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United States

American history at the University of Maryland is a diverse and exciting field of study.  It has an award-winning faculty with wide-ranging research interests and a commitment to both undergraduate and graduate teaching. 

United States

Our curriculum serves many different communities, from students wishing a single introductory course, to undergraduate majors seeking seminar work and a chance to do guided research and writing, to M.A. and  Ph.D. students desiring advanced study and preparation for professions in historical inquiry.  Many of our doctoral graduates have gone on to careers in university teaching, government service, and business.  American history is also a particularly significant component of the joint history and library science M. A. program, and many of our graduates now occupy positions in libraries and archives across the country.

While students may explore any era of American history and virtually any issue, the department has traditionally been strong in cultural, political, and legal history.  It has established noteworthy concentrations in the study of slavery, African-American history, diaspora studies, labor, women, gender and sexuality, early America, and the history of business and technology.  Scholars in our department have pioneered in the emerging transnational study of the early modern Atlantic world as well as twentieth-century labor relations and cultural exchange.

Our location at the doorway of the nation’s capital provides students with unparalleled opportunities to conduct primary research on the American past.  The National Archives, adjacent to the Maryland campus, the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. provide artifacts, written documents and visual materials through which to analyze major issues in American history.  The National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture and various units within the National Park Service offer additional libraries artifactual and manuscript collections to our students.  The George Meany Archives, American Film Institute and innumerable local institutions, both public and private, make the University of Maryland an ideal place to exercise a passion for understanding America’s heritage.

Graduate

The University of Maryland History department is a superb place to pursue an advanced degree in United States History.  Our graduate students draw on our award-winning faculty’s wide-ranging interests as they explore the American past.  The department is especially strong in cultural and legal history as well as the study of politics and society.  It has established noteworthy concentrations in the study of slavery and emancipation, African-American history, diaspora studies, immigration, labor, women, gender and sexuality, early America, and the history of business and technology.  Scholars in our department have pioneered in the emerging transnational study of the early modern Altantic and in twentieth-century labor relations and cultural exchange.  Students benefit from the department’s internationally recognized Center for Global Migration Studies, founded by members of the American history faculty as a hub for understanding this country’s long immigration history and its connection to world history. The Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies regularly brings to the department renowned historians working in a variety of scholarly fields with whom our students interact during luncheons and workshops.  The Freedmen and Southern Society Project offers opportunities for emerging scholars to research the revolution in social relations wrought by emancipation in the U.S. South.

Graduate students come to the U.S. history field with diverse goals.  Our doctoral graduates have pursued careers in college and university teaching, public history, government service, and non-profit organizations.  American history is a particularly significant component of the joint History and Library Science master’s degree program, and many of our graduates occupy positions in libraries and archives across the country.  Secondary school teachers hungry for greater knowledge of American history and opportunities for research have found the M.A. degree especially attractive. 

All Ph.D. students in United States History do a general field in all of US history, and also a “special field” in a particular aspect of American history.  The “special fields” within US History include the following:

  • African American
  • African Diaspora
  • Asian American
  • Constitutional/Legal
  • Cultural
  • Early America
  • Early Modern Atlantic World
  • Economic/Business
  • Immigration and Ethnicity
  • Labor and Working-Class
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Political
  • Social
  • Southern
  • Technology, Science, and Environment
  • Twentieth Century
  • U.S. and the World
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Resources

Our location at the doorway of the nation’s capital provides graduate students with unparalleled opportunities to conduct primary research.  The George Meany AFL-CIO Archives, one of the nation’s largest archival collections in U.S. labor history, is now housed at the University of Maryland, as is the Library of American Broadcasting.  The National Archives is located adjacent to the Maryland campus and in downtown Washington, D.C., while the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress are also a short metro ride away. The National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, various units of the National Park Service, and other government agencies offer our students additional libraries with rich artifactual and manuscript collections.  Other local institutions, both public and private, make the University of Maryland an ideal place to exercise a passion for understanding the American past.