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Department of History

(585) 395-2377

Interim Chairperson and Distinguished Teaching Professor: Owen S. Ireland, PhD, University of Pittsburgh. Professors: Arden Bucholz, PhD, University of Chicago; John W. Killigrew, PhD, Indiana University; W. Bruce Leslie, PhD, Johns Hopkins University; Salahuddin Malik, PhD, McGill University; Lynn H. Parsons, PhD, Johns Hopkins University; Robert W. Strayer, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Associate Professors: Ronald W. Herlan, PhD, SUNY Buffalo; Kathleen S. Kutolowski, PhD, University of Rochester; Kenneth P. O'Brien, PhD, Northwestern University. Associate Professor Emeritus: John F. Kutolowski, PhD, University of Chicago. Assistant Professor: Tonio Andrade, PhD, Yale University; Jennifer M. Lloyd, PhD, University of Rochester; Anne S. Macpherson, PhD, University of Wisconsin; Morag Martin, PhD, University of California-Irvine; Alison Parker, PhD, Johns Hopkins University; James Spiller, PhD, University of Wisconsin.

For more than a quarter century the Department of History has offered high quality and rigorous graduate training in history to a diverse student body, including secondary school teachers seeking certification or advanced training; those committed to museum, archival, and records management careers; PhD aspirants; and mid-life career changers from a variety of professions. Their one common feature has been a love of history and a desire to study it intensively.

Admission to the Program

There are two ways to begin graduate study in history:

  1. Students may sample a course or two on a non-matriculated basis. Students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History before registering to help ensure that the courses selected match the student's needs and background.
  2. Students may apply for admission to the MA in History as a matriculated degree candidate.

The Admissions Process: Application forms can be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions at (585) 395-5465 or from the Department of History at (585) 395-2377 at SUNY Brockport, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, NY 14420. Please submit application materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions by May 15 to be considered for summer admission; by July 15 for fall-semester admission; and by December 1 for spring-semester admission. Students must submit the following credentials to the Office of Graduate Admissions as part of the self-managed application packet:

  1. Official transcripts of all college work, both graduate and undergraduate. Students may transfer up to 12 graduate credits of course work from other institutions with the approval of the Graduate Committee.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from college or university instructors or others qualified to evaluate the student's likely success as a graduate student in history.
  3. A sample of the student's writing (usually a term paper or other research project).

OPTIONAL: The department encourages but does not require scores from the Graduate Record Examination. The traditional Aptitude Tests, especially the Verbal and Analytical sections, are always useful. But the new GRE Writing Assessment is preferable.

Criteria for Admission: In assessing these materials, the Graduate Committee in the Department of History will consider the following:

  1. Intellectual ability: In general a "B" average in previous college course work is expected.
  2. Background in history: An undergraduate major in history is helpful, but not required. Students without a history major should have some prior work in history and/or other disciplines in the humanities or social sciences.
  3. Writing, research, and analytical skills.
  4. A passion for the study of history and an ability to articulate how the MA program fits with the student's personal and career plans.

Program Requirements and Options

General Requirements:

  1. The MA in History is a 33-credit degree program.
  2. Up to 12 credits of graduate course work with a grade of "B" or better may be transferred from other institutions with the approval of the Graduate Committee. Courses presented for transfer credit must have been taken within the past five years.
  3. Students must have at least a "B" average in their graduate course work to be eligible for graduation. Those with GPAs below 3.0 may be placed on academic probation. Two semesters with GPAs below 3.0 may result in dematriculation from the program.
  4. All courses must carry graduate credit (500 or above). At least half of the courses must be at the 600 level or above.
  5. Degree requirements must be completed within five years of the date of matriculation.

The MA Curriculum:

  1. HST 600: Introduction to Historical Studies. (3 credits): Acquaints students at the beginning of their MA work with the major approaches to historical inquiry practiced in the 20th century.
  2. The Major Field. (18 credits): Students will choose between two tracks to complete a major field. Each track involves several reading seminars, a research experience, and electives.

    Course Number Course Name Credits
    A. American History
    HST 614 Reading Seminar in Early America 3
    HST 615 Reading Seminar in Modern America 3
    HST 691 Research in American History 3
    HST XXX Elective in American History 3
    HST XXX Elective in American History 3
    HST XXX Elective in American History 3
    B. World History
    HST 641 Explorations in World History 3
    HST 64X Regional Seminar: 3
    HST 64X Regional Seminar: 3
    HST 695 Research in World History 3
    HST XXX Regional Seminar/Elective 3
    HST XXX Regional Seminar/Elective 3

    NOTE: Regional Seminars on Europe, Africa, East Asia, Latin America and others rotate from semester to semester. The Reading Seminars in American History may also be used as a Regional Seminar in World History.

