About the Department of History

The Department of History at UWM offers training at the undergraduate, Master’s, and doctoral levels. UWM and UW-Madison are the only two History departments in the University of Wisconsin System to offer degree programs at all three levels. In addition to the undergraduate major and minor, UWM’s History Department offers an M.A. in History (with optional specialization in Public History or Urban Historical Studies); a Coordinated MA/MLIS, which provides dual Master's degrees in History and in Library and Information Science (in collaboration with the School of Information Studies); and, beginning in 2003, a Ph.D. in History (with specialization in Global History, Modern Studies, or Urban History).

The Study of History and Training for a Career

The study of History is much more than the accumulation of factual information about the past. Like the other Liberal Arts, History is based on a process of discovery, analysis, and communication: asking questions and solving problems, collecting and analyzing evidence from a variety of sources, constructing arguments, formulating conclusions, evaluating multiple interpretations, testing results, and communicating them clearly and cogently.

History students therefore acquire skills that are useful in every kind of work. Our graduates have pursued successful careers not only as academic historians, but also in a wide range of other professions. They include primary and secondary school teachers, journalists, lawyers, civil servants, librarians, archivists, digital collections managers, museum curators, and historians in governmental and private agencies.

History at UWM

The History Department traces its origins to the 1880s when the current University's predecessor institution was founded. However, it was not until 1956 that the merger of the Wisconsin State College, Milwaukee, and the University of Wisconsin's Milwaukee Extension created the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and, with it, the modern UWM Department of History. In its early years, UWM was guided by UW-Madison, which insured that the demanding academic standards of the flagship campus became an integral part of UWM's character.

The History Department, along with UWM, expanded rapidly in the 1960s. As a vibrant part of the state's largest urban teaching and research university, the Department offered a broad curriculum, baccalaureate and master's degrees, and a distinguished faculty actively engaged in research and teaching. By the late 1970s, the Department added new interdisciplinary program options, including the now widely recognized Public History program. The History Ph.D. program—which had been envisioned as early as the 1960s—became a reality in 2003.