The Department of History offers MA and PhD programs that prepare students for careers in teaching, in historical research, and in archives, historical agencies, museums, libraries and government. The Department offers a wide array of geographically, chronologically and thematically defined courses.

At the master’s level, the Department offers four options:

  1. A general degree in History;
  2. A specialization in Public History for those interested in areas such as museum work, archival administration and historic preservation;
  3. A coordinated Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Science degree program;
  4. A specialization in Urban Historical Studies for students who intend to pursue a PhD in Urban Studies or in Urban History.

At the doctoral level, the Department offers the PhD in History.

The Department also participates in the interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral programs in Urban Studies. For more information, see Urban Studies.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission

To be considered for admission, an applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements:

  1. An undergraduate minor or 18 credits in history or equivalent preparation.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s scholastic achievement and potential.
  3. A sample of the applicant’s written work that demonstrates his or her ability to conduct historical research and/or the ability to analyze critically the work of others.

Please visit the History department’s website for information on the History Department Application.

Applicants may be admitted with course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses. The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted toward the degree.

Advising

The Director of Graduate Studies provides initial advising for students in selecting courses and assists in selecting a Major Professor for long-term advising; the Director may assign a provisional graduate advisor before students select a Major Professor. Students are required to consult periodically with, and have their schedules approved by, the Director of Graduate Studies, the provisional advisor, or the Major Professor. The Major Professor normally serves as the chair of the student’s academic review and supervises either the writing of the student’s thesis or the student’s reading for the comprehensive exam.

Credits and Courses

Minimum degree requirement is 36 graduate credits, 12 of which must be taken in General History courses, 12 in Public History courses, and the remaining 12 in the chosen area of specialization. For students completing either the Museum Studies track or the Nonprofit Administration track, an additional 3 credits in the area of specialization is required for a total of 39 credits.

Before matriculation, students should select a specialization:

  • Museum Studies
  • Nonprofit Administration
  • Historic Preservation
  • Archives
  • Cross-Disciplinary Studies with Thesis

Museum Studies Track

Space is limited in this specialization, and students interested to enroll in this track must first be admitted to the History Department as an MA student with a concentration in Public History. Then prospective students must apply separately for admission to the Museum Studies Certificate Program (MSCP).

General History
Select 6 credits in colloquia 16
Select 6 credits in seminars 16
Public History
Students are advised to complete these two courses in the first year:
HIST 700Introduction to Public History3
HIST 715Research Methods in Local History3
Students also complete the following, generally taken at any point after the second semester:
HIST 701Internship in Public History 26
Specialization
ANTHRO 620GMuseum Fundamentals3
ANTHRO 720History and Theory of Museums2
ANTHRO 721Administration and Organization of Museums3
ANTHRO 723Museum Collections Management and Curation3
ANTHRO 722Visitor Experience Design in Museums3
ANTHRO 725Professionalism Capstone in Museum Studies1
Total Credits39

Nonprofit Administration Track

General History
Select 6 credits in colloquia 16
Select 6 credits in seminars 16
Public History
Students are advised to complete these two courses in the first year:
HIST 700Introduction to Public History3
HIST 715Research Methods in Local History3
Students also complete the following, generally taken at any point after the second semester:
HIST 701Internship in Public History 26
Specialization
The following are required courses for this track:
BUSMGMT 721Fundraising and Development for Nonprofit Organizations3
BUSMGMT 724Accounting for Nonprofit Organizations3
NONPROF 725Governance of Nonprofit Organizations3
Students also select two of the following courses:6
Professionals and Volunteers in Nonprofit Organizations 3
Executive Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations
Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations 3
Nonprofit Advocacy and Public Policy
Introduction to Nonprofit Revenue Streams and Portfolios 3
Total Credits39

Historic Preservation Track

General History
Select 6 credits in colloquia 16
Select 6 credits in seminars 16
Public History
Students are advised to complete these two courses in the first year:
HIST 700Introduction to Public History3
HIST 715Research Methods in Local History3
Students also complete the following, generally taken at any point after the second semester:
HIST 701Internship in Public History 26
Specialization
These two courses must be taken within the first two years:
ARCH 560GIntroduction to Historic Preservation (offered every other year)3
ARCH 760History of Building Technology (offered every other year)3
Students select two of the following electives:6
Seminar in Building Types and Settings
American Vernacular Architecture
Preservation Technology Laboratory
Emerging Digital Technology:
Special Topics: ("Practicum in Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures" and other approved subtitles)
Trends in Contemporary Architecture
American Architecture
Frank Lloyd Wright
Colloquium in American Art:
Colloquium in Modern Art/Architecture:
Total Credits36

Archives Track

General History
Select 6 credits in colloquia 16
Select 6 credits in seminars 16
Public History
Students are advised to complete these two courses in the first year:
HIST 700Introduction to Public History3
HIST 715Research Methods in Local History3
Students also complete the following, generally taken at any point after the second semester:
HIST 701Internship in Public History 26
Specialization
This course must be completed during the first semester of the first year:
INFOST 650GAn Introduction to Modern Archives Administration3
Then select three of the following:9
Digital Libraries
Arrangement and Description in Archives 3
Archival Outreach: Programs and Services
Preserving Information Media 3
Topics in Library and Information Science: (with appropriate subtitle)
Advanced Appraisal 3
Advanced Topics in Library and Information Science: (with appropriate subtitle)
Total Credits36

Cross-Disciplinary Studies with Thesis Track

Students in the Cross-Disciplinary Studies track complete a thesis in public history, and they are required to take 6 thesis credits and 3 credits of public-history internship. Instead of the 12-15 credits in specialized courses, students in the thesis track must also take 9 credits in cross-disciplinary courses in the humanities and/or social sciences. Selected in consultation with the Public History Director and the student's major professor, cross-disciplinary courses may focus on culture and politics in public history, or they may include coursework in theory or methodology relevant to public history. 