  3. The Minor Field (9 credits): Students may construct a minor field in a variety of ways. A selection of courses in world or American history constitutes the most common option. Public history (including museum studies, archive and record management, and local history) is an area the Graduate Program is developing. Students may also take up to nine credits in graduate courses outside of history and apply them to an interdisciplinary minor field, such as women's studies. Some students interested in teaching have built a minor field in education.
  4. A capstone experience: Students may choose one of two options:
    1. HST 700: Historical Integration (3 credits): A semester-long individualized experience designed to integrate a student's graduate studies. Normally results in an essay of 30-50 pages and an oral defense of the essay.
    2. HST 701: Master's Thesis: Designed to meet the needs of those students who wish to focus their graduate studies more heavily toward research by writing a master's thesis. The thesis must be connected to broad historical trends and reflect a knowledge of recent historiography. Successful completion of the thesis, including an oral examination, is required for graduation for those choosing this option.

Other Program Possibilities

  1. HST 710: College Teaching Practicum: Provides an opportunity to assist one of the faculty members in teaching at the introductory undergraduate level. Requires reading in the literature on current teaching practice and course development, and involves participation in every aspect of college-level teachinglecturing, leading discussions, preparing and evaluating exams and papers, tutoring students out of class and more. Normally culminates in a pedagogical essay reflecting on the teaching experience.
  2. Internships: The department maintains relationships with a number of area institutions, particularly museums.
  3. Overseas Study: A few graduate students have pursued a portion of their program in foreign universities. The program is pleased to accept applicable work as transfer credit.

Teacher Certification and the History MA Degree

Some students seek to earn an MA in History and undertake Secondary Social Studies Certification at the same time. This applies to those students who seek a career in secondary school education and have not completed a certification program as an undergraduate. The Departments of History and Education and Human Development have worked out a cooperative arrangement to facilitate this possibility. That arrangement involves:

  1. A master's degree in history (33 credits or 11 courses)
  2. A sequence of courses in the Department of Education and Human Development, totaling 27 credits.
    • 18 credits or 6 courses
    • 9 credits of Student Teaching Experience
  3. A total package of 60 credits that may be reduced by applying nine credits of the education course work toward a minor field in the MA in History program. This means a 51-credit experience.

Students seeking this combination of programs (an MA in History and the certification sequence) should apply for matriculation within the Department of History master's program. Upon acceptance to the MA in History program, students will then apply separately to the Department of Education and Human Development for entrance into the certification courses. The Department of History will forward the applicant's file to the Department of Education and Human Development, and students will need to supply certain additional materials required by the Department of Education and Human Development. Applicants are reviewed by the Department of Education and Human Development during the regular review period (September 15 for spring semester acceptance and February 15 for summer or fall acceptance). Upon acceptance by the Department of Education and Human Development, students can proceed to fulfill the requirements of both elements of this combined program.

Financial Aid

The department offers a limited number of assistantships and fellowships. Please contact the Program Director for details.

Students who would like a copy of the Master of Arts in History Program Handbook and other information about the program should write or call:

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of History
SUNY College at Brockport
350 New Campus Drive
Brockport, New York 14420-2956
Telephone: (585) 395-2377

History Courses

HST 501 American History: Topics. Provides an overview of selected topics in American history for teaching and nonspecialists interested in acquiring, updating or refreshing basic understanding. Topics vary yearly. 3 Cr. Summer.

HST 502 History of Rochester. Covers the development of Rochester from its earliest days as a boom town on the Genesee River, through its transition from "Flour City" to "Flower City." Includes Rochester's emergence as a major business, research, and cultural center in the 20th century, and its impact on the surrounding area of New York state. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 503 Internship. Prerequisite: Director's permission. Entails field experience in an archive, museum, historical society, or other institution that can provide a professionally valuable period of training closely related to the student's academic program. Arranged through the Graduate Committee. 3 Cr.

HST 504 Global History Seminar. Considers the development of global history during the 20th century and introduces the study of several of its separate civilizations, such as India, China, Islam, Europe, Africa and Amerindia and topics such as gender, ecology, demography, and war. 3 Cr. Summer.

