Southeast Missouri State University

Why Should I Study History at Southeast?

While working toward a master's degree in history, the student will develop a knowledge base in history, the ability to locate and gather information, capabilities for critical thinking and analysis, and the ability to communicate historical knowledge. Experiences in the Department's graduate programs will enhance the professional capabilities of those already working in history-related fields, such as social studies teaching or historic preservation, but they can also prepare the student to pursue a Ph.D. in history or to seek employment in several other areas in which historical knowledge is valued. Students seeking a graduate degree that provides intellectual challenge and a sense of camaraderie will find the Department of History a welcoming place.

M.A. in History

This prepares the student for advanced professional study or career placement. Students will enhance investigative and communicative skills acquired as undergraduates and demonstrate their mastery of historical research and judgment through a program that integrates extensive research in a special topic with broad study across various areas.

The M.A. in Public History (Historic Preservation Emphasis)

This prepares the student for further study or career placement or further study in built environment preservation and documentationmuseums, historical sites or agencies, museums and archives. Students choosing the historic preservation emphasis will take a series of courses designed to familiarize them with issues in public history, material culture, the historic landscape, and the built environment. Students will participate in field exercises and projects that take history out of the classroom and into public venues. The Certificate in Historic Preservation focuses upon similar themes and skills but requires the completion of only 18 hours. Hours earned in completing the requirements for a certificate may also be applied to the full master's degree in public history.

The M.A. in Public History (Heritage Education Emphasis)

This prepares the student for fields at the intersection of education and public history. Students choosing the heritage education emphasis will hone skills aimed at connecting classrooms with museums and historic sites. Students will develop a familiarity with issues confronting social studies teachers and public history educators, study the contexts in which those professionals work, and develop plans for increasing student learning in those contexts that highlight the collaborative possibilities between classrooms and public history institutions. The Certificate in Heritage Education shares this cross-profession emphasis but requires only 18 hours. Hours earned in completing the requirements for a certificate may also be applied to the full master's degree in public history.

Admissions Policies/Requirements

To be admitted to the Graduate Program in History, applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree with 24 semester hours of undergraduate credit in the field. In addition to the admission requirements of the Graduate School, the Department of History requires that all applicants submit:

  • Evidence of a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale in history and/or related disciplines (derived from official transcript).
  • A letter of intent indicating how the applicant's past experiences have prepared him or her for graduate study in history or public history. The letter should also address what the applicant expects to achieve through graduate study.
  • Two letters of recommendation which attest to the applicant's academic and/or professional achievement and ability to succeed in the graduate program.
  • An academic or professional writing sample.

Under certain circumstances, an applicant who fails to meet some of the above requirements may be admitted provisionally.

Courses and Curriculum

The Graduate Program in History requires 36 credit hours to graduate. See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

Capstone Requirements

Depending upon the specific program and individual interest, students may: a) elect to write a thesis or creative thesis; b) enroll in six additional hours of 600-level coursework, write a graduate paper, and take comprehensive examinations; or c) complete an internship and an advanced project.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating from the Graduate Program in History have been accepted into Ph.D. programs at numerous institutions, including the University of Leeds, England; the University of Kentucky; and the University of North Texas. Others have found employment in the State Office of Historic Preservation in Mississippi, Alaska, and North Dakota; the US Forest Service in Virginia; the Adirondack Architectural Heritage in New York; and in schools throughout the region and nation.

Graduate Assistantship Opportunities

The department has competitive graduate assistantships available, which allow students to receive tuition, a stipend, and opportunities for teaching experiences. Please contact the Department of History office in Carnahan Hall, (573) 651-2180, for information on openings and the application procedure.

Students also may apply for graduate assistant positions in administrative offices on campus. For more information, please see the graduate assistantships page.

Student Organizations

  • Phi Alpha Theta
  • Sigma Pi Kappa
  • Historic Preservation Association


The Department of History is located in A.S.J. Carnahan Hall, which also houses the Lynn S. Bollinger Center for Regional History. In regard to research materials, Kent Library houses over 430,000 books and offers access to over 20,000 journals, magazines, and newspapers. Special Collections and Archives, located within Kent Library, houses thousands of primary documents related to Southeast Missouri and the Mississippi River Region.

Related Links

Contact Us

Dr. Erika Hosselkus, Graduate Program Coordinator

Department of History
311 Carnahan Hall MS 2960
One University Plaza
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Phone: (573) 651-2763