General History
Select 6 credits in colloquia 16
Select 6 credits in seminars 16
Public History
Students are advised to complete these two courses in the first year:
HIST 700Introduction to Public History3
HIST 715Research Methods in Local History3
Students also complete the following, generally taken at any point after the second semester:
HIST 701Internship in Public History 23
Thesis credits may be completed after the approval of the thesis prospectus (see below):
HIST 985Master's Thesis Research6
Cross-Disciplinary Requirement
Select 9 credits in the humanities and/or social sciences that focus on culture and politics in public history (see below)9
Total Credits36
Thesis Prospectus

Within the first semester after completing 9 credits (including two of the following courses: HIST 700, HIST 715, a colloquium, and/or a seminar), public history students who choose to write a thesis are subject to an academic review. The review is a one- to two-hour meeting involving the student, the student’s major professor, and two other members of the History Graduate Faculty who will serve as secondary readers of the student’s thesis. With the assistance of his or her major professor, the student must prepare a thesis prospectus in advance of the review. The review involves an evaluation of the student’s academic progress in master’s coursework, two unrevised course papers, and the thesis prospectus.

Recommendations for Cross-Disciplinary Coursework

The following are recommended courses to fulfill the cross-disciplinary requirement (others may be chosen with the approval of the Public History Director):

Elective courses to fulfill cross-disciplinary track requirements
ANTHRO 340Cultures of Online Games and Virtual Worlds3
ANTHRO 380Anthropological Applications of GIS3
ANTHRO 744Theories of Social Action: Theater, Ritual, Game3
ARCH 382GIntroduction to Building Information Modeling (BIM)3
ARCH 583GEmerging Digital Technology:3
ARCH 782Visualization 13
ARCH 783Visualization 23
ART 312GIntermediate Digital Studio3
ART 313GProgramming for Artists I3
ART 316GPhoto Screenprinting3
ART 317G3D Imaging I3
ART 318Creative Electronics3
ART 327Digital Media Workshop:3
ART 412GAdvanced Digital Studio3
ART 418GAdvanced Electronics and Sculpture:3
ART 426GMotion Graphics3
ART 433GDigital Imaging for Fabric3
ART 452GSpecial Topics in Photography:3
ART 456GAdvanced Digital Photography3
ART 526GResearch in Universal Design and Fabrication3
ARTHIST 472GHistory and Theory of New Media Art3
COMMUN 813Seminar in Mediated Communication3
COMMUN 873The Digital Mirror3
COMMUN 893Rhetoric of/and the Internet3
DAC 661GDigital Engagement Seminar3
ENGLISH 439Information Design3
ENGLISH 709Rhetoric, Writing, and Information Technology3
ENGLISH 711Topics in Public and Professional Writing:3
ENGLISH 713Research Methods in Rhetorics, Literacies, and Community Engagement3
ENGLISH 742Media Culture3
ENGLISH 887Understanding Participatory Media3
FILM 420GIntermediate Media Arts Module:3
FILM 763Experimental Documentary3
FILM 764Observational Documentary3
FILM 782Visual Effects3
HIST 450GGrowth of Metropolitan Milwaukee3
HIST 715Research Methods in Local History3
HIST 717History and the New Media3
INFOST 661GInformation Ethics3
INFOST 670GInstructional Technologies3
INFOST 682GDigital Libraries3
INFOST 685GElectronic Publishing and Web Design3
URB STD 921Seminar: Research Methods in Urban Studies3
URBPLAN 791Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning3
URBPLAN 792Using Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planning3
WGS 500GAdvanced Social Science Seminar in Women's and Gender Studies:3

Additional Requirements

Internship

All internships must be approved by the Public History Director and are to be supervised and evaluated by the Public History Director and the host institution. All students must write a substantial paper as a part of their internship experience.

Thesis Option for Students in Non-Thesis Tracks

A thesis is not required for students in the Museum Studies, Nonprofit Administration, Historical Preservation, or Archives tracks, but with the approval of the Public History Coordinator these students may write a thesis in public history, which will add 6 credits to the 36-credit Public History specialization. Public History students who write a thesis are subject to the Academic Review and Thesis Prospectus requirements outlined for the General History Option A.

Comprehensive Examination

Not required.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment.

Museum Studies Track

Space is limited in this specialization, and students interested to enroll in this track must first be admitted to the History Department as an MA student with a concentration in Public History. Then prospective students must apply separately for admission to the Museum Studies Certificate Program (MSCP).

Cross-Disciplinary Studies with Thesis Track

Prospective students interested to pursue this track must contact the Public History Director prior to applying for admission to the MA program in History.