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Graduate History Concentrations

The Saint Louis University Department of History offers more than half a dozen graduate concentrations.

Students pursuing a Master of Arts in History can focus their studies in early modern, medieval or modern European history, as well as Byzantine and late antique, American and World history.

Doctoral candidates can choose to specialize in medieval European, early modern European and U.S. history.

Additional details about some of our graduate program offerings can be found below. For more information, contact Nate Millett, Ph.D., director of graduate studies, at

American History

M.A. and Ph.D.

Receive a broad education in American history, learn about current issues in historical research, and gain experience in research and writing. Programs of study are individually tailored to your interests and needs, and emphasize your intellectual development, writing skills and professional goals.

Our students share their work at American Historical Association, Southern Historical Association, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and Organization of American Historians events — all with specific funding for their travel and research. They also enrich their intellectual development and sense of community through the American History Forum, an ongoing seminar series that encourages intellectual exchange and fosters community among American history graduate students and faculty.

In addition to on-campus research resources, you will enjoy easy access to St. Louis’ rich and diverse range of archival repositories, including the Missouri History Museum Research Center, the Slave Freedom Suits Collection of the U.S. District Court Project, the National Archives in St. Louis and the Mercantile Library. 

Early Modern History

M.A. and Ph.D.

SLU’s concentration in Early Modern History prepares students to teach in universities, colleges and other educational institutions, as well for careers in research, writing and editing historical works. This rigorous academic program emphasizes familiarity with secondary works and original work in primary sources, and develops linguistic, archival and paleographic skills in preparation for research in archives and libraries.

You will receive a broad education in the history of the Renaissance and Reformation (and its classical and patristic roots), specializing in such topics as:

  • Late medieval economic and social history
  • Renaissance humanism
  • Cultural history of Renaissance Italy and Reformation Europe
  • Roman Inquisition
  • Popular devotion in 16th- and 17th-century Europe
  • History of popular religion
  • History of social discipline
  • Global encounters
  • History of gender in Renaissance learning and Reformation piety

Particular strengths of the program include the social, cultural and religious history of Italy and the Low Countries.

Graduate students are welcome to join the Early Modern Dissertation Reading Group, an interuniversity and interdisciplinary seminar that meets monthly at the Washington University Hilltop campus. Through the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Saint Louis University also belongs to Chicago's Newberry Library Consortium, which provides subsidized opportunities to the department's graduate students for primary research in the Newberry's excellent collections and for attendance at seminars and courses offered through the Newberry Library.

Medieval History

M.A. and Ph.D.

SLU’s medieval history program is one of the oldest in the country, granting its first Ph.D. in 1930. Today we continue that tradition by offering a rigorous course of graduate study in a variety of chronological and geographical specialties. The goal of the program is to prepare students for teaching in universities, colleges and other educational institutions, as well as for careers in research, writing and editing historical works. The strengths of the program are its distinguished faculty members, extraordinary resources and association with SLU’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

You will receive a broad education in medieval European history while specializing in a variety of topics including the medieval Church, the Crusades, the Mediterranean world and the Byzantine Empire. Our faculty members, which include some of the most distinguished medieval historians in the world, work closely with students. Because medieval studies are a central focus of the humanities at Saint Louis University, you can augment your work with courses in other academic departments.

Additional opportunities for graduate research and funding are available in the department's Medieval and Renaissance Italy Prosopographical Database Project as well as the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. The well-known Crusades Studies Forum was originally founded by graduate students in the program and it continues to be very active in the U.S. and abroad.

Modern European History

M.A. only

SLU’s modern European history program offers you the opportunity to delve into some of the most charged topics in the historical canon, from the Enlightenment to the present day. In our reading courses and independent studies, you will read and analyze both classic and cutting-edge works in the field.

In research seminars and an optional master’s thesis, you will prepare primary-source and archival research covering an array of subjects that may include the French Revolution and the Atlantic World, industrialization, changing assumptions about gender and family life, the great 20th-century dictatorships, the world wars, genocide, post-war reconstruction and the Cold War. In the process, you will learn to make, develop and support historical arguments. You will graduate as a better teacher, stronger researcher and clearer thinker.

The single largest strength of this program lies in modern religious history, as all three full-time faculty members are specialists in the churches from the 18th century to the present. However, it also offers other areas of interest, including a strong transatlantic focus and investigations into questions of political authority and national identity. For students keen on drawing parallels and contrasts between European and North American societies during these centuries, this program is ideal. 

World History

M.A. only

SLU’s world history concentration draws on our faculty's broad geographical expertise and research strengths in transregional topics. We train students in the discipline of world history and prepare them for academic and professional engagement with global affairs.

SLU offers unique opportunities and resources for students interested in analyzing religion, culture, language, medicine, migration, ecology, empire and trade in a variety of global contexts from the classical age to the modern period. The Vatican Film Library and Rare Book Collection at Pius XII Memorial Library is complemented by a number of research centers in St. Louis, such as the Bernard Becker Medical Library at Washington University, the Missouri Historical Society and the Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. These collections provide a remarkably rich range of sources for world historical study.

Consisting of 30 credits, including a methods course, research seminars, advanced courses on global themes and a thesis, the M.A. in world history is ideal for beginning graduate students with aspirations for a Ph.D., teachers, and business and civil service professionals.

  • Benefit from a flexible curriculum that includes evening classes and independent work
  • Pursue your research interests under the guidance of world-class historians
  • Gain the skills and qualifications to teach a variety of historical topics at the secondary and post-secondary levels
  • Prepare for higher Ph.D. work in a variety of historical fields
  • Discover the department's unusual chronological depth in world history
  • Connect the lessons of world history to current global challenges
  • Practice cross-cultural communication at a Jesuit university that lies in a long tradition of global and social awareness