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Some Things to Consider Before Applying

A Research Program

The History MA program is a research program that is designed to prepare its graduates for further work at the PhD level or to take professional positions in K-12 education. This makes it very different from undergraduate programs that focus on completing a requisite number of courses in distributed areas. Instead of thinking of graduate work as an extension of your undergraduate experience, it is better to think of the seminars you will take as preparing you for research in your topic field. In addition, your graduate course work will also give you the thematic and comparative breadth that will be critical when applying  to doctoral programs or teaching positions.

Contacting Faculty

The most important part of any graduate program is the professional relationship established between faculty members and graduate students in their joint fields of study. For this reason, we strongly encourage all applicants to contact faculty members in their area of interest before applying. A list of faculty members and their research interests can be found on the department graduate student page: While the Department faculty cover a wide range of research fields, there are many areas we do not cover. We only admit graduate students whose interests overlap with our faculty areas of expertise. If you do not find your own field of interest listed, we encourage you to consult the American Historical Association’s listing of graduate departments to locate a program that will allow you to pursue graduate work in your field of interest.

Cohort Structure

Each entering MA student becomes part of a cohort that proceeds through the program together. As part of a cohort, you will take required and related seminars with your fellow graduate students, present your research proposal to the department community in February of the first year, conduct research during the summer of the first year, and present the results of your research at regional, national, and international conferences. Your final year will be spent writing your thesis and presenting the main points of that thesis at a Department Colloquium that will be attended by faculty, graduate students, and interested members of the campus community. Given the focus of the program and its cohort structure, we do not admit part-time students and strictly adhere to a four-semester completion schedule.


We prepare our graduate students well and our recent graduates are currently in nationally ranked doctoral programs such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan, while our education graduates currently hold professional teaching positions in several state and regional schools. Two recent examples are Dr. Emily Arendt, who after completing her MA with us in 2007 and her PhD at Ohio State University, has accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Montana State University-Billings beginning in Fall 2014 and Olivia Hathaway, who accepted a full-time position teaching at Mountain View High School in Mountain View, Wyoming in Fall 2013. Other graduates of our program are now teaching at Northern Arizona University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as well as several high schools in the Rocky Mountain region.

Campus Visits

One of the best ways to learn about our graduate program is to visit with faculty, staff, and current graduate students. For those living in or near Laramie, we will be happy to arrange a set of meetings  and a tour of campus resources such as the American Heritage Center and Coe Library Special Collections. Resources permitting, we will also invite especially promising candidates from outside the Laramie vicinity for a two-day visit to the Department and University. If you are interested in a campus visit, please contact the Graduate Committee chairperson, Dr. Jeffrey Means at: 

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