The EIU history department introduced the Historical Administration option to its Master of Arts program in 1975. Since then it has been preparing students academically and technically to serve as professionals in museums and historical agencies. Students are introduced to the problems, philosophies, ethics, and techniques of preserving, interpreting, and administering the American heritage.
The HA curriculum combines the research orientation of a traditional cultural history program with an interdisciplinary approach to American material culture and includes a variety of hands-on activities. Each year classes work with various program partners on an assortment of projects. The on-campus academic year is followed by a six-month internship with an established historical institution or organization.
Some graduate assistantships are available each year. Prospective students invited to interviews are given an opportunity to complete graduate assistantship applications at that time. Graduate assistants have various duties, depending on their particular assignments.
The Historical Administration program received the distinction as a "First Choice" graduate program.
Graduate programs achieving the distinction of “First Choice” have applied and been subjected to rigorous review from EIU’s Council on Graduate Studies, with oversight from the Graduate School, to ensure they meet the highest standards of scholarly excellence as evidenced through sustained achievement of criteria developed and adopted by the Council in 2006.