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Department of History

Graduate Program

Graduate Chair

Dr. Margaret Jacobs

Margaret Jacobs

Dept. of History
641 Oldfather Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588
Phone : 402-472-2417

Main Office

Phone : 402-472-2414
Fax : (402) 472-8839
Application Procedures
Applications Due Jan. 15
For Fall Admission

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Graduate Study in History at UNL

The Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln enjoys an exceptionally high national and international reputation. Three history faculty have won the university's award for outstanding research and creative activity, and nine have received special awards for excellence in teaching. Current members of the department have authored or edited nearly 100 books and dozens of articles.

The University

Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a current enrollment of approximately 24,000 students, including about 3,800 graduate students. The UNL campus is located adjacent to Lincoln's downtown area, within easy walking distance of numerous retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, art galleries and performance halls. The Lied Center for Performing Arts, Sheldon Art Gallery, and Ross Theater on the UNL campus makes Lincoln an outstanding cultural site.


The department offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs in three general areas: North America, Europe, or World. M.A. and Ph.D. fields within areas include North American West, American Society and Culture, Military/Diplomatic/International History, Indigenous Peoples, Pre-Modern Europe, Modern Europe, German Studies, Women's History, and Comparative World History. The department's program emphasizes broad-based training and comparative study. All doctoral students with fields in North America or Europe must take 12 hours in comparative World History courses. The M.A. is available under a thesis option which requires 30 hours of credit and should be chosen by those who are preparing for careers involving scholarly research or in college or university teaching. Please consult the department's Guide to Graduate Study in History (available from the History Department office or graduate chair) for details about the programs. Prospective students are also urged to examine the list of faculty and their specialties.

The objective of the graduate program in history is to prepare students for careers in research and teaching. The faculty make every effort to provide a creative environment to sustain a community of scholars, and a substantial part of all graduate students' training is in small seminars. All beginning students should take History 900: Introduction to Historical Study, which exposes them to general themes in all areas of historical research and writing. In research seminars the students become acquainted with the primary documentation available and with techniques of scholarly research. In readings and problems seminars, students study the historical literature on special topics.

Carefully structured and individualized graduate programs afford maximum personal contact and consultation between graduate students and professors in seminars, directed individual readings, lecture courses, and supervised thesis and dissertation research and writing.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Graduate students in history may enrich their educational experience by taking advantage of numerous interdisciplinary programs at the University. Among the most active are the Women's Studies Program, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the Institute of Ethnic Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Medieval/Renaissance Program, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Nineteenth-Century Studies Program.

Libraries and Research Facilities

The university library contains over 2.25 million volumes, plus 2 million microform items, and 12,700 active periodicals. Holdings include extensive collections for the study of the American West and German history. Microforms include the major manuscript collections in American Colonial, Revolutionary, Early National, and Civil War history, as well as resources in the Middle Ages, Tudor-Stuart England, French history, Latin American history, and American folklore. The university is within several hours' drive of three presidential libraries, and the National Archives Regional Center in Kansas City. The university's Love Library offers computer workstations for access to Web searches as well as CD-ROM facilities. The History Department offers a computer lab with regular access for graduate students, including Internet and e-mail links.

Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Program

The Department of History participates in a mentoring program designed to prepare graduate students to teach in smaller universities and colleges, as well as community colleges. Each year, five graduate students who have completed all requirements for the doctoral degree except for the dissertation are invited to participate in a one-credit seminar that deals with faculty responsibilities, campus life, the hiring process, and teaching issues at smaller colleges. Each participant is then linked with a mentor at one of five colleges in eastern Nebraska (located in Lincoln, Omaha, and Crete). Each participant has two different mentors at separate institutions over the course of the year. The mentoring program helps students learn how to prepare for a career in teaching at such an institution, and provides skills in finding academic employment.

Core Principles

Core Principles of Graduate Education at UNL.

