professors and staff went out of their way to ensure mine and my classmates’ success.  It prepared me for a better career and a better life!"
 --John C. Nicholas, MA '07, Park Ranger, Gettysburg National Military Park


The Program

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.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible to pursue a master of arts degree in applied history, you must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. 
  • Present an official transcript showing at least a 2.75 cumulative grade point average for your undergraduate studies.
  • All applicants are encouraged to complete a 500-word Statement of Purpose discussing their reasons for pursuing graduate studies in Applied History. In the essay, prospective students should address how their education, training, and experiences have prepared them to pursue graduate studies in History. Also, candidates should discuss how a Master’s degree in Applied History fits into their personal or professional goals.
  • 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 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. 

Applicants who have 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).


Degree Requirements

The degree can be earned in approximately one and one-half years 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 a Master of Arts degree in Applied History, 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 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)
 These may be graduate History courses, or with advisement and permission of the Director of Graduate Studies and the History Department chair, students may take up to six credits of graduate coursework in other Shippensburg University departments consistent with students' personal and professional goals.


Students can design a personalized internship experience that will meet their educational needs and professional interests. The 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 also 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)

  Students may enroll simultaneously in Shippensburg University's Applied History's Masters program and Clarion University's Masters of Science in Library Science program.  Students who are enrolled in both programs may double-count six credits, enabling both degrees to be earned through a total of 54 credit hours of coursework.  Students must apply to each program separately and be accepted into both programs 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 Center in Harrisburg.  This degree prepares students for library and research careers in archives, libraries, and historical societies. 

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with a History Concentration (36 credits)

This graduate program leads to a Masters 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.

Masters 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. 

Financial Aid

Shippensburg University provides financial assistance to graduate students through graduate assistantships, graduate residence director appointments, and student loans.
Graduate assistant appointments can provide you with the opportunity to participate in professionally related activities with faculty and administrators. These assignments can extend your learning experience beyond the classroom and enhance your professional development.
Graduate assistant appointments are awarded on a competitive basis without regard to financial need. They provide a tuition waiver as well as compensation for work performed. During each semester, graduate assistants are required to work 250 hours (approximately 16 hours per week). During the summer, they are required to work 150 hours.
To be eligible to receive a graduate assistant appointment, you must be admitted into a graduate degree program. Graduate assistants must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and must not have earned more than two grades of “C” or less in any course taken while a graduate student.
Assistantship application forms are available online at

For More Information Contact:

Dr. John Bloom, Director of the Graduate Program in Applied History
Department of History and Philosophy
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299