History, M.A., M.Ed.

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College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Stroud 409

570 422-3286



Graduate Coordinator:

Martin Wilson, Ph.D., mwilson@esu.edu

Associate Professors:

Christopher Brooks, D. Phil, cbrooks@esu.edu

Shannon Frystak, Ph.D., sfrystak@esu.edu

Michael Gray, Ph.D., mpgray@esu.edu

Assistant Professors:

Don Dellipriscoli, Chair, ddellipriscoli@esu.edu

Christopher Dudley, Ph.D., cdudley@esu.edu

Bonar Hernandez, Ph.D., bhernandez@esu.edu

Erin O'Donnell, Ph.D., eodonnell@esu.edu

Mission Statement of the Department

The mission of the department is to provide a program that is grounded in teaching excellence. Although department faculty are involved in research and publishing, the History Department faculty see teaching and student advising as their primary mission. The department is also committed to an involvement in the life of the Pocono region and in global studies. Internships and study abroad programs allow students the opportunity to engage not only in the immediate Pocono community but also in the broader global community.

Special Resources of the Department

Internships - Interested students may arrange an internship for academic credit with the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park, Morristown National Historical Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Delaware Water Gap National Park. Internships are also available at local historical societies.

Master of Arts in History

  • 30 credits

    Purpose of degree:

    To develop the analytical, literary, and verbal skills of students and to familiarize them with historical literature. Thesis students will learn to conduct original research and they will learn to organize large amounts of information into presentable form.

    Outcome expectations of students and degree completion:

    Students will attain a better understanding of history. They will become familiar with historical methodology and literature. They will improve their verbal and written communication skills.

    Most of our M.A. graduates teach in the high schools; some have obtained Ph.D.s and teach on the college level; others work for historical societies, museums, publishing houses, and the National Park Service.

    Undergraduate prerequisites required:

    A bachelor’s degree in history is preferable. Students with fewer than 15 credits in history can be admitted on a conditional basis.

    Typical time to finish:

    Full-time students can finish in 1 1/2 to 2 years.

    Plan of Study:

    Required classes:

    HIST 570

    Introduction to Research (Offered only in the fall semester)

    3 credits

    HIST 572

    Thesis I

    3 credits

    HIST 573

    Thesis II

    3 credits


    • 15-21 semester hours in history.
    • Students must elect at least 9 semester hours in either:

    Group A – United States History


    Group B – European History.

    • At least 3 semester hours in each of the two remaining groups, including Group C – Area Studies.
    • Related areas (other social sciences) are optional – 0-6 semester hours.

    Final graduation requirements

    Comprehensive examination, thesis, thesis defense.

Master of Education in History

  • 30 credits – Thesis program

    34 credits – Non-thesis program

    Undergraduate prerequisites required:

    A bachelor’s degree in history is preferable. Students with fewer than 15 credits in history can be admitted on a conditional basis.

    Typical time to finish:

    Full-time students can finish in 1 1/2 to 2 years.

    Plan of Study:

    Thesis program – 30 credits

    Required classes

    HIST 570

    Introduction to Research

    3 credits

    HIST 572

    Thesis I

    3 credits



    2-18 credits

    Related electives

    0-6 credits

    General Education and

    Professional Education courses:

    6 credits

    Non-thesis program – 34 credits

    Required classes

    HIST 570

    Introduction to Research

    3 credits

    HIST 571

    Independent Research Problem

    1 credit



    18-21 credits

    Related electives in other social sciences:

    3-6 credits

    General Education and Professional Education courses:

    6 credits

    Final graduation requirements

    Thesis Program:

    Comprehensive examination, thesis, thesis defense

    Non-Thesis Program:

    Comprehensive examination, completion of Research Problem

    Admissions requirements and deadlines

    Graduate College requirements and deadlines; in addition, applicants must have undergraduate major GPA of 3.0 and overall GPA of 2.5. Candidates should also submit a resume or vita.

