The M.A. program in History draws on faculty expertise and the wealth of historical resources available in the Richmond area to support the extended exploration of the human past and the craft of history. It prepares students for the successful practice of historical scholarship in a variety of fields including archives, libraries, historical sites, museums, government agencies, businesses, publishing, and secondary education, as well as for advanced study in doctoral programs.
In addition to a solid grounding in the academic study of history, the M.A. program also offers a public history component to prepare students for careers in this expanding field. Students are introduced in the classroom to a wide variety of historical work, such as documentary editing, museum exhibitions, historic site management and archival administration. The more than 50 museums, archives, historic sites and other institutions in and near Richmond afford excellent opportunities for students to earn academic credit and gain hands-on experience in public history through semester-long internships.
VCU is a public, urban, research university located in historic Richmond, VA. Its diverse student body of nearly 30,000 students is recruited nationally and internationally. Richmond, serving as the location of the Library of Virginia, the Virginia Historical Society, and other research repositories, provides a unique "laboratory" for historians. The National Archives, the Library of Congress and other research libraries are about two hours away, facilitating study and research in European as well as American history. Many museums, libraries, historic sites and other institutions in and near Richmond also afford excellent opportunities for internships.
The Department focuses heavily on United States history, with a particular emphasis on the history of the South, urban history, African American history, colonial American history, the Civil War, and twentieth-century American history. Graduate courses are also offered in European history. Students may focus their studies on trans-Atlantic history, which seeks to integrate the histories of Europe, Africa, and the western hemisphere.
The program also boasts a vibrant student organization. The History Graduate Student Association (HGSA) offers students opportunities to network with peers, participate in the organization of academic events such as lectures and symposiums, collaborate on projects outside of the classroom, attend special events, and enjoy a bit of relaxation at their upscale social events.