For Graduate Students

Graduate Program

Richmond, Virginia is a notable place to study the past and its meanings for today. The VCU Department of History draws upon faculty expertise and the wealth of historical resources and repositories in the capital area to deepen our graduate students' engagement with this pursuit.

The department offers two graduate programs. The first is a certificate program in Public History, intended to to prepare students for professional work in this expanding field. “Public history” can be defined as the practice of history outside the classroom, exemplified by the work of archivists, museum curators, historical guides, historic preservationists, editors, publishers, administrators, and digital media specialists. Our department has a longstanding commitment to training in this field and we offer a range of hands-on internship opportunities.

The second is an M.A. program in History. This is a flexible degree, offering a solid grounding in the academic study of history while preparing students for professional work, teaching, or further academic study. Our graduates have gone on to work at archives, libraries, historical sites, museums, government agencies, businesses, publishing, and secondary education, as well as advanced study in doctoral programs. Students in this program have the option to write a thesis, a substantial work that adds to scholarly knowledge.

These two graduate programs are not mutually exclusive - certificate students can apply to roll their coursework toward the M.A. degree, while M. A. students can earn a certificate as part of their course of study if they wish. 

 The Department focuses on American history, with a broad array of scholars investigating early America, the South, African American history, the Civil War, twentieth-century America, and the history of science and health. Graduate courses are also offered in European history and in trans-Atlantic history, which seeks to integrate the histories of Europe, Africa, and the western hemisphere. Additionally, VCU's Science, Technology, and Society program is based in the History Department, and the medical school's Tompkins-McCaw library offers unique research opportunities in that field.

VCU features a diverse student body, recruited nationally and internationally, and the Department of History boasts a History Graduate Student Association, a vibrant group offering students opportunities to network with peers, participate in the organization of academic events such as lectures and symposiums, and collaborate on projects outside of the classroom. Welcome!