HST 516 Colonial America. Surveys the colonial period of American History from pre-Columbian times through 1763. Explores topics such as the European "invasion" of America, Puritanism, the origins of American slavery, the status of colonial women, the American Enlightenment, and the emergence of Anglo-American political culture in the 18th century. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 517 The American Revolution. Covers the socio-political dimensions of American history from the beginning of the Revolution through the creation of the new nation, the Constitution, the emergence of national-level politics and the War of 1812. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 518 The Age of Jackson. Examines the central tendencies of American society in the second quarter of the 19th century, focusing on the transportation market evolution, the emergence of modern mass political parties and the evolving socio-economic structure. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 519 Civil War and Reconstruction. Provides an intensive study of the Civil War era (1848-1877). Surveys the breakdown of the American institutions that led to the Civil War, followed by an examination of the war itself and its controversial aftermath in the Reconstruction era. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 520 America from Reconstruction to the Great Crash, 1877-1929. Explores America's change from a dominantly agrarian and commercial society into an urban, corporate capitalist one. Examines the impact of this revolution on family, community, politics, foreign policy, education and culture. Also covers immigration and dramatic changes in ethnic, religious, and racial life. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 521 America Since 1929. Uses the Depression as a watershed and then examines American society to today. Features political change from Roosevelt to Reagan, foreign policy from Pearl Harbor to the present, and the evolution of popular culture since the 1920s. Also gives attention to economic and social developments. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 523 U.S. Social History (A). Explores the relationship between social structure, individual experience and everyday life; also patterns of sex roles, family organization, work and leisure, immigration and mobility, and the development of new lifestyles. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 524 American Foreign Relations. Examines the dramatic evolution of the United States from weak and isolated former colonies to the world's most powerful nation. Examines American diplomatic, economic, cultural, and political relations in order to understand the impact on the United States and of America on the world. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 526 American Cultural History, 1865-1970 (A). Examines the emergence of modern American culture. Includes topics such as the aftermath of the Civil War; responses to industrialization, urbanization, and technological change; the rise of mass consumer culture; and the role of the artist and intellectual in American society. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 531 History of Canada (A). Explores the historical development of Canada from its founding by the French to today, and emphasizes political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of Canadian development, as well as its relationship with Britain and the United States. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 534 Modern Caribbean History: Puerto Rico and Cuba Since 1898. Examines the marked differences but also parallels between the Puerto Rican and Cuban national experiences since the U.S. intervention of 1868. Considers economic, political, social, and cultural history. Includes the experience of migration to the U.S. and the linkages between island and diaspora histories. Concludes with reflections on the cultural futures of Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and their governments. 3 Cr.

HST 537 Overseas London. Sponsored by Brunel University and SUNY Brockport, enables students to live and to study for one semester in London. Examines the relationships between British and American society and history by means of lectures, discussions and field trips. Credit varies. Every Semester.

HST 538 Latin-American Women's History. Examines at an advanced level the diversity of Latin-American and Caribbean women's experiences from Iberian conquest to the 20th century. Analyzes the gender dynamics of colonial, national, dictatorial, and revolutionary states, economies, and cultures, as well as the importance of women's movements and feminism. Discusses Latina history in the U.S. and of Latin-American and Caribbean masculinity in historical perspective. 3 Cr.

HST 540 Study in Mexico. Provides students with immersion in Mexican life and culture in Cuernavaca. Permits students to earn credits through the study of Spanish in small groups and through study of Mexican history, politics and culture. Enhances academic study with the experience of living with Mexican families. Credit Varies. Spring.

HST 541 World War I. Covers military aspects of the Great War (1914-18), including the causes of the war, the German offensive, the Western and Eastern Fronts, sea battles, technology and warfare, the entry of the United States, the disintegration of Czarist Russia, and the movements for peace. 3 Cr.

HST 546 Renaissance and Reformation. Covers the origin and nature of the Renaissance, its evolution as a distinct cultural epoch, as well as its relationship to the mass religious movement known as the Reformation. Gives attention to the fine arts, literature, politics, economy, and intellectual climate of Europe. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 548 The French Revolution. Considers the revolution's origins in the Old Regime and the Enlightenment before examining its political and cultural development as well as its immediate after math in the Napoleonic era and its influence on Europe in the 19th century. 3 Cr.

HST 549 Europe in the 20th Century. Examines European states' loss of political and economic hegemony in the world as they endured a series of crisesworld wars, economic depression, totalitarianism, loss of empiresand political, economic, and cultural responses to this decline in the post World War II era. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 550 Victorian Britain (A). Examines British history from about 1830 to 1900, and aims to examine the meaning of "Victorianism" in its political, socio-economic, religious, and intellectual/ cultural aspects; focuses on England and Scotland; and gives attention to Ireland. 3 Cr.

HST 556 Modern France. Studies the main themes in French civilization since the Enlightenment through literature and art of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as historical studies of French society. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 560 Modern Africa. Surveys major patterns of pre-colonial Africa; examines the colonial experience and African struggles for independence; and explores the problem of " development" in post-colonial African states. 3 Cr.

