Jul 19, 2018  
2013 - 2014 Graduate Catalog 
2013 - 2014 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History Department



View the History Faculty. 

The History Program

For nearly eighty years, the Lyon G. Tyler Department of History Graduate Program in History has been offering students a unique opportunity to pursue Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Named for Lyon Gardiner Tyler, the College’s seventeenth president, and the son of the nation’s 10th president, William & Mary’s Department of History is the oldest history department in the United States. Its moderate size, dedicated faculty, and distinctive history give the department a unique character among public institutions, and create a learning environment that fosters close interaction among students and teachers. The department’s graduate program offers a Ph.D. in Early American and U.S. History, as well as Master’s Degree Programs in Early American, U.S. and Comparative and Transnational History.

The Program prides itself on its commitment to preparing broadly trained faculty who are leaders in their fields of specialty. The topics of recent dissertations have ranged from Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the Deep South during the American Revolution to Race, Gender and Film Censorship in the New South. The program prepares students to be teachers and scholars, while also offering training for careers as editors and historical archaeologists, and as public history professionals in historical societies, libraries and museums. The Program’s excellent placement record is testament to its success.  www.wm.edu/as/history/gradprogram/placement/index.php.

The Department of History also offers a unique opportunity for students in the Master’s and Doctoral programs to obtain practical experience in a variety of history-related career fields by competitively awarding apprenticeships in the following areas: Archives and Manuscript Collections, Editing of Historical Books and Manuscripts, Humanities Computing, International Studies, and Vernacular Architecture. All doctoral students do intensive teacher training.
Graduate students also benefit from the Department’s close association with the American Studies Program, the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, the National Institute of American History and Democracy, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, Swem Library, and the Center for Archaeological Research, among many other local historical institutions of national importance.

General Description

The History Department offers a Doctoral Program in Early American and United States History, and a Masters program with specialization in Early American, United States, and Comparative and Transnational History. Doctoral students develop a minor field in a non-US geographic area such as Africa, Britain, or Latin America History or a comparative/transnational theme such as the Slave Trade, the Atlantic World or Comparative Revolutions as well as a thematic field in subjects such as African American, labor, or women’s/gender history. Ph.D. students may do research in all  sub-fields of American or U.S. history, including, but not limited to, Native American history, women’s history, international relations, African American history, labor history, social history, cultural history, political history, and the history of sexuality. A distinguishing characteristic of our program is its apprenticeship and internship opportunities (please see below).

(See general College requirements in the section entitled ‘Graduate Regulations  ’ in this catalog.)


A required supplemental application is available on the department’s web page at www.wm.edu/history. Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and official copies of scores from the Graduate Record Examination. A writing sample is required. A separate application is not necessary for financial aid. For full consideration, completed applications must be postmarked by December 5, 2013 for the Masters and Ph.D. programs in American and U.S. History and the Comparative and Transnational Master’s program. Applications submitted after the deadline must be mailed and may be evaluated if space is available. Minimum requirements for admission include an overall academic average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and the completion of 24 semester hours of work in history. Additional hours in history and course work in a foreign or classical language are highly recommended.

Apprenticeship and Internship Programs

In addition to traditional preparation in research, the Department of History in conjunction with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, the Earl Gregg Swem Library, the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, the Department of Anthropology, the Center for Archaeological Research, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation offers a unique opportunity for masters and first-year doctoral students to obtain practical experience in career fields related to history. Apprenticeships are available in archives and manuscript collections, the editing of historical books and magazines, international studies, humanities computing, and historical architecture. Apprenticeships commence on July 1, August 1, or late August of each year and extend to May 15 or June 30 of the succeeding year. The History Department also requires doctoral students to participate in a teaching internship that provides supervised experience in teaching college classes.

Programs and Course Descriptions

Description of Courses

Courses listed in this catalog are not offered every academic year.

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are graded using standard grading [A, B, C, D, F] scheme (See Grading and Academic Progress  in the section entitled ‘Graduate Regulations ’) and may not be repeated for credit (See Repeated Courses  requirements in the section entitled ‘Graduate Regulations ’).