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 Fall 2022 Semester

  • HST 500 - Historiography and Methodology (Fain)
    • This course is designed to introduce you to the approaches and activities that make up the historical profession.  It is not a research course. Readings and discussion will focus on kinds and styles of historical writing, the relationship between history and theory, types of sources and approaches to them, professional historical writings, and the role of history in public life. The class is heavily discussion based. 
  • HST 518 - Social and Economic Change in the Lower Cape Fear Since WWII (Saunders)
    • The Lower Cape Fear Region presents an interesting case study of a different kind of so-called New South – one focused on tourism, international shipping, federal spending on nuclear energy and the military, and regional higher education. At the same time, the region continues to reckon with ecological instability and its long history of racial violence. This class will explore all of these aspects of the Lower Cape Fear by facilitating practice in historical methods through deep interaction with primary sources housed at the Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History.
  • HST 540 - Atlantic Families: Empire, Kinship, and Race (Sherman)
    • This graduate reading colloquium provides an extensive introduction to Europe and the Atlantic World from the Age of Discovery to the nineteenth century through the actions of families. Students will familiarize themselves with the rise of the field of Atlantic history in the second half of the twentieth century and how the framework seeks to address the interactions and relationships that developed among the societies which border the Atlantic Ocean. In this course, students will engage with a wide variety of literature on the making of an Atlantic World that addresses the role of the family in underpinning ideas of nationality, kinship, sexuality, gender, and most importantly, race. The course will also introduce transnational methods to the study European history by examining the overlapping Atlantic empires and experiences of Europeans and the African and Indigenous societies they encountered. In the end, we will see that early modern families knit together the Atlantic world all while the Atlantic world shaped those same families. 
  • HST 558 - The Resurrection of Slavery in Europe, 1914-1945 (Seidman)
    • This research seminar will examine work, forced labor, and slavery during the Armenian genocide, Italian Fascism, Soviet Communism, German Nazism, Spanish Civil War, Vichy France, World War II, and the Holocaust. 
  • HST 560 - History of Modern Africa (Timbs)
    • This course serves as an introduction to the history of Modern Africa, from the nineteenth century to the present. Students will gain a familiarity with major historical processes and themes including European conquest of the continent; everyday resistance to colonial rule; post-independence struggles on the continent; and Africa’s interconnectivity with larger global processes and systems. Second, students will explore the history of the field itself and the major historiographical debates that have emerged since the mid-twentieth century. During the semester, students will problematize classic works, read new, innovative research, as well as explore areas awaiting further development. Additionally, students will experiment with foundational methodologies and source materials used by historians of Modern Africa.
  • HST 571 - Care and Management of Historical Collections (White)
    • Introduction to the theory and practice of historical collections in museums (I will add and archives) worldwide.  Topics include collections in cultural and historical context, policy development, documentation, registration, conservation, and storage.
  • HST 573 - Seminar: Public History (Shefsiek)
    • Intensive study of selected topics in U.S., European or Global history, culminating in a research paper. The research will also be disseminated to the general public through community presentations and/or digital media. May be repeated under a different subtitle.
  • HST 578 - Seminar: The History and Meaning of Objects (Le Zotte)
    • Research-oriented exploration of the theory, practice, and historiography of using material objects as sources for the study of society and culture.
  • HST 579 - Practicum in Public History (TBA)
    • Intensive supervised experience with credentialed professional in public history or technical field, combined with directed reading in literature of that field, under the direction of a member of the faculty. Final products must meet accepted standards of historical scholarship and professional practice as defined by faculty and supervising professional.
  • HST 595 - The Global Spanish Empire (Mehl)
    • In early modern times, people lived an existence that was much more global than we are used to think. In the empire “on which the sun never sets,” Spanish authorities ruled over approximately 12 million square miles of which 50,000 were coastal territory. Oceanic imperial lines of communication stretched for 3,000 miles from Spain to the western shores of the Atlantic Ocean and about 10,000 miles in Pacific waters from Mexico to the remote colonial outpost of Manila in the Philippines. Within the confines of this empire, soldiers, royal officials, missionaries, merchants, convicts, and private individuals travelled back and forth along intercontinental and transoceanic communication and trade routes. In the middle of the 15th century, the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula were in disarray, ripped by civil and foreign wars. Less than a century later, Spain was a worldwide power whose possessions connected the Iberian Peninsula to the Spanish colonies in the Americas, the Philippines, and even China. This seminar will focus on the global nature of imperial Spain as a network for the circulation of ideas, products, wealth, peoples, religion, and cultural and scientific knowledge. Readings will put forward, among others, topics such as relationships among Christians, Muslims and Jews; exploration, conquest, colonization, and cultural encounters in the Americas and Asia; development of a transoceanic economy and global trade; the establishment of repressive religious practices and institutions; and the intersection of science, nature, commerce and empire in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds.
  • HST 595 - Propaganda from Imperial Rome to Nazi Germany (Ellithorpe)
    • Propaganda might be loosely defined as information purposefully designed and intended to persuade or convince its audience. As a form of communication which aims to influence the attitude of a target community towards a particular cause or position imight seek to slowly reinforce existing audience attitude through diffuse and subtle techniques or seek to change audience attitudes severely and rapidly through blatant, aggressive, and often subversive means.This course considers propaganda not only from a sociological and psychological approach to understand how and why it succeeds but will also explore the various means by which states or authorities managed, controlled, and manipulated information, self-representation, and collective ideology(-ies) in attempts to persuade a target audienceThis five-part course will explore the use of propaganda for (1) Imperial Rome; (2) Early Medieval Europe; (3) The Church and the Crusades; (4) European Imperialism and Colonialism; (5) Nazi Germany. 
  • HST 597 - Seminar: Transformation of China since WWII (Chen)
    • Examination of three important questions concerning the most populous country since WWII: what went fundamentally wrong with Mao’s China, why China succeeded tremendously in its post-Mao reform, and how the rising China has profoundly changed its own society and the world. Students are expected to actively engage in classroom discussions and to write three medium-sized essays accordingly.