Master of Arts in History

row of marble busts in front of bookshelves

Understand the Past, Engage the Present

Program Information

Why history at WWU?

Western's History MA offers students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of historical methods and to produce an original work of scholarship. The MA thesis is filed with the library and in an online database available to researchers from around the world.



This program prepares students:

  • For positions as researchers, writers, teachers, and curators in a variety of public and private settings
  • To teach at the secondary or community-college level
  • For study at the PhD level

Application Requirements

  • All applicants must complete the Graduate School's ApplyWeb application and pay the $100 application fee.
  • Within the application you will be prompted to upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended. If admitted, you will be asked to provide official transcripts.
  • Additional application materials are specified below. Applications will not be forwarded to the department for review until all required materials have been received by the Graduate School.
  • International Applicants: Please review the requirements for information regarding Degree Equivalency, English Language Proficiency and student VISA requirements.

See the History Department scholarship website to apply for a graduate scholarship by the stated deadline.

Additional Application Requirements

  • Three (3) Letters of Reference
  • Writing sample: An academic research paper or literature review of 10-25 pages that showcases the student's abilities to utilize historical materials as well as effectively engage historical methods and theories (or those from a related field)
  • Statement of Purpose: Please submit a brief essay (300‐600 words) addressing your qualifications for graduate study, by answering these questions:
    1. What purposes does the study of history serve, and why do you wish to pursue graduate study in this field?
    2. Which topic(s), time period(s), and/or field(s) of history would you hope to investigate (and have you contacted the appropriate faculty in the program at WWU regarding your proposed area(s))?
    3. What specific strengths do you possess that will be applicable to that endeavor?
    4. What do you hope to achieve while in the program and how does a graduate degree in history relate to your future goals?


Jennifer Reidel smiling

Library of Congress Teacher in Residence

During my time as a graduate student in the History department, my paradigms and narratives of history were broadened. Our cohort was pushed to consider how class, race, gender, and sexuality influenced the recording and telling of historical events. Those discussions were not always comfortable, but they gave me a foundation to teach in today’s political climate and a framework to view my work here at the Library. In addition, as a master’s student in the History department, I drastically improved my researching, writing, and editing skills.

Jennifer Reidel M.A. History 2007
Stephanie Stillo with artwork

Preserving National Treasures at The Library of Congress

As curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Graphic Arts Collection at the Library of Congress, Stephanie Stillo spends her days among rare books printed in the last five centuries. She meets with visiting scholars and artists, plans exhibitions and conferences, and works with antiquarian book dealers to find new items for the collection. After completing her master’s degree in history at Western, Stillo went on to earn a doctorate at Kansas University and complete a postdoctoral appointment at Washington & Lee University. “Our national cultural heritage institutions belong to the American people,” Stillo says. “I would like to be part of public projects that support Americans taking more ownership of these resources."

Stephanie Stillo M.A. History 2011