Master of Arts in History

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Graduate Advisors: Curtis, Elkind

Admission to Program

A prospective student must fulfill the general University requirements as stated in the section on Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Admissions of this Bulletin. To be considered for classified admission to the Master of Arts in History program, a student must have completed an undergraduate major in history with a minimum grade point average of 3.5. Applicants whose GPA in history falls between 3.35 and 3.5 can be considered for admission on a conditional basis. Students whose undergraduate major was not history should consult the graduate coordinator about making up course deficiencies in history. The usual pattern is for the student to complete the equivalent of a B.A. in history before being accepted as a classified student in the graduate program of the department.

If the student's undergraduate record, writing sample, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores meet the basic requirements and give promise of a successful pursuit of graduate work, the department will recommend that the student be admitted either to classified graduate standing (which means that the student may immediately proceed to take graduate courses and seminars) or conditional standing, specifying the conditions and time limit within which they must be met.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One (Preadmission)

Assessment of the writing sample based on graduate-level rubrics; completion of writing component of GRE with a score of 4.0 or better.

Level Two

Satisfactorily completing the writing requirements in HIST 700.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all general requirements for advancement to candidacy, applicants must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average in all history courses taken for the master of arts, and may not list on the Advancement to Candidacy any course in which the grade received is below B-.

History (M.A.) — Minimum 30 units

HIST 700History as a Field of Knowledge3

Primary Fields of Emphasis (15 units)

One of the following areas of emphasis must be selected and courses completed upon advisement for a total of 15 units. The 6 units of graduate course work specified are required; an additional 3 units of graduate coursework should be taken in either the major or the secondary field. A minimum of 6 of the 9 units of electives must be chosen from the appropriate upper division and graduate courses in the History Department; 3 units from outside the department may be presented on advisement.

The United States

HIST 780Seminar in American History To 18773
HIST 790Seminar in American History Since 18773
Courses on advisement9

Europe and the Mediterranean before 1500

HIST 710Seminar in Ancient and Medieval History3
HIST 720Seminar in Medieval History3
Courses on advisement9

Early Modern Europe

HIST 720Seminar in Medieval History3
HIST 730Seminar in Early Modern European History3
Courses on advisement9

Gender in History

HIST 702Sexuality in Historical Perspective3

Europe since 1500

HIST 730Seminar in Early Modern European History3
HIST 740Seminar in the History of Europe Since 18153
Courses on advisement9


HIST 701The Historiography of World History3
HIST 850Topics in World History Since 1500 (or other appropriate graduate seminar: Topics in World History may be repeated with a different topic for a total of 6 units.)3
Courses on advisement9

Secondary Field of Emphasis (9 units)

A secondary field of emphasis of upper division/graduate courses must be completed on advisement, 3 units of which must be a graduate seminar in history. While 3 of the remaining 6 units must be in history, on advisement 3 units may be selected from a related discipline. The secondary field may be in one of the primary areas of emphasis above, or upon advisement, in a special historical field; e.g., urban history, public history, labor history, women's history, etc. For students whose primary focus is World History, their secondary field must be in a specific geographic region.

Culminating Experience Requirement (3 units)

Select on advisement one of the following

Directed Reading in History ( and HIST 896EXM Master's Written Comprehensive Examination in student's primary emphasis)
Master's Thesis (and Oral Defense of Thesis)

Auxiliary Skills

Candidates for the master's degree are expected to present an auxiliary skill to aid them in their historical study. In almost all cases, this would be a reading knowledge of one foreign language; but, upon advisement, a candidate may design a two-semester course of study in another skill that is relevant to his or her research. Information about specific requirements may be obtained from the graduate coordinator.


The student must complete 3 graduate level units of directed research in the major or minor fields. If the student takes a research seminar, or completes the master's thesis (HIST 898), the research requirements will have been met. If the student takes three reading seminars, a directed research course must be taken, preferably in the form of HIST 899. This research must involve the use of primary sources and should ordinarily involve the utilization of the student's auxiliary skill (see requirement above).

Thesis Option

While the usual culminating requirement consists of HIST 896 and the written comprehensive examination (HIST 896EXM, under certain conditions a student may be given permission to do a thesis (HIST 898, Master's Thesis) and an oral defense of the thesis in his/her major field. Students considering the thesis option should contact the department chair or graduate coordinator for further details.