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Department of History

Graduate Programs

Our department is a top choice for educators, cultural historians, archivists, museum curators and more. Pursue your doctorate or master's degree with specialized support and abundant resources. Our world-class libraries provide access to archives and collections as well as the option for a dual master’s in Library and Information Science. 

Bethany Studying at a Table

Post-pandemic lessons from the past

Bethany Johnson, Ph.D. candidate in the history of science, technology and the environment, is writing her dissertation on the pandemic – the one more than 100 years ago. Researching the response to the flu pandemic in Philadelphia between 1919 and 1922, Johnson traveled to Girard College and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to study archival records. Her trips were made possible by the history department's Wilfred and Rebecca Callcott Award for excellence in historical research. Learn more about fellowships and awards to fund your research at USC.

More possibilities for your degree 

The history department at the University of South Carolina offers a program of coursework and research with several options for graduate degrees:

  • Ph.D. in History
  • Ph.D. in Public History
  • Master of Arts in History
  • Master of Arts in Public History
  • Dual enrollment in the School of LIbrary and Information Sciences

History is everywhere

Since you can study the history of any topic, you can make your degree your own through interdisciplinary study with other departments at USC. From literature, languages and art to science, technology and environmental studies, the university community offers a wealth of expertise and opportunities to learn more.

You can also take your degree further by earning a Museum Management Certificate or by taking part in an interdisciplinary certificate program, such as the program in historical archeology and cultural resource management.


Graduate Applicants Welcome for 2024

The University of South Carolina welcomes graduate and PhD students in History and Public History to begin in the Fall of 2024. In order to offer you a highly individualized graduate experience, we expect to enroll six to ten new students. The deadline to apply for Fall 2024 is January 15, 2024.

Take the Next Steps to Apply for Graduate History Programs


Everything has a history

As a historian you build on the work that has come before to carry stories of the past into the future. The history department at USC values the perspective and innovation you’ll bring to your research and area of study.

With an awareness of our strengths in specialization, our faculty bring experience and expertise in five historical areas: 

A master's degree in public history prepares you for a variety of careers, such as museum administration and historic preservation. UofSC’s is the only graduate program to have received the Robert Kelley Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the field, and the only program whose students have received three Student Project Awards, presented by the National Council on Public History. This prestige and national recognition are part of what draws talented students and faculty to our renowned history department. 

Ph.D. applicants may choose public history as a minor field (including an internship) or may complete the M.A. in Public History en route to the Ph.D. This extra area of study expands your skillset and prepares you to enjoy wide-ranging professional experiences. You may also benefit from the joint degree program for a Masters in Library and Information Science degree. 

Our faculty is especially well-versed in the field of Southern history, including the experiences of African Americans and women in the region. Notable professors include Thomas Brown, Bobby Donaldson, Kent Germany, Valinda Littlefield, Lauren Sklaroff, Mark M. Smith and Patricia Sullivan. These experts in the field provide students access to leading specialists who range from the colonial to the contemporary era and who study many different aspects of the South. 

The study of Southern history at USC is further facilitated by partnerships with some of the most substantial research libraries on the topic, including the university's South Carolinian Library as well as the state's Department of Archives and History.

Our faculty in Latin American and Caribbean history includes specialists who research and teach on the colonial and modern periods with expertise covering a geographical range from Brazil to the Andes to the Caribbean. Areas of faculty specialization include cultural history, race, ethnicity, slavery and nation-state formation. 

The Latin American history program reinforces the strengths of our programs in Southern history, African-American history and transnational and comparative history; it also builds on the offerings of other programs, including the Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies. Welcoming Ph.D. and M.A. applicants, this initiative ordinarily provides three years of M.A. funding to promising students who need extra time over the course of their degree program to improve their language skills.

We are open to applicants who wish to specialize on any historical topic. Through our comparative curriculum, we offer a unique course of study that transcends geographic barriers and promotes a global perspective on historical events – locally, nationally and internationally. This approach keeps our students on the cutting edge of scholarship and introduces them to outstanding faculty members who work on geographic areas in which we do not specialize for doctoral training. Recent comparative courses have focused on the history of gender, consumerism, tourism, nationalism and religion. 

Our department includes multiple experts in the history of science, technology and the environment (STE), from antiquity to the 21st century, across many global regions (from the US to Africa, from Central Europe to South Asia). Our faculty offer wide training in the history of STE, including its connections to medicine, politics, economy, gender, race and ethnicity, and other aspects of social, cultural, and public history. Our program broadly explores how people have developed systematic approaches to understanding, investigating and shaping the world around them, with an emphasis on the varied practices of persons, places and time periods once excluded from historical attention. 

Areas of focus include:

  • Historical relationships between science, technology, and society 
  • History of environment, urbanization, conservation, and sustainability
  • History of medicine, biology and health 
  • History of magic and occult sciences, and their relationship to practices conventionally called scientific. 

Students working in STE may qualify for research support from USC’s Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology and Society and the Walker Institute for International Studies. An inter-disciplinary STE reading group meets regularly to discuss books and in-progress research. 

A dual degree means more to explore

If you are aiming for a specialized career, such as archivist, historic preservationist or special collections librarian, take advantage of our dual degree program to earn a Master of Arts in Public History and a Master of Library and Information Science information science. 

Offered with the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Library and Information Sciences, this dual enrollment option combines your area of research in the field of public history with the skills essential to the field of library science. 

Beyond the Classroom

History M.A. and Ph.D. students have program-specific study abroad and internship opportunities, and students at all levels can build their network by going Beyond the Classroom. Choose from student organizations, internships and study abroad to enrich your academic experience and live your passion. 

Learn more about our programs 

For details on curriculum and official requirements, please view the academic bulletin. You can find additional information in the department of history’s graduate student handbook.

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