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  #1  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:01 AM
honeychile honeychile is offline
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Masters in Early American History

I've never posted in this forum (to my sleepy knowledge), but I have been asked by a very intelligent woman which universities have the best American History Master's Programs.

I'm going to advise her to check out this forum for loans and grants, but alas, the school where she went didn't have Greek Life. I would have killed to have her as a sister! She has some tremendous ideas of how to make it more exciting for students.

So, tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly: where should she be applying for an American History Master's Program, especially Colonial America. Don't spare any details (costs, living arrangements, the really bad programs, etc)!

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2012, 08:07 AM
als463 als463 is offline
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Penn State and Syracuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeychile View Post
I've never posted in this forum (to my sleepy knowledge), but I have been asked by a very intelligent woman which universities have the best American History Master's Programs.

I'm going to advise her to check out this forum for loans and grants, but alas, the school where she went didn't have Greek Life. I would have killed to have her as a sister! She has some tremendous ideas of how to make it more exciting for students.

So, tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly: where should she be applying for an American History Master's Program, especially Colonial America. Don't spare any details (costs, living arrangements, the really bad programs, etc)!

Thanks in advance!
Of course I may be a little bias (I have a degree from Penn State in History--undergrad, though) but, Penn State offers some great programs. If your friend chose Penn State-University Park (also known as "main campus") then your friend could major in History and choose a specialization. That is in the College of Liberal Arts. If your friend wanted a smaller feel for a school, Penn State Harrisburg offers a program through the School of Humanities called "American Studies" and it comes in both Master's and Doctoral programs.

Also, as a Syracuse University graduate--I have to mention that your friend could check out Syracuse University for a degree in History through "Maxwell School" (one of the prestigious schools within the college at Syracuse University). You can check out Syracuse University on Wikipedia (I know not the most reliable source) and it will let you re-direct to Maxwell. You'll see the school touts many notable people in politics.

Good luck to your friend!
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  #3  
Old 06-27-2012, 09:49 AM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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The University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina-CH,Yale, Princeton, Georgetown, Emory, William and Mary, Vanderbilt, Northwestern to name but a few.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:52 AM
ColdInCanada11 ColdInCanada11 is offline
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Hijack: Generally in history (even at the MA level), you begin your search by locating scholars in the field that you would like to work with and then limiting your search by other conditions afterwards. I would recommend that she start reading/looking through journals in her field, see who's actively publishing, and then go from there. I've seen it several times that a history department has 4-5 people in "Given subject area" but most, sometimes even all are on leave for 1-2 years. Once she has people's names, she can contact them to make sure they will be there that year. That way she doesn't waste time looking at school's who have great funding/living situation but no actual prof to study with.

Best of luck to her, I hope she finds exactly what she's looking for!!
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:41 AM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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I'm really curious as to what one expects to do with a masters in history. It kinda seems like the type of thing where she'd need to go all the way to a PhD.
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2012, 01:54 PM
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NutBrnHair NutBrnHair is offline
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IMHO

If I was going to get an M.A. in Colonial American History, I would pursue:


UVA, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, College of William & Mary, UPenn
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:12 PM
honeychile honeychile is offline
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I'll be honest, I had to ask because I'm afraid I stressed William & Mary to her too much. I'm absolutely THRILLED to see other options! I'll be passing them on to her, and will let you know what she decides.

In the meantime, keep the ideas coming!
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:43 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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With a Masters in History one could teach history in middle or high school, or teach at the community college level. Other possibilities would be to work in a museum as a curator or an archivist. Some colleges allow Masters recipients to teach 100-200 level classes.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:17 PM
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NutBrnHair NutBrnHair is offline
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I have an M.A. in History... and look at me!
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:06 PM
OneHeartOneWay OneHeartOneWay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdInCanada11 View Post
Hijack: Generally in history (even at the MA level), you begin your search by locating scholars in the field that you would like to work with and then limiting your search by other conditions afterwards. I would recommend that she start reading/looking through journals in her field, see who's actively publishing, and then go from there. I've seen it several times that a history department has 4-5 people in "Given subject area" but most, sometimes even all are on leave for 1-2 years. Once she has people's names, she can contact them to make sure they will be there that year.
I have to agree with this 100%. Also, if she has a specific area of interest that could intersect with other programs of study, what do the school's offer in that discipline/school/department? (Journalism history, women's history, african american history, military history, etc.) Most of the schools that would show up on anyone's list have been listed here already, so I'll just say "ditto" to the schools listed.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:39 PM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSUZeta View Post
With a Masters in History one could teach history in middle or high school, or teach at the community college level. Other possibilities would be to work in a museum as a curator or an archivist. Some colleges allow Masters recipients to teach 100-200 level classes.
Oh, I forgot that a lot of states require a Masters to teach high school.

I think I'm confused by the idea of seeking out a specific scholar, because I'm surprised that professors would care that much about their Masters students. Perhaps history is different from my experience on the other side of the subject spectrum.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:15 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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I agree-that would most often apply to PhD candidates.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:55 PM
ColdInCanada11 ColdInCanada11 is offline
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Originally Posted by DeltaBetaBaby View Post
Oh, I forgot that a lot of states require a Masters to teach high school.

I think I'm confused by the idea of seeking out a specific scholar, because I'm surprised that professors would care that much about their Masters students. Perhaps history is different from my experience on the other side of the subject spectrum.
The logic in history is that this person will be training you as a historian, so you should be training with someone in the same subfield as you. There are so many different methodologies that come into play that will greatly affect the type of scholarship that someone is producing (which I don't know is true to the same extent in science). Example: I focus on early Irish history. Within that field I look at culture. Why would I bother to study with an early Irish historian who primarily focuses on gender instead of a cultural historian? A historian of gender uses a much different "set of tools" than a cultural historian does.

Also, it proves that you have done your research. In your statement of intent, you have very little space to clearly state why you are an excellent fit for both the program and the school. If your only reason is, "the program/professor looks at the same time and area", you didn't do enough research and probably shouldn't look into grad school. That extends to the girl that honeychile spoke of, if I'm being honest. She should not have had to ask someone outside of history where she should be studying. If you have to, you are not ready for grad school in history.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:01 PM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdInCanada11 View Post
The logic in history is that this person will be training you as a historian, so you should be training with someone in the same subfield as you. There are so many different methodologies that come into play that will greatly affect the type of scholarship that someone is producing (which I don't know is true to the same extent in science). Example: I focus on early Irish history. Within that field I look at culture. Why would I bother to study with an early Irish historian who primarily focuses on gender instead of a cultural historian? A historian of gender uses a much different "set of tools" than a cultural historian does.

Also, it proves that you have done your research. In your statement of intent, you have very little space to clearly state why you are an excellent fit for both the program and the school. If your only reason is, "the program/professor looks at the same time and area", you didn't do enough research and probably shouldn't look into grad school. That extends to the girl that honeychile spoke of, if I'm being honest. She should not have had to ask someone outside of history where she should be studying. If you have to, you are not ready for grad school in history.
Got it. I think one big difference is that, even though it's a masters program, you are talking about producing real research. Many, many masters programs are now all coursework, in the sciences and elsewhere.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:09 PM
ColdInCanada11 ColdInCanada11 is offline
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Originally Posted by DeltaBetaBaby View Post
Got it. I think one big difference is that, even though it's a masters program, you are talking about producing real research. Many, many masters programs are now all coursework, in the sciences and elsewhere.
Coming from the sciences, I can definitely understand how it looks weird! For most history MA, even if they are a "course" MA, a very large component is still research!
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