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Graduate Programs in History

Instructor speaking in front of class


At the graduate level, the History Department offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in history with an emphasis in American, European, Public, or Cherokee history. The  Master of Arts (MA) in History(American or European) degree program offers you a faculty of active scholars and excellent teachers in the supportive atmosphere of a small program. 

Our graduate students also work with faculty as graduate assistants, maintain their own professional journal, present papers at conferences, and enjoy stimulating intellectual discussions both inside and outside the classroom. 

Virtual Open House

Tuesday, August 6, 2024: 5-6:30 p.m.

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

Admission Standards

Recommended standards for admission to any History Graduate Program at Western Carolina University (MA, MAT, MEd) include:

  1. 300 on the GRE
  2. 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  3. 3 supportive letters of recommendation
  4. Statement of Purpose
  5. Writing Sample

Application Deadlines

  • Fall - Priority: April 15
  • Fall: August 1
  • Spring - Priority: October 15
  • Spring: December 1

We accept applications after these dates, but those submitted beforehand receive priority consideration when it comes to assistantships and other funding opportunities.

Decisions will be made based on a holistic review of the applicant’s file with each of these criteria evaluated in conjunction with one another. For more information, go to the WCU graduate program prospect site, or contact the history graduate coordinator, Elizabeth McRae.

With four tracks within the M.A. program to choose from, our graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs, museum work, and secondary and post-secondary teaching. The four tracks are as follows:

Non-Thesis Option (American or European concentration)

This is a non-thesis degree designed for students who do not intend to continue graduate studies beyond the master’s level. It requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved coursework, including HIST 631 and 6 hours outside the student’s principal concentration.

Thesis Option (American or European concentration)

Requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved course work, including: HIST 631 and 3 hours of thesis credit (HIST 699). Candidates must pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis.

Cherokee Studies Option (American concentration, thesis or non-thesis)

Located near the center of the Cherokee world, WCU offers unique opportunities to study the historical and contemporary experience of the southeast's largest Native American nation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Our Cherokee Studies track combines a US history Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with interdisciplinary coursework in anthropology, literature, linguistics, and other fields. Requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved coursework, including 3 hours of HIST 699 for those writing a thesis; HIST 631; 18-21 hours in American history courses; 9 hours in Cherokee Studies concentration or other courses approved by the graduate advisor.

Public History Option (American concentration)
This is an option designed to prepare students for entry-level positions related to public history. It requires the completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours of approved coursework, including: HIST 631 and 688; 9 hours selected from HIST 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, and 576; and 15 hours of guided electives exclusive of public history courses.

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