Master of Arts

Program Coordinator
Michelle Jolly

The Master of Arts in History is designed to provide students with a program of advanced intensive courses leading to specializations in such areas as American, Latin American, European, African, Asian, and local history. Apart from the culminating requirement of either a master’s thesis (and oral defense) or examinations in two fields (written), the master’s program contains sufficient flexibility to meet the varying personal, professional and academic needs of students. The Graduate Coordinator and supervisors of thesis or field committees provide assistance and direction toward achieving academic objectives.

The M.A. in History is a 30-unit program. Requirements include at least 15 units of required 500-level coursework. Students must also take 15 units of elective, upper-division work (at the 300, 400, or 500-levels).

Graduate seminars and upper-division classes are generally small, offering individualized attention, guidance, and interaction between faculty and students. Graduate students are expected to recognize various methodologies and perspectives of historical inquiry and interpretation, and to master the techniques of historical writing and research. Opportunities for independent study, research with faculty, and internships are available.

Application deadline for the fall semester has been extended to March 1st.

Applicants wishing to apply for SSU scholarships (a February 1 deadline) are encouraged to have their applications complete by January 15, so that the Office of Admissions can provide the necessary log-in credentials.

 (note: requirements in handbook don't reflect Graduate Record Examination (or GRE) scores as OPTIONAL​)

Requirements for Admission

  1. B.A. degree from an accredited institution. Students with undergraduate majors