HST 563 Revolution and Communism in China. Studies the history of China from the Revolution of 1911 to the aftermath of the economic and social reforms of the late 20th century: the issues of nationalism, militarism, war, and Marxism-Leninism; the rise of the Communist Party and the role of Mao Zedong; and salient political and socio-economic developments since 1949. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 570 Capitalism and Culture (A, I). Examines world capitalism since the Renaissance as an economic and cultural phenomenon by considering science, technology, industry, entrepreneurship, social structure, government policy, and thought in selected countries and regions. 3 Cr.

HST 594 History of Mexico. Provides a comprehensive history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times to the present with an emphasis on socio-economic, political and cultural factors that have shaped modern Mexico. Includes topics such as the Indian heritage, the Spanish colonial experience, Independence, the Revolution of 1910, and contemporary socio-economic problems. 3 Cr.

HST 595 Women, Gender and Class 1920-1940. Examines and analyzes European and U.S. women's experiences between the two world wars in terms of gender and class. Introduces theories of women's and gender history and of gender and class analysis. Seminar format; committed student participation expected. 3 Cr.

HST 599 Independent Study in History. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor prior to registration. 1-3 Cr. Every Semester.

HST 600 Introduction to Historical Studies. Explores the nature of historical knowledge and the means whereby that knowledge is achieved. Stresses the development and execution of a simple research design. Introduces students to modern historical scholarship. Should be taken early in a student's MA program. Also open to students in other programs with a serious interest in history. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 614 Reading Seminar in Early America. A broad reading course in early American history, examines writings from the colonial beginnings through Reconstruction. Acquaints students with the principal literature and major recent interpretations of the field. Requires students to read, interpret, and synthesize a variety of readings in social, political, economic, and intellectual history. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 615 Reading Seminar in Modern America. Examines writings on American history since Reconstruction. Allows students to learn to analyze historical scholarship through readings and seminar discussions. Requires a concluding essay to help students develop a synthetic overview. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 641 Explorations in World History (A). Introduces students to world history as a distinctive field of historical study, focusing on transregional connections or encounters and on large-scale comparative analysis. Uses themes and case studies to illustrate the character of a truly "world" history, to develop a framework for examining cross-cultural interaction, and to foster facility in comparative analysis. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 642 Regional Seminar: Early Modern Europe (A). Examines writings concerned with European history before 1789. Investigates those forces which first precipitated the societies of the European continent into the modern industrialized era. Places these developments in the context of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic economy, and the Islamic world. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 643 Regional Seminar: Modern Europe (A). Introduces students to the study of modern Europe and places this within the framework of world history, focusing on trans-regional connections or encounters and on large-scale comparative analysis. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 644 Regional Seminar: Latin America (A). Examines Latin America from before the Spanish conquest to the present. Places the development of Latin America in a comparative context. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 645 Regional Seminar: East Asia (A). Examines the history of the Sinocentric world, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia (Tibet, Xinjiang and contiguous Turkic-Muslim areas). Entails two segments: a) selected readings on a discrete, specific historical issue or development, and b) a critique and overview of significant English language works in Asian history. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 646 Regional Seminar: Africa (A). Examines a series of themes or topics that cast Africa's historical experience in a larger world historical and comparative framework. Includes topics such as state-building, Islam in Africa, slavery and slave trades, the colonial experience, race relations, and nationalism. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 647 Regional Seminar: South Asia (A). Examines the cultures of South Asia with particular attention to their relation to other major cultures. 3 Cr. Spring.

HST 691 Research Seminar in American History. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. An individualized research experience. Allows students to develop skills in original scholarly research in American history and to explore the methods and resources appropriate for a selected area of investigation. Themes vary with the student and instructor. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

HST 695 Research in World History (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Offers an individualized research experience in which a student and a faculty member examine a topic of mutual interest and one in which the student has developed some expertise. Normally scheduled at the end of the student's program. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

HST 699 Independent Study in History. Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor prior to registration. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

HST 700 Historical Integration (A). Entails individualized integrative experience culminating in an extended interpretive essay and an oral examination. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

HST 701 Thesis. Allows students to undertake a scholarly research, composition, and writing project with the assistance of a faculty advisor. May be completed in one or two semesters as a two-step research and writing project. Two readers must approve each submitted thesis. The original and one copy should be submitted to Drake Memorial Library, and one copy should be submitted to the Department of History, all unbound. 3-6 Cr.

HST 710 College Teaching Practicum. Provides the mature graduate student in his or her second or third semester with extensive reading in the literature on current teaching practices, audio-visual material utilization, curriculum design, and experience in all aspects of collegiate-level teaching at the introductory level: lecturing; small-group discussion; and the preparation, administration and evaluation of written assignments and exams. Culminates with a report containing a pedagogical essay by the student, a description of the teaching experience, and the instructor's evaluation of both the pedagogical essay and the teaching experience. 3 Cr.

Last Updated 7/21/22