    Graduate Assistantships

    Graduate assistantships are available through the department. These are awarded based upon merit and achievement to full-time students in the graduate program. Graduate assistants do not teach classes, but complete projects and tasks assigned by professors.

    The graduate assistantship is awarded for the first year of full-time study, with the possibility of extension through the first summer. Prospective students should apply for a graduate assistantship at the time of original application to the program, using the application form provided by the Graduate School or apply online.

    For more information, contact Professor Martin Wilson at 570-422-3991 or by e-mail at mwilson@esu.edu.

Course Descriptions

  • HIST 501 Colonial America (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of the founding and growth of English, Spanish, and Dutch colonies in North America. Special attention will be given to motives behind European expansion and the development of institutions and trends, which later contributed to the formation of the new nation.

  • HIST 502 Era of Jacksonian Democracy (3:3:0)

    • This course is an intensive study of the age of Jackson, 1818-1848: expansion, sectionalism, social and political reform; emphasis on analysis of original documents.

  • HIST 503 American Progressivism (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of conditions underlying the progressive aims. It investigates major domestic problems of the late-19th and early-20th centuries within the framework of the emergence of the United States as a major power in the world and the impact of Progressivism.

  • HIST 504 Normalcy and the New Deal (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study in depth of American domestic trends during the contrasting "Prosperity" and "Depression" decades with special attention to the changing socioeconomic scene. The rich primary source materials available for this period will be used in individual projects.

  • HIST 505 The Rise of the New Nation (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of the War of Independence, and the political, social, and economic foundations of the new nation.

  • HIST 507 History of American Ideas (3:3:0)

    • This course consists of readings about selected ideas that motivated American thought and action from the colonial period to the present day. Changes in meaning of older American ideas will be examined.

  • HIST 508 Seminar: Civil War and Reconstruction (3:3:0)

    • This course consists of research in selected topics related to the coming of the Civil War, military and diplomatic phases of the Civil War, and presidential vs. congressional reconstruction.

  • HIST 509 U.S. Constitutional History and Law (3:3:0)

    • This course investigates distinguishing aspects of the American constitutional system; judicial processes and decisions of major cases of the Marshall and Taney courts; interpretation of the fourteenth and other amendments; and evaluation of the contemporary court.

  • HIST 511 Seminar: Pennsylvania History (3:3:0)

    • This course is an intensive study of Pennsylvania as a colony and a state; its economy, politics, society, and culture; emphasis is on research and analysis.

  • HIST 514 The Classical Mediterranean (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of the political, social, and economic development of the Greek and Roman worlds.

  • HIST 517 French Revolution and Napoleon (3:3:0)

    • This course will cover the "ancient Regime" and the forces that led to its destruction, the revolution’s impact upon Europe, and the change effected by Napoleon in France and Europe.

  • HIST 519 Nationalism and Democracy in 19th-Century Europe (3:3:0)

    • This course analyzes the impact of the liberal and nationalist movements on the political, economic, and social institutions of 19th-century Europe.

  • HIST 520 Area Studies I (3:3:0)

    • (A specific area will be announced). This course examines selected problems of historical and political development in major world areas. Emphasis is placed on political institutions -- their background, development, and significance.

  • HIST 521 Area Studies II (3:3:0)

    • Same as Area Studies I.

  • HIST 522 Seminar: Foreign Travel and Study (6:0:12)

    • This course is a trip abroad. Study at foreign colleges and universities will focus on the history and government of the countries visited, and their economic growth and integration. Emphasis is placed on formal and informal discussion and analysis of contemporary indigenous problems.

  • HIST 526 American Naval and Maritime History (3:3:0)

    • This course surveys the maritime and naval development of the United States from colonial to the present time. Emphasis will be placed on the growth of American merchant shipping and naval power and its relationship to political, economic, military, and cultural developments.

  • HIST 527 The United States Since 1940 (3:3:0)

    • This course examines political, economic, and social changes in the United States from 1940 to the present. World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and cultural changes of the 1960s and 70s are the foci of this course.