  • We will cultivate and sustain a collaborative, positive, team-oriented approach to graduate study.
  • We will seek to educate the whole student and to produce thoughtful, capable, experienced historians with whom we share our passion and commitment to the highest principles of historical inquiry.
  • We will prepare our students for teaching and research positions at the full range of higher education institutions, specifically aiming our students' preparation for work in our peer Carnegie Research I institutions, with an understanding that such preparation will serve our students in a wide range of contexts.
  • We will prepare our students broadly in fields and areas with a core 900 curriculum of graduate level courses regularly offered in which students gain reading and research experience before they begin the dissertation.
  • We will participate actively in promoting our graduate students' path toward degree completion by setting benchmarks for key milestones and encouraging students in a positive manner to meet their goals in a timely manner.
  • We will examine our students in a flexible yet thorough fashion always seeking to build up their intellectual development and raise the level of their engagement with the practices of the profession.
  • We will support and commit ourselves to a culturally and ethnically diverse graduate student program, advising and mentoring our students to gain success in their programs of study.
  • We will seek every opportunity for our graduate students to gain professional skills, demonstrate professional credentials, and participate in scholarship and research opportunities.

Placement of Ph.D. Graduates (since 2003)


Kristin Ahlberg U.S. Foreign Relations Office of Historian, U.S. State Department

Christine Dempsey Early Mod. Europe Lecturer, UNL, Nebr. Wesleyan Univ.

James Hewitt U.S. Western Adj. Prof., Nebr. Wesleyan Univ.

Mark Scherer Legal Assoc. Prof., Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha, NE

Mark Van Rhyn Military Louisiana Sch. For Math, Sci. & Art

Raymond Screws 19th C. U.S. Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock, AR

Ann Tschetter 19th C. U.S. Lecturer, UNL

Edward Wood Military Assoc. Prof., Glenville State College, WV

Russ Crawford Asst. Prof., Ohio Northern Univ., OH

Chuck Vollan U. S. Western Asst. Prof., South Dakota State Univ., SD

Timothy Elston Early Modern England Asst. Prof., Newberry College, SC

John Husman U.S. Western Assoc. Prof., Dakota Wesleyan Univ., SD


John Jacobsen Legal Asst. Prof., Williams Baptist Univ., AR

Tekla Johnson U.S. Western Asst. Prof., Johnson C. Smith Univ., NV


Kurt Kinbacher U.S. Western Instructor, Spokane Falls Com. Col., WA

Tamara Levi U.S. Western Asst. Prof., Jacksonville State Univ., AL

Scott Stempson 19th C. Lecturer, UNL

Donald Walker U.S. Foreign Relations Dept. Chair, Arapahoe Com. Col, CO


Thomas Smith Latin America Asst. Prof., Chadron State College, NE

Ahati Toure African and Af. Am. Delaware State University, DL


Roger Blomquist U.S. Western Instructor, Utah Valley Univ., UT

Chris Rasmussen United States past adjunct prof., Neb. Wes.

Nathan Martin Early Modern England Asst. Prof., Charleston Southern Univ., SC

Aaron Wilson U.S. Western Asst. Prof., Creighton Univ., NE


Tonia Compton Women & U.S. Western Asst. Prof., Columbia College, MO

David Nesheim U.S. Western Asst. Prof., Chadron State College, NE

Lisa Pollard U.S. Western Instructor, Western Wyoming College, WY


Sam Herley U.S. Western Lecturer, University of South Dakota

Roy Koepp Modern Germany Adj. Instructor, Hawkeye Comm. Col, IA

Brenden Rensink U.S. Western Visiting Asst. Prof., U. Nebr.-Kearney, NE


Amy Forss Women & Afr-Amer. Instructor, Metro Comm. Coll., Omaha, NE

Matt Walker U.S. Diplomatic/Intl. Adj. Prof., Northern Virginia Com. Col, VA

Joy Schulz U.S. International/Dipl. Instructor, Metro Comm. Coll., Omaha, NE


Nathan Sanderson U.S. Western Policy Advisor to Governor of South Dakota B.

Todd Arrington U.S. Western National Park Service Historian, James A. Garfield Historic Site, OH