Earn your Master's Degree in History through the History Department's Summer Intensive Program

Image of students working at an archaeological dig site near a lighthouse.

What exactly is the Summer Intensive?

The Summer Intensive is a program that allows you to complete your Master's Degree in History in as little as two to three summers. During each six-week session, you'll be in classes taught by highly accomplished professors. And because you won't be juggling a full-time career with the demands of a graduate education, you will be able to take full advantage of this next phase of your academic and professional advancement.

I am a teaching professional. Why is the Summer Intensive right for me?

The Summer Intensive was actually conceived with teachers in mind. Because the session takes place over six weeks in the summer, you can concentrate on teaching during the school year and then devote yourself fulltime to your graduate studies in the summer months. Your coursework will focus on topics drawn from the teaching standards for grades 6-12, so you will have lots of material from which to draw as you create your own lesson plans. And, because the program brings together dedicated teaching professionals from around the country, you and your classmates will have ample opportunity to share ideas about how to make the material you are learning in the summer come alive in your own classrooms in the fall. 

I'm not a teacher. Does the Summer Intensive make sense for me?

It might. The reading, writing and analytical skills you will acquire in a history graduate program will be the same whether you take your courses in the summer or during the academic year. Where the programs differ is in course content. Because secondary school teachers are typically responsible for a broader range of content than are university professors, the Summer Intensive courses cover longer time periods and greater geographical areas. By contrast, the courses offered during the regular academic year, which have to meet the needs of doctoral as well as master's students, focus on narrower timeframes and more specialized subject matter and put more emphasis on theoretical and historiographical issues.

If you are hoping to acquire a broad-based knowledge of history in your graduate program, the Summer Intensive could work well for you.  If, on the other hand, you are interested in going on for a PhD, you should probably pursue your degree during the regular academic year.

What exactly is involved in earning a Master's Degree in History at CMU?

The Master's Degree in History at CMU is a thirty-hour program. The cornerstones of this program are the colloquia (600 level) and the seminars (700 level). In a colloquium, you will read and discuss books and articles—a lot of them. In a seminar, you will produce a major scholarly paper (roughly 25 pages) based on primary sources and grounded in the historical literature. You can also take up to four 500-level courses. These courses are designed for advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students and can be either lecture or discussion based.

The only required course in the program is Historiography, but at least eighteen hours of your coursework must be at the 600 level or above and must include at least two colloquia and one seminar. There is also a research requirement, which most students complete by taking a second seminar or HST 791 (Graduate Research).

For a more detailed list of requirements for the degree, see the Course Catalogue.

To see syllabi for recent graduate courses, go to the graduate curriculum.

Image of students seated together.

Can courses in CMU's Teacher Education Program count toward my History MA?

Yes! You can count up to 10 hours from other disciplines toward your History MA. The Teacher Education Program offers courses online in the summer. Feel free to mix and match.

How many courses will I take each summer?

This is actually up to you. The typical load is three to four courses, but you are free to take fewer.

Note: If you will be applying for summer financial aid and plan to take fewer than nine hours, you will need to email the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to see how your enrollment status will affect your financial-aid eligibility

How long will it take me to complete my degree?

If you opt to take the typical load of three to four courses per session, you can finish your degree in three summers (i.e., a little over two years). If you want to move through the program more quickly, you can take four courses over two summers and two courses during the academic year. With such a schedule, you would finish in as little as thirteen months.

 You can also shorten the time to completion of your degree or reduce the number of courses you need to take in the summer by transferring graduate credits to CMU. Check with the Director of History Graduate Studies to see whether the credits for courses you have already taken or are considering taking will transfer.

What kinds of courses will be offered?

Below are courses that may be offered (subject to change).

​HST 560
​Mind Games
HST 580
Public History​
​HST 609
​HST 610
​Colloquium on U.S. History Topics for Teachers (can be repeated as long as topic is different)
​HST 611
​Colloquium on World History Topics for Teachers (can be repeated as long as topic is different)

Course Descriptions (Summer 2021)

Mind Games (HST 560):

Professor: Dr. Andrew Devenney

Description of Mind Games (HST 560)

War in a Global Perspective: The Social and Political Impact (HST 611):

Professor: Dr. Paul Schulten

Description of War in a Global Perspective (HST 611)

Check back for more course descriptions.

Image of student in the CMU library

I still have questions. Whom should I contact?

Any questions about the program can be directed to Dr. Kathleen Donohue, Director of History Graduate Studies.

Sounds good. How do I apply?

In order to enroll in courses offered during the Summer Intensive, you will need to be accepted into the Master's Program in History. To apply, just complete CMU's online application.