  • HIST 533 Ancient Civilization (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of the origins of Western Civilization as manifested in the political, social, artistic, religious, scientific, philosophical, and literary achievements of the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean.

  • HIST 534 Origins of the British Welfare State (3:3:0)

    • A study of the social, economic, and political development of the British reform tradition as an answer to the conditions created by the first Industrial Revolution. The course will focus primarily on the 19th century but will continue to trace the development of the welfare state up to the present.

  • HIST 535 Britain in the Age of Discovery and Revolution 1485-1715 (3:3:0)

    • The course will present a detailed study of the political, diplomatic, economic, and social aspects of British society between 1471 and 1714. Particular emphasis will be placed on the monarchy, Parliament, the Revolutions of the 17th century, and the emergence of Britain as a Great Power.

  • HIST 536 Twentieth-Century Britain (3:3:0)

    • From the peak of imperialism in 1900, the course will trace the Liberal revival, the coming of the First World War and its impact on Britain, the coming of democracy, economic and political problems of the Inter-War Period. World War II and its aftermath will be examined as a case study in national decline. Britain’s entry into the European community will be assessed.

  • HIST 537 Europe in Crisis 1914 -1939 (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of World War I, the problems related to war-guilt and responsibility, peacemaking in Paris, the League of Nations era, and the rise of authoritarian ideologies and governments -- Bolshevism, Fascism, and Nazism.

  • HIST 539 Europe in Crisis 1939-1989 (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of the origins and conduct of World War II, division of Europe by the Iron Curtain, Cold War politics, dissolution of the European colonial empires, Common Market and unification of Europe, break-up of the Soviet orbit, and the era of detente.

  • HIST 540 Problems in Russian and Soviet History (3:3:0)

    • This course is a study of selected major problems in Russian and Soviet history: origins and expansion of the Russian State, Russian imperialism, Russian culture, pre-Revolutionary movements, the Bolshevik revolution, the Stalinist period, the post Stalinist years, and the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • HIST 541 Twentieth-Century Imperialism (3:3:0)

    • A study of the "New Imperialism" of the late-19th and early-20th century and its decline after World War II. The course will also focus on the military, social, and economic nature of imperialism and the emergence of a neo-imperialism since 1945.

  • HIST 545 China in Revolution (3:3:0)

    • After a brief examination of traditional China, the course deals with the Revolutionary upheaval that has followed the overthrow of the Empire in 1912. The development of the Kuomingtang movement, the rise of the Chinese Communists, and the struggle for power. Particular emphasis is placed on the People’s Republic since 1949 and its problems, failures, and accomplishments.

  • HIST 570 Introduction to Research: Historical Methodology and Research (3:3:0)

    • This course is about renowned historians, research techniques in history, training in the critical handling of primary and secondary resource materials, and formal presentation of research. It is required of all graduate students in history degree programs.

  • HIST 571 Independent Research Problem (Semester hours arranged)

    • This course utilizes selected historical research techniques to attack a specific problem. A formal report is prepared and presented. It is required for all students in the non-thesis program.

  • HIST 572 Thesis I (3:0:0)

    • This course consists of development of a thesis topic, gathering of information, organization of material, evaluation of data, and writing of a formal thesis report.

  • HIST 573 Thesis II (Semester hours arranged)

    • See HIST 572. This course consists of completion of the thesis. Emphasis on originality, depth of research, and contribution to knowledge.

  • HIST 577 Independent Study (Semester hours arranged)

    • Independent study is designed to provide in-depth coverage of subject matter not covered in courses offered by the department and must meet a specific need. A student wishing to take independent study should discuss the plan first with his adviser and then with a member of the department. If a faculty member agrees to supervise the study, the proposal will be submitted to the chair of the department. The chair, after acting on the proposal, shall present it to the department for action. It will then be transmitted to the dean of the faculty. (Requires permission of the chair of the graduate faculty in order to be included for credit in the degree program.)