Department of History


The history department at Murray State offers a passionate team of scholars that brings a wide range of world civilizations to life in the classroom. We love what we do, but why should you consider studying history?

This question “what is history?” has been answered poignantly so many times, but the greatest minds of their respective generations always comes back to one key theme: knowledge of our past is the key to understanding our present.
      “The function of the historian is neither to love the past nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master and understand it as the key to the understanding of the present.”
                                                                                ~ E.H. Carr, What is History? (1961)
      “Memory is life. It is always carried by groups of living people, and therefore it is in permanent evolution.”
                                                                                ~ Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (1987)
      “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
                                                                                ~ George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

An historian’s work requires the mastery of a number of skills—chiefly patience, attention to detail, thinking analytically and communicating clearly—that are highly beneficial across a range of career paths. History majors go on to become educators, researchers, lawyers, television and film writers, business people and government officials. History opens a door and you decide what career lies on the other side.
history studies
President John. F. Kennedy, actor Steve Carell, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, NAACP founder W.E.B. Dubois, and entrepreneur Martha Stewart.

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Murray State University is a student-centered university. This means the faculty of Murray State University aim to create a culture primarily focused on the success of the student as an individual. The history department fulfills this emphasis on student success with the active presence of a variety of historians. History faculty cover a range of historical sub-fields, regions, and eras, to account for an array of student research interests. Check out our faculty in the History Department.

Degrees Offered in History at Murray State University

The Department of History at Murray State University offers baccalaureate degrees, with or without certification to teach, and along both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science tracks. Both baccalaureate education tracks prepare students for graduate work at the M.A. or Ph.D. level. The Master of Arts program in history offers advanced study to qualified students in American, European, and World History. Within these major fields, there are two track options to the Master of Arts degree: 1) the thesis track, a 30 hour program of advanced study requiring a thesis; and 2) two non-thesis track options (American or European history) of 36 hours. The M.A. enables teachers to meet Rank II certification in Kentucky public schools.  The department also offers minors in History and Religious Studies.

For more information on our history programs, view our Academic Programs. You may also contact the MSU Department of History at 270-809-2234 or
The History Department is currently reviewing its Masters of Arts degree program and considering some changes. We would be very grateful if you would complete the following survey before March 1st, 2017. Thanks in advance for helping us make our MA program even better!

Giving to Murray State University History

Every year the Murray State Department of History hosts two banquets in support of both graduate and undergraduate education. One is held in the fall semester, in honor of Dr. James W. Hammack, Jr.  Proceeds from the Hammack banquet benefit graduate student education in history. In the spring semester, the history department hosts a banquet for undergraduate education. The psing banquet honors the late T. Wayne Beasley in its support for undergraduate education in history.  See our events for more information about these banquets.

Keep Up-to-Date

To stay up-to-date on current events and news from the History Department, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

See what our students and faculty have to say about History at Murray State University

Information about the Humanities at Murray State University

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