Graduate Program

The Lehigh History graduate program focuses primarily on the areas in which the department is particularly strong in faculty and resources: Atlantic World and, Industrial and Modern America. Most PhD students develop their major field and their dissertation in one of those two focus areas. The department also offers an MA and a PhD field in public history.

The Atlantic World, 1500-1900
With faculty who specialize and publish extensively in colonial North America and the British empire, Spanish empire, Native Americans, the French Atlantic, 19th-century United States, and Great Britain, Lehigh offers significant in-depth study in the Atlantic World, 1500-1900. This broad area offers a comparative and integrative approach to exploring the development of nations, economic systems and trade, colonization, and cultural encounters among the people of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The Lehigh libraries contain an extensive collection of rare books and published primary materials relevant to early American history and British history from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Several faculty have overlapping interest in native American and gender history. The Bethlehem area is itself a rich resource, and Lehigh has close working relationships with nearby libraries and museums. The department works closely with the Lawrence Henry Gipson Institute for Eighteenth Century Studies which sponsors yearly symposia and provides research support for both faculty and students.

Industrial and Modern America, 1800-present
The industrial and modern America focus emphasizes development of the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In terms of topical areas, the department's strengths are in the history of technology, intellectual, cultural, business, labor, social, urban, religious and environmental history. Because of Lehigh's strengths in the sciences, engineering, and business, there are many faculty with interests allied to the history of technology who participate in program events and teach related courses. This field is also closely linked to Lehigh's Science, Technology, and Society program, which has gained a national reputation for its curriculum and for its symposia and publications. Several History faculty share a strong interest in issues of gender, including gender identification, gender roles in society, and the changing structure of the family. 

Public History Students may earn an M.A. in History with a concentration in Public History by completing a total of 36 hours of approved course work. At the Ph.D. level public history may be a minor field. Students in the public history program prepare for careers with museums and other historical agencies. Prof. Kim Carrell-Smith directs the program.

Information for Applying to the History Department Graduate Program:  Students should apply on-line. Applicants should contact faculty members directly to inquire if they are currently accepting new students as not all are able to do so at this time.  All those applying for the MA and PhD program must take the Graduate Record Examination. In addition, applicants should submit two or three academic references. All applicants are encouraged to submit a writing sample; it is required for applicants seeking financial awards. The writing sample may be a seminar or research paper completed for a recent course, or it may be chapter or section of a master's thesis. Limit submissions to about twenty pages maximum. Writing samples can be uploaded with the on-line application. If this is not feasible, however, it may be submitted directly to the department.  Send it to

Financial Awards and Deadlines:  The college and the university provide a very small number of fellowships which provide a stipend and cover tuition costs. In addition, the department has a limited number of full and half-year teaching assistantships, which provide a stipend in exchange for teaching responsibilities and cover tuition. We are able to offer a limited number of tuition scholarships. The deadline for applying for all of these awards is January 15. All materials need to be submitted by that deadline. All awards are based on merit and are extremely competitive.   If you are not seeking financial aid, the deadline for applications for the summer or fall semester is April 15; the deadline for the spring term is November 1. 

For additional information on the graduate program or to schedule a campus visit, contact the graduate program director, Professor John Savage, at or 610 758 3363.