Jul 13, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

History, Thesis, MA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of History, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Graduate Faculty

Anderson, Charles W., PhD, Middle East.
Bhattacharjee, Dharitri, PhD, South Asia.
Bushelle, Emi, PhD, Japan.
Cameselle, Pedro, PhD, Latin America, U.S. Latin American Relations.
Cerretti, Josh, PhD, Sexuality, race, and gender in the U.S.
Chard, Daniel S., PhD, 20th-century and 21st-century U.S.
Costanzo, Susan E., PhD, Russian/Soviet, Europe.
Diehl, Peter D., PhD, Medieval, Ecclesiastical, Social.
Hardesty, Jared R., PhD, colonial America.
Heslop, Madison, PhD, North American West, Canada.
Johnston, Christine, PhD, ancient Mediterranean world.
López-Pedreros, A. Ricardo, PhD, Latin America.
Pihos, Peter C., PhD, post 1865 African American history. 
Price, M. Hunter, PhD, 19th-century U.S., American Religion, Borderlands/Frontiers.
Neem, Johann N., PhD, Early U.S. Republic, American Intellectual.
Seltz, Jennifer, PhD, late 19th-century and 20th-century U.S., U.S. West.
Stewart, Mart A., PhD, 19th-century U.S., Civil War and Reconstruction, Environmental.
Thompson, Roger R., PhD, China.
Zarrow, Sarah Ellen, PhD, Jewish history, East European history.
Zimmerman, Sarah, PhD, Africa.


Friesen, Kitty, paper conservator, Archives.
Garfinkle, Steven J., PhD, ancient Near East and Mediterranean history, Department of Economics.
Joffrion, Elizabeth, Director of Heritage Resources.
Kurtz, Anthony, MA History with a certificate in Archives & Records Management.
Steele, Ruth, MA History with a certificate in Archives & Records Management, MA (Hons) History, University of Edinburgh.


The Department of History at the Western Washington is an excellent place to pursue a graduate degree. With an outstanding and productive faculty, research interests are diverse in scope and area of interests, covering the most important aspects of the histories of the world. The program offers an in-person, small-group setting that fosters invaluable intellectual exchange with faculty and peers. In the program, students learn methods of historical analysis, develop research skills, and pursue historiographical questions regarding different topics. For some recent history MA students, the degree has allowed them to enter careers as researchers, writers, teachers, and curators in a variety of businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions. Our graduates have been accepted into the top doctoral programs in history and other disciplines and some have become tenured professors. They have worked as archivists and historians in museums ranging from local historical societies to the Library of Congress. They have entered the business world and thrived at such places as Facebook. They have also become teachers, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.

Every student will prepare an original work of scholarship in the form of a master’s thesis. To prepare students for this work, incoming students will take HIST 505: Historical Theory and Method in the fall term, which offers an introduction to the theories that have informed historical scholarship. In the winter term, first-year students will enroll in HIST 506: Research Seminar, during which time they will work with the course instructor and their advisor to develop a thesis project and write a research proposal. Most students take two History courses per term. In addition to HIST 505 and HIST 506, students will complete six 500-level courses to develop the disciplinary practices and habits of professional historians by introducing students to historiography, seminar discussions, and research. Students may have additional coursework to meet the language requirement if necessary. All students will develop a coherent plan of study with an advisor.

Most students complete their master’s thesis prospectus by the end of the winter or spring terms of their first year, and, in addition to completing any remaining coursework, typically devote their summer and second year to research and writing their theses.


Admission to graduate status and to graduate courses requires completion of an undergraduate major in history or the permission of the department.

Application Information

Admit Quarter: Students are generally admitted only for the academic year, not summer.

TA and funding deadlines: February 1.

Supporting Materials:

  • In addition to the Graduate School application requirements, all history applicants must submit a brief statement of purpose and goals, and a writing sample, such as a research paper or similar example of writing ability.

Program Requirements

Basic Requirements 48 credits

  •   Credits: 4 (4)
  •   Credits: 4
  •   Credits: 2-16 (16)
  • ❑ A written thesis prospectus is a prerequisite for 690 registration.

  • ❑ Elective 500-level seminars in History under advisement.

  • ❑ Completion of Language Requirement (see below).

  • By the end of week two of the quarter in which the thesis defense is to take place students shall submit the thesis version to be defended to the committee.

Additional Information

Language Requirement

The foreign language requirement may be met in one of two ways: by passing an exam approved or administered by the department; or by earning a B grade or higher in the last course of a second-year language program or any more advanced language course. Courses graded on a pass/no pass basis would not qualify for satisfying the language requirement. Tests and course work taken before entry into the graduate program may be counted if completed within five years of acceptance into the graduate program.

For further information, contact departmental office, Bond Hall 364, 360-650-3457.

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