World War II Studies, MA

From the expertise of world-class ASU faculty and historians of the National WWII Museum to the artifacts, documents and archival resources offered by the Museum, this first-of-its-kind program gives students a comprehensive look at the effects World War II had on the current and future events of the world.

Students will be immersed in the history of the conflict, politics and human stories of World War II in an exclusively online environment. The skills and education acquired from this program will prepare students to enter a variety of industries, including education, military service, human rights work, public relations, diplomacy, international relations and law. 

2 years to degree
10 classes
2 great institutions

Degree Overview

Through advanced interdisciplinary study of World War II, students in the 30-credit MA program in World War II Studies explore the causes and effects of World War II, the global nature of the conflict, the evolution of governance and political systems, and human responses to conflict, violence and genocide. Program coursework also helps students contextualize current events through study of the war's historical, political and cultural legacies.

How to apply

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

An applicant must have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Students from any field who demonstrate potential will be considered for admission. Applicants’ potential for success is determined by the quality of writing and clarity of thought demonstrated in the letter of intent and responses to the application questions. Letters of recommendation that point to a student’s ability to deliver high-quality academic work and persist to an academic goal will receive priority. An applicant’s GPA and academic performance, particularly in humanities coursework, will also indicate potential.

A minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = “A”) in the last 60 hours of a student’s first bachelor’s degree program is required. A minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = “A”) in an applicable master’s degree program is required.

Applicants are required to submit:

  1. Graduate admission application and application fee
  2. Official transcripts
  3. Proof of English proficiency
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Letter of intent/written statement
  6. Written responses to unit-developed prompts
  7. Updated Resume or CV

An applicant whose native language is not English (regardless of current residency) must provide proof of English proficiency.

During the application process, applicants will be prompted to write two short written responses of 750-1000 words to World War II-related questions. While the admissions form can be completed within 30 minutes, applicants for World War II Studies should devote additional time to the writing prompts. These responses will serve to demonstrate to the committee a student's writing ability and potential for thoughtful participation in degree coursework.  As such, applicants are encouraged to allocate additional time, at least a few hours, so as to think and write out their responses while making sure they craft coherent answers with evidence to support their arguments.

Application Deadlines: April 15, July 15 and September 15 (Fall admission); December 1 and February 1 (Spring admission)

World War II formed the world we live in today, and memory of the war shapes contemporary national identities across the globe and in the United States. Together with our colleagues at the National World War II Museum, ASU faculty examine the war's global impact through an interdisciplinary lens that includes history, religious studies, philosophy, literature and film and media studies.

Volker Benkert, Director of Graduate Studies for the WWII Studies program


Students enrolled in the World War II Studies MA program should be able to complete program requirements and receive their degree within 18-24 months. 

Requirements and ElectivesHours
Core Courses12
Electives or Research9
Other Requirements6
Culminating Experience3

Courses and electives

WWS 561: Decision Points I (3 credits)
WWS 562: Decision Points II (3 credits)
WWS 563: The Lived Experience of World War II (3 credits)
WWS 566: World War II Today (3 credits)

WWS 567: World War II in Film (3 credits)
WWS 568: World War II in Literature (3 credits)
WWS 569: Memory and Monuments (3 credits)

HST 454: History of Genocide (3 credits) or WWS 564: The Global War (3 credits)
WWS/HST 494: World War II Studies (3 credits)

WWS 597: Capstone (3 credits)

Students should refer to the academic unit for the approved electives and research course list.

For the other requirements section, students must take either HST 454 or WWS 564. If a student chooses to take HST 454 to fulfill the requirement, they may take WWS 564 as an elective. Likewise, if a student chooses to take WWS 564 to fulfill a requirement, they may take HST 454 as an elective. Other coursework may be used with approval of the academic unit.

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