MA in History


Program Description

The M.A. in History offers training in preparation for careers in research and teaching, as well as non-academic pursuits. Graduate classes are small and students have direct access to faculty mentors.

Our program offers particular strengths in the following areas:

  • 19th and 20th century US History.
  • Latin American, Caribbean, African, and Atlantic African-Diaspora History.
  • British, French, and Spanish Atlantic World Empires.
  • African-American History. 

Students can also pursue a range of thematic approaches including:

  • Digital Humanities.
  • History of Social Movements and Political Culture.
  • History of Technology.
  • Native American History.
  • European Intellectual History.
  • Women and Gender History.

M.A. Program Requirements

The M.A. is conferred upon students who meet the requirements listed below within six years of entering Lehigh. The MA may be either a terminal degree or a step toward the doctorate. Those wishing to go on for a Ph.D. at Lehigh must apply separately for that program by the beginning of the final MA semester, with the principal requirement being that they must have the agreement of a faculty adviser who will direct their graduate capstone project. All students must maintain a 3.3-grade point average on Lehigh's 4.0 scale. Students must submit their plan for completion of the Master's Degree as soon as possible after they have completed 15 credits toward their degree.

The MA requires the successful completion of 30 hours of course work that must include: 1) the 401 Research Methods seminar (three credits); and 2) one of the following capstone exercises, agreed upon with a faculty mentor or mentors: a) a primary-source based thesis (six credits over two semesters); b) an extended secondary-based research essay (three credits); c) a two-field Masters Comprehensive Examination (three credits); or d) a Composite Graduate Portfolio (three credits; which may include any of the following: digital research elements such as maps or data sets, multi-media presentations, annotated archival sources, syllabi, and lesson plans, etc.). The capstone must be prepared under the direction of a member of the History Department and reviewed by at least one member of the department other than the director and accepted by both.

Graduate Program

The Lehigh History graduate program offers training in preparation for a career in research and teaching as well as non-academic pursuits. The overarching theme of the program is Transnational History.* Courses related to this theme are offered by faculty members across the department, over a wide range of geographical regions and chronological periods. Coursework focuses on developing both the fundamentals of the historiographical analysis and historical research methods. The MA is designed to be a generalist degree that can prepare students for a number of careers or for more advanced graduate work. Former graduates work in a variety of areas including secondary education, public history, library services, business, and government positions. The program provides training for those seeking to teach Global, transnational US, Atlantic World, European, African, Middle Eastern or Latin American histories at the secondary or community college level, as well as for those who will continue on to more advanced graduate work and a career in research and college-level teaching.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is not automatic for students who complete the MA at Lehigh. Prospective Ph.D. students are encouraged to identify specific fields of interest and faculty members with whom they would like to work. At the Ph.D. level, students may consider department strengths in the following areas:                      

  • African and Atlantic African-Diaspora History
  • Latin American and Caribbean History
  • British, French and Spanish Atlantic World Empires
  • Early Modern and Modern European Intellectual History
  • Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Refugee Studies
  • Ottoman Empire and Islamic World History
  • Colonial America and the Early American Republic
  • Native American History
  • Gender History
  • 20th century US History                     
  • African-American History 

Students applying for the Ph.D. program should consult the list of faculty bios to learn more about these research specialties to help determine their compatibility with potential mentors. Not all fields may be accessible in a given year, given faculty leaves and mentoring duties. Applicants should contact faculty members directly if they have questions about the possibility of working on a related research field, or they may contact the Graduate Director, Prof. John Savage, at with any questions about this process.

**Please note that due to a strong current cohort of Ph.D. candidates, research opportunities in the areas of British Colonial America, Early US Republic, and Native American History are not available for the coming academic year.

Admission Requirements

  • Admissions Open: Summer/Fall/Spring
  • Fall Deadline for Application Review: April 15
  • Fall Deadline for full Financial Aid Consideration: January 15
  • Spring Deadline for Application Review: November 1
  • Summer Deadline for Application Review: April 15

Contact Information

John Savage, Graduate Director
Phone Number: 610-758-3363

Admission Requirements

  • 2 Letters of Recommendation Required
  • GRE general test scores Required
  • Writing Sample Required

International Applicants

International Applicants are required to demonstrate English language skills equal to those required of degree-seeking students. All international applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL test and submit scores, or be able to demonstrate advanced reading and writing proficiency in other ways.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

As Lehigh’s largest and most diverse college, we are home to the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences. With 1,894 undergraduate students, 342 graduate students, 270 full-time facult ... Read More

As Lehigh’s largest and most diverse college, we are home to the social sciences, arts, humanities, and natural sciences. With 1,894 undergraduate students, 342 graduate students, 270 full-time faculty and 90 professional staff, we are comparable in size and offer the intimacy of a liberal arts college, yet benefit from the resources of a research university. Our faculty are accomplished scholars, artists, and writers, recognized nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields, who share a commitment to the integration of teaching and scholarship into innovative, dynamic curricula set in an intellectually stimulating environment. Read less