Department of History


A Flexible and Rewarding ProgramClocktower

The Department of History offers the Master of Arts degree in a number of forms to meet the intellectual and professional aspirations of its students. It offers concentrations in U.S. History, European History, Global History, and Public History. A non-thesis option in the geographic concentrations is available to students who intend to pursue teaching careers at the secondary and community college levels and to those who prefer not to pursue a research-intensive program. Public History students who intend to seek work at historic sites, museums, and archives may opt to pursue that concentration's Professional Track. Students in all concentrations may choose to pursue a thesis option in preparation for further graduate study or if they enjoy the challenges and rewards of a more intensive research and writing experience. The History Department enjoys an excellent record of placing its graduates into history-related jobs and selective doctoral programs. Finally, the innovative online M.A. program for professional history educators serves the career needs of experienced teachers, museum educators, librarians, and archivists who seek to augment their knowledge of history itself rather than pursue a graduate education degree.

Financial Assistance AvailableBeach

Financial assistance is available to most students in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships, tuition remissions for out-of-state students, Graduate Tuition Scholarships, and a number of named scholarships open only to students in the History Department. Funds are also available to support student research and conference travel. For more information, see Funding and Support.

Outstanding Teaching and MentorshipMcCarthy

The History Department at UNCW has built an outstanding reputation for exceptional teaching and dedicated mentorship. The members of the History faculty come to the university from many of the nation's best universities and are known internationally as productive and innovative scholars. Perhaps more importantly, they pride themselves on the attention they devote to their students and the intellectual and professional guidance they offer to those who work under their direction.

An Inspiring Setting

The historic and beautiful port city of Wilmington, North Carolina provides a stimulating environment for those who study the past. Equidistant from Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Wilmington offers easy access to the archives, libraries, historic sites, and museums of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic regions.BradleyCreek

Class Updates for Spring 2020 Semester

  • HST 554 - Food in European History, 1200-1800
    • The study of food sheds light on broad social, cultural, and economic trends even as it allows for a close examination of almost every aspect of everyday life in the past.  After all, over the course of human history, the central preoccupation of most people has been producing, processing, and consuming food. Our investigation into the history of food between 1200 and 1800 will take us across three oceans and six centuries.  We will analyze such topics as the impact of new foods on premodern European taste and diet, the relationship between food, health, and medicine, and the role of food in constructing identity.  We will also study the ways in which changes in food production and consumption transformed social relations, facilitated global networks of exchange, and radically altered the environment.
  • HST 560 - Colloquium on South Asian History from the 18th Century to the Present
    • This colloquium is designed for students with no previous background in South Asian history. We will begin with reading a new textbook on the History of Modern South Asia to familiarize ourselves with its principal themes before delving into individual volumes that represent extended meditations on some of these themes. We will read and discuss some of the latest scholarship published in this field covering the period from the 18th century to the Present. The fun part is that we shall be discussing most of the books with the authors themselves who will be joining us vis Skype/FaceTime. In this process we shall learn something about this dynamic and most diverse region- home to nearly 1/5 of the world’s population, the world’s largest democracy, producer of the largest number of films, home of yoga, great food- with scholars who offer us new insights on the issues of colonialism, nationalism, law, caste, religion, democracy, cricket, Bollywood, postcolonial challenges and achievements of this region, and its global importance in the 21st century.
  • HST 586 - The Darwinian Revolution
    • Since the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859, the theory of evolution has provoked controversy and consideration within both the scientific community and society at large. Evolution has been debated and considered by academics in not only the biological disciplines, but also in economics, psychology, literature, and many others. Even before Darwin's major work, concepts of organic evolution stoked controversy within the clergy that still exist to this day. In this class, we will look at the history of the theory of evolution, beginning with Darwin and his work in the Victorian context and ending with discussions of how evolutionary theory has been applied (with significant controversy) to explain human behavior. During the semester we will not only trace how scientific discussions surrounding the theory of evolution have changed, we will also look carefully at how evolution has been incorporated into social policy in the form of eugenics and also sparked controversy in the classroom.
  • HST 595 - Jewish Humor and History: From the Shtetl to Seinfeld
    • Why are the Jews so funny? What is unique about Jewish humor? Why are so many comedians, satirical novelists, and film directors Jewish?  And why do Jews ask so many questions?  This seminar will explore the rich universe of Jewish humor.  We will trace its evolution from the Yiddish culture of the 19th-century shtetl all the way to 21st-century cinema and television, where Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and others have made American humor Jewish, and Jewish humor American.  We will probe the significance of the schlemiel, the schlimazel, and the schnorrer, and why these cultural archetypes which emerged centuries ago in Eastern Europe still have such resonance today.