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African History

Wisconsin has long been one of the leading African history programs in the world. The program trains students to conduct in-depth historical studies of Africa and the African Diaspora. In addition to providing an introduction to current historiographical debates, the program encourages students to challenge the conceptual boundaries of their chosen fields through both research seminars and extended periods of fieldwork in Africa. An emphasis on methodological innovation and the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the past prepares students to produce original scholarship of the highest quality. Please visit the African history website for more information on the our program.

Program Faculty: Bernault, Callaci, Kodesh, Mitman, and Sweet (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission:  none.

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS).


Central Asia

Contact program faculty for details.

Program Faculty: McDonald (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS).  Please see the Financial section of this packet for details.


Comparative World History (CWH)

The CWH program offers both historical and methodological training in comparative history. It seeks to set the historical experience of a particular culture-area (such as Latin America or South Asia) in a broader perspective. It also seeks to provide training in techniques for comparative analysis through comparative courses and seminars. Some of these cross the boundaries between culture areas, while others have a comparative approach within a single area.

The program may also be inter-disciplinary, since students may follow a course of training outside of history provided by the appropriate area-studies program.

Note to new applicants: Students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. program in CWH must first complete the Master’s degree in one of the other study programs.

Program Co-Directors:  Dunlavy, Mallon (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).


East Asian History

The graduate program in East Asian history specializes in the study of social and cultural history within regional and global contexts. Students in the interdisciplinary program will be encouraged to work with scholars both in the history department and in East Languages and Literature, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, or Art History, where we have a strong East Asian Studies faculty.

Program Faculty:  Thal, Young, Kim, Dennis, Chan, Kinzley, and Murthy (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission:  Appropriate language background. At least two years of training strongly recommended.

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS). Please also see the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) website.


European History Abe

Beginning graduate students need not choose a specific area of research concentration upon their admission, but rather should acquire knowledge of and research experience in several areas to encourage a more informed choice of specialization. The faculty offer a variety of topical research seminars and proseminars each semester. Students make preliminary arrangements with a specific faculty member to supervise their work as they near completion of the M.A.

The size and diversity of the European faculty offers the student a wide choice of chronological, thematic, and geographical areas of specialization. The main chronological periods are: ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern Europe. Thematic fields include: social, economic, political, intellectual, cultural, international and women and gender history. Major geographical areas include: France, Germany, Central Europe, Russia/Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, Italy, Britain/British Empire, and European Jewry. The preliminary examination in European history tests the student's knowledge not only of his/her own area of specialization, but also of two (in some cases, three) other areas of European history and a broad chronological teaching field.

Students planning to specialize in ancient history will be required to complete a Master's degree and pass preliminary exams that cover fields in History and Classics. An ancient history major within the Comparative World History program is also possible.

Program Faculty (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

  • Ancient - Kleijwegt, Taylor
  • Medieval – Shoemaker, Neville, Lapina
  • Early Modern - Desan, Sommerville, Wandel, Ipsen
  • Modern - Boswell, Hirsch, Koshar, McDonald, Roberts, Ussishkin, Ciancia, Chamedes.

Language requirements for admission:

  • Ancient history - Reading knowledge of Greek, Latin, French and German is required at the time of application.
  • Medieval history - Reading knowledge of Latin and one modern European language is required at the time of application.
  • Early Modern Europe - Reading knowledge of at least one major European language, normally French, German, Italian or Spanish, is required from all candidates at the time of application except those planning to specialize in British history.
  • Modern European History - Reading knowledge of at least one major European language is required from all candidates at the time of application except those planning to specialize in British history.

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS).


History of Education

Students interested in the history of European education should apply for admission to the History of Education program. The students choose this field as one of the four preliminary examination areas and otherwise follow the requirements for students in European history.

Students interested in U.S. educational history should apply for admission to the U.S. History program and must be accepted into that program. They prepare for the regular U.S. history preliminary examination and otherwise follow the regulations established by the U.S. History faculty group. They may elect a minor in educational studies through the Department of Educational Policy Studies under the guidance of their advisor.

Those students interested in educational history may also pursue M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Contact that department for information on its program requirements.

Program Faculty: Reese (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission: contact Program Faculty.


Gender and Women's History

The Program in Gender and Women’s History currently enables students to work in United States history, European history, African history, East Asian history, and Latin American history. Students in the program will meet all the requirements of their geographic areas of specialization. (For example, students in the European branch must complete the degree requirements for students in European history.) In addition, they must meet some additional requirements for the program in Gender and Women's History and work under the supervision of an appropriate faculty member affiliated with that program. All students in the program will take a team-taught core seminar on the comparative and transnational history of women and gender. The topic of the seminar changes with the faculty.

Program Faculty:   Callaci, Chan, Cheng, Desan, Enke, Enstad, Guerin-Gonzales, Ipsen, Johnson, Kantrowitz, Mallon, Neville, Roberts, Stern, Taylor (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission: language competency appropriate for geographical specialization.


