Master of Arts in History

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.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Arts in History, the student will:

  1. Demonstrate that they have acquired an advanced base of historical knowledge and understanding in one primary field and one secondary field. They will be able to demonstrate that they have become "educated history generalists.”
  2. Demonstrate an advanced ability to research and write a historical research paper based on primary sources. The project must demonstrate content mastery, a familiarity with primary research, and competent historical analysis. In this context, students must also demonstrate familiarity with the tools of bibliography and new information technologies.
  3. Demonstrate that they have acquired the foundations for a professional identity as a historian, including familiarity with the historical development of the discipline, ethical standards and practices, and an awareness of the multiple contexts of professional practices.

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

All students are required to take HIST 700 and HIST 705, preferably within the first year, for a total of six units.

HIST 700History as a Field of Knowledge3
HIST 705Approaches to History3

Electives (21 units)

Students are required to take four additional graduate seminars (12 units) distributed as follows:

  • At least one reading seminar
  • At least one research seminar
  • At least one seminar covering topics before 1800
  • At least one seminar coving topics after 1800
  • Seminars must cover at least two geographical fields selected among Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the US

The additional nine units (three courses) may be drawn from upper-division courses, proseminars, or graduate seminars. Under advisement, students are encouraged to design a program that best meets their academic and career goals.

Seminars (HIST 701–HIST 850) may be offered as reading or research variants Students should regularly consult with their advisor to determine which seminars are being offered.

Students may count a single course for both chronological and geographical distribution.

Students may substitute HIST 899 Independent Study for one of these requirements.

Students may substitute HIST 785 College Teaching of History for one graduate seminar.

Courses may be repeated for credit provided the topic is not repeated.

HIST/SXS 702Sexuality in Historical Perspective3
HIST 710Seminar in Ancient and Medieval History3
HIST 720Seminar in Medieval History3
HIST 730Seminar in Early Modern European History3
HIST 780Seminar in American History To 18773
HIST 785College Teaching of History1-3
HIST 790Seminar in American History Since 18773
HIST 850Topics in World History Since 15003

Culminating Experience Requirement (3 units)

Select on advisement one of the following

HIST 896
Directed Reading in History
and Culminating Experience Examination
HIST 898Master's Thesis (and Oral Defense of Thesis)3

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.

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.