Graduate Programs

As a comprehensive state university, West Chester offers the most affordable graduate programs with a Master of Arts (M.A.) in History and a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. A full range of late afternoon and evening graduate courses and enables both full-time and part-time students to complete the program at their own pace, within a six-year limit. With 15 full-time faculty members, the Department has specialists in many areas of European and United States history as well as African, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern studies. The Department believes that close interaction between faculty and students is an integral part of graduate education. As part of that philosophy, the faculty values both excellent teaching and active scholarship.

M.A. in History

The MA degree in history provides a broad base for teaching excellence, a platform for studies leading to the Ph.D., and skills for professions in public history, government, law, business and many more public and private sectors. Students in the MA program have the freedom to choose most of their courses. There are only 2 required courses and among the other 8 courses required, students may choose graduate History courses, or with the graduate coordinator’s permission, up to 2 related field courses, internships, independent studies, study abroad courses, or up to 2 transfer courses. Students may earn their MA in history by completing either a thesis or non-thesis option. The non-thesis option offers students more content courses as background for their own teaching, further academic work, or personal enrichment. The thesis option offers students the opportunity to conduct original research on the Master's level. MA graduates from the West Chester program have gone on to a variety of Ph.D. programs in the United States and abroad. For course descriptions, see the Graduate Catalog

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Graduate history courses at WCU enhance the ability of students to:

1.    Refine and deepen content knowledge of historical eras, change over time, and key historical concepts.  

2.    Understand, analyze, and synthesize major historiographic themes and debates.

3.    Refine and deepen understanding and application of current research methodologies in history, including theory, historiography, interdisciplinary approaches, and analyses of primary and secondary sources. 

4.    Connect historical and historiographic knowledge to broader contexts and audiences. 

5.    Communicate knowledge of history at a professional level in reasoned arguments supported by historical evidence and an appreciation of multiple causes, effects, and perspectives.   

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of History offers four 3-credit graduate assistantships each academic year (3 in History and 1 in Holocaust and Genocide Studies). Graduate Assistants (GAs) work five hours per week, for which they receive three hours tuition remission and a $625 stipend. Graduate assistants' duties vary based on their skills (language, technology…) and interests. These duties may include tutoring undergraduates in general education courses or working with professors on scholarly projects. Through e-mail, the graduate coordinators request applications for Graduate Assistantships each April for the following academic year.  

What Our Students Say

The variety of classes in the masters program allowed me to expand my content knowledge and skills in the classroom. I helped design a website for the Great Migration with Drs. Hardy and Smucker, which I use in my AP U.S. History class, and I wrote an essay which compares and contrasts propaganda in World War I and World War II, which I use in my Honors U.S. History class. – John Hashagen

The internships available through WCU, including my internship at the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, have provided students with invaluable experience working in the public arena. I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to work closely with experts in the field of Public History while helping to develop an archive rich in content and with ease of accessibility to the public. – Suzanne Irvin

WCU helped me find my passion in public history through their internship program.  I interned as a research assistant at the William Brinton 1704 House and as a historic building interpreter at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum. These experiences opened my eyes to the many opportunities outside of academia that one can do with a History degree.  At Landis Valley, I volunteer with the historical interpretation department still, and have found a love in the collections department.  I took these experiences and moved onto pursuing a Master’s in Library and Information Science.  – Thomas Stocker   

The MA History program at West Chester University enabled me to read widely in my area of interest and allowed me to gain valuable experience tutoring undergraduates as a graduate assistant. My professors supported my decision to pursue an unorthodox master's thesis project and provided guidance at every phase of the PhD application process. All of these things have proven crucial to my intellectual and professional development and have prepared me well for my first year as a doctoral student [at Boston College]. – Nick Quadrini

Admission Requirements

The Department of History requires a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in history and a 2.75 overall GPA for admission to its graduate program. Students whose undergraduate degree is not in History should have at least taken survey-level sequences in U.S. and World/Western Civilization. The application package should contain 1) a statement of professional goals, 2) a writing sample (with footnotes/endnotes) of no less than eight pages on a historical topic, 3) two letters of recommendation, preferably academic, 4) a current curriculum vitae (or resume) and 5) transcripts from previous academic institutions. 

The department is willing to admit applicants who do not meet the above criteria on a provisional basis. Students so admitted may then apply for full-degree candidacy upon completion of 12-18 semester hours of applicable course work with at least a 3.0 GPA. 

For application materials, contact the The Graduate School. For further information about the history graduate programs contact Professor Brenda Gaydosh, Coordinator of the Graduate School, Department of History, (e-mail or telephone 610-436-0734). 


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