Published Date

January 1, 2014

Resource Type

For Departments, Program of Study

AHA Topics

Academic Departmental Affairs, Graduate Education, Teaching & Learning

This resource was developed as part of the AHA’s Tuning project.

Institution: James Madison University
Degree Name: Master of Arts, History
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
Year: 2014

Purpose of the Degree

The MA program in history at James Madison University offers concentrations in World, United States, or local/regional/public history to permit students to deepen their understanding, acquire knowledge and develop critical skills necessary for advanced research and writing in history. Through a blend of courses and internships, the program enhances levels of professional competence that demand mastery of the techniques of research, critical thinking, and careful oral and written communication. Graduates of the program are able to demonstrate an ability to understand and perform scholarly research with cross-disciplinary perspectives. The program encompasses investigation and/or supervised practical experience. As part of a comprehensive university supported by public funds, the graduate program in history is committed to serving the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the region. The Department of History’s graduate program encourages students to develop strengths in critical and creative thinking, communication and applied skills. A balanced combination of theoretical and practical studies prepares the successful graduate for advancement in the workplace, future educational opportunities, informed participation in today’s increasingly more complicated society and leadership in community affairs.

Characteristics of the Program

The program is characterized by a skilled, dedicated faculty committed to working closely with all graduate students to maximize their potential and improve their research and writing skills. Seminar and internships are small and provide students with intense mentoring experiences consistent with best practice in the discipline. Faculty work closely with agencies employing our graduates to help insure the quality of their preparation.

Career Pathways for the Graduate

The graduate program in history serves multiple audiences. Since historians today practice their discipline in a variety of careers, we offer a concentration in local/regional/public history. The concentration exposes students to the broad range of skills and issues associated with public history while providing them with a solid advanced background in history. Students also augment their academic training through internships in a range of public history settings including museums, archives, government agencies, libraries, historic preservation organizations, businesses, contract history firms, cultural resource management firms and historic sites. The program also prepares graduates to pursue advanced degrees in the discipline or those related to it or to seek careers in business, industry, or public service. Graduates of the program continue to enjoy success in their endeavors.

Educational Style

The program combines small seminars with supervised internships. It requires a thesis and students must demonstrate their knowledge and skill in an oral examination. The program sponsors a digital journal for graduate students and provides training in digital editing.

Program Competencies and Outcomes

The program emphasizes that students be active learners who demonstrate excellent research, critical thinking, oral communication and writing skills, as well as skills in using various technologies. A new assessment program is beginning to measure student competencies and skills.

Michael Galgano

James Madison University