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Graduate Program

“Upon completion of my interview, I could feel how excited the panel was about my research. Finding that level of respect for my work was wonderful.” Meghan Mayo (PhD Student)
"There is such a supportive atmosphere here; when I talk to other people in the department, there is an air of contagious enthusiasm. Everyone seems so interested in what everyone else is doing. They love history! It's exciting to be a part of it." Isabella Neer (MA Student)
“My favorite part about our department is the grad school community, which has become like family to me. The conversations, debates, and laughs that I’ve shared with friends in the graduate instructors' office have kept me going on my toughest days.” Katy Ferrari (PhD Candidate)
The graduate history program has a long and distinguished record, dating back nearly a century. Early on, the Department of History established a reputation for diplomatic history, and later, West Virginian and Appalachian history. Today, the West Virginia and Regional History Collection is one of the strongest of its kind, housing primary source materials for political, economic, social, cultural and technological history of the state and region. 

Areas of strength have also been developed in African history, the history of the American Civil War and public history. The department offers graduate work in several other fields in United States, European, Latin American and world history. In addition, unique interdepartmental partnerships and resources help students develop comparative approaches and network with professionals in the field. The department encourages research that is comparative and transnational in perspective and scope. 

Our graduate program is designed to give students flexibility to create a plan of study that matches their interests, while simultaneously providing a breadth of training in different fields that will prepare students in historiography, research methods and teaching approaches. In addition to these core areas of strength, faculty research and teaching interests are clustered thematically around four areas: gender and kinship, imperial and postcolonial societies, labor and political economy and war and society.

Gender and Kinship

Examine how women, men, children and kin groups encountered labor, law, religion, property and other phenomena in ways that were socially constructed and conditioned and changed over time and across space. Both gender history and kinship history extend beyond the study of femininity, masculinity, the household and the family to enhance our understanding of politics and the economy, at both macro and micro levels.

Imperial and Post-Colonial Societies

Examine the multiple ways colonial empires transformed, exchanged, hybridized or were resisted by societies in every corner of the globe, and explore diverse themes including, but not limited to, cross-cultural encounters, unequal power relations, identity formation and representation, subaltern struggles, paradoxes of empire and the limits of the post-colony.

Labor and Political Economy

Explore the interaction of politics, including high politics, popular politics, social movements and political culture with consumption, technology, economic policy making and markets. The relationship of these issues with labor is also key, including all forms of paid and unpaid labor, ranging from agricultural work, domestic labor, unskilled, skilled and professional work as well as the study of ethnicity, labor migration, labor movements and organizations and labor systems.

War and Society

Students will work with faculty members specializing in a wide range of chronological and geographical contexts, to understand the reciprocal relationships between society and mass violence. Major themes include cities, economies and everyday life in wartime; identities, ideologies and memories; representations of conflict in personal writing, art, popular culture and propaganda; and ruination, mass death and genocide.