Do you have a passion for history? Do you aspire to a career as a professional historian or as a historical researcher or writer? Are you a teacher on your way to your professional licensure or a professionally licensed history teacher seeking a Master’s degree in your subject field? Do you want to learn more about our graduate program in history?
As part of the GCE blog's "Our Faculty" series, we introduce Dr. Daniel Sarefield, Professor and graduate program chair of the MA History program.
What is your educational background?
Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by ancient civilizations and languages, but once I started studying history and Latin in high school I really never looked back. I completed my B.A. in Religion and History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and my M.A. and Ph.D. in Ancient History at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
During my time as a graduate student there I studied Greek, Roman and Byzantine history as well as Latin and Greek, worked on an archaeological projects in Greece, including OSU’s Excavations at Isthmia and the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey, and traveled extensively in Italy, Greece and Turkey. As a professor, when I am not teaching and advising students I continue to travel and explore Roman world whenever I have the opportunity, to attend scholarly conferences and to publish some of my scholarly work. My scholarship revolves around ancient religions, rituals and books. I am especially interested in the practice of censorship and book burning in the ancient world and the spread of religious groups during the period of the Roman Empire. I am also interested in contacts and transmissions across cultures throughout the Eastern Hemisphere in earlier periods of human history.
How long have you been teaching at Fitchburg State University?
I have been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in world history, ancient history, and Latin at Fitchburg State since 2007. I also regularly offer courses in support of Fitchburg State’s Study Abroad programs, leading students to Verona, Italy to explore Roman history in an ancient Roman city. In the thirteen years I’ve taught at Fitchburg State I have offered graduate-level history courses on a variety of topics, including “The Age of the Caesars,” “The Silk Roads,” “The Empires of the Steppes,” “Persecution and Conflict in Ancient Rome,” and others.
What attracted you to teach at Fitchburg State?
I was drawn to Fitchburg State because its smaller size offered me the opportunity to teach a broad range of subjects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and to have a hand in growing our great programs. That keeps things interesting for me. I’ve come to have tremendous respect for my colleagues, who are passionate about their teaching and scholarly work. I love our students too. They’re smart and hard working. Together they make Fitchburg State a great place to work and study.
Tell us about your program.
The Master of Arts (MA) in History program, offered 100% online, is designed for all students pursuing advanced study in the discipline of history. It is ideal for students seeking careers as historical researchers and writers, post-secondary-level instructors and for middle and secondary school teachers with professional licensure who are pursuing advanced study in history in order to deepen their subject knowledge. It requires thirty credit hours of academic coursework and culminates with a thesis or a comprehensive oral examination.
What career opportunities are available to students who complete the Master of Arts in History?
Students who complete our program go on to be better, more careful readers, thinkers and writers, especially about the discipline of history and historical topics, and to be more knowledgeable teachers and historical researchers. The training in historical research and writing our faculty provide enables students to sharpen their skills in these key areas and to prepare for careers as historical researchers and teachers. Many teachers have felt that the coursework has informed their teaching and provided them with a knowledge base that was both broader and deeper than before, making them more effective and more dynamic in the classroom.
What advice do you give to prospective students?
Graduate school is definitely challenging, so you must be fully committed. The rewards, however, are worth the effort. The opportunity to really explore fascinating historical topics and to engage in extended discussions of texts and arguments and evidence with your professors and colleagues not as students but as fellow scholars – as historians – is something many who have completed the program found to be among the most enjoyable aspects.
Interested in our graduate history programs? Attend our upcoming webinar on July 15 at 5:30 pm to get all of your questions answered.