Latin American and Caribbean History Lake

The program in Latin American and Caribbean history is designed for those students whose principal interest is the history of Spanish and Portuguese America, and, when appropriate, the comparative history of Caribbean societies. The faculty in Latin American and Caribbean history is extremely diverse, with special strengths in the social and cultural history of colonial and modern Spanish America and the Caribbean; comparative slavery and African diaspora; labor, agrarian, and economic history; oral history, testimony, and memory; gender and race; indigenous history and the history of women. A broad background, from the standpoint of both region and discipline, is also assured by the requirement of a minor field within History (chosen from European, U.S., Comparative World History, or the Program in Gender and Women’s History) and an interdisciplinary area field (Latin American and Caribbean Studies) outside History.\

Graduate students in Latin American and Caribbean history have the opportunity of benefitting from the extraordinarily wide range of resources and activities relating to these regions at the University of Wisconsin, of which only a few will be mentioned here. The extensive holdings of materials related to Latin America compiled by the Land Tenure Center, for many years a strong research and teaching program on agrarian issues, are now housed in the Steenbock Agricultural Library. The Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies program (LACIS), which includes both a B.A. major and an M.A. graduate program, is the central focus of campus activity for those interested in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian countries. (Students who hope to undertake a doctoral program in history are strongly advised to take the M.A. in History, rather than the M.A. in Latin-American Studies.) LACIS sponsors periodic lectures, visiting faculty from specialists in almost every field in the humanities and social sciences.  It also assists with the publication of the Luso-Brazilian Review.

Program faculty: Mallon, Scarano, Stern, Sweet (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission: Graduate students in the Latin American and Caribbean History program are expected to be able to read Spanish or Portuguese easily as soon as they begin the program. Applicants without a reading knowledge of either Spanish or Portuguese will be considered for admission only if they commit themselves to taking an intensive language course before entry.

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS)


North Africa and the Middle East

Contact program faculty for details.

Program Faculty: Chamberlain (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission:  contact program faculty.


South Asian History

The Department offers graduate instruction in this area under three different schemes: the South Asian History Program, the Comparative World History Program, and the British History Program (with a British Empire in India option). Applicants wishing to stress a comparative historical approach to non-Western or "Third World" history, including the Indian subcontinent as one possible field of concentration, should consult the Comparative World History program faculty (see above).

The South Asian history program is designed for those students who wish to concentrate their graduate study in that area. A broad background, from the standpoint of both area and discipline, is assured by the requirement of a minor field in History (chosen from either European or non-Western fields of history) and an interdisciplinary area field (South Asian Studies) outside history.

In the broad field of South Asian history, students specialize in one of two broad periods: pre-modern (up to the 19th century) and modern. In the course of his/her first year of study, the student can decide which of these specializations s/he wishes to pursue. The period of specialization determines the languages that will be needed for research (e.g. Sanskrit for Ancient; Persian or Tamil for Medieval; and one or more South Asian languages for Modern); and the seminars and other course work which must be completed. The requirements of the program are such that accommodation can be made for the individual interests of each graduate student.

Program Faculty: Wink (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission:  none.

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS)


Southeast Asian History Arch

The Southeast Asian history program offers instruction leading to an M.A. and Ph.D. with an emphasis on the early modern and modern periods. Although program faculty are willing to supervise research on any of the ten countries of the region, the emphasis is on the history of Thailand, Indonesia, or the Philippines. Most importantly, the University offers instruction in only three of the region's many languages--Filipino, Indonesian, and Thai. Reflecting this concentration, academics in related disciplines such as Political Science and Anthropology are, for the most part, specialists in these three countries.

Students are allowed considerable flexibility in forming their program. If they wish to approach Southeast Asia from a Third World perspective, they can complete their degree under the rubric of the Comparative World History Program (see above.) Otherwise, they can pick a minor field from either European or a given area of non-Western history such as South Asia or East Asia.

Prospective students are advised that they must make separate application to be considered for fellowships offered by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

Program Faculty:  McCoy, Winichakul (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission:  none.

Students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships (FLAS)


United States History

The program in U.S. history offers training in a broad range of fields. Beginning graduate students need not choose a specific area of research concentration upon their admission, but rather should acquire knowledge of and research experience in several areas to encourage a more informed choice of specialization. The faculty offer a variety of seminars each semester. The size and diversity of the U.S. history faculty offer the student a wide choice of chronological and topical areas of specialization. Opportunities exist in conjunction with the State Historical Society and the School of Library and Information Studies to acquire archival training.

Resources available to students include the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, an outstanding center for research in North American history, and the University’s Memorial Library, which extends into other areas of history. Students may also use the University Archives, the Legislative Reference Library, and Law Library and the Statistical, Cartographic and Demographic Centers and Laboratories of the University.

Program Faculty: Archdeacon, Cheng, Cohen, Cronon, Dinces, Dunlavy, Enke, Enstad, Hall, Johnson, Jones, Kantrowitz, Michels, Mitman, Plummer, Ratner-Rosenhagen, Reese, Sharpless (see faculty list at http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty.htm for details).

Language requirements for admission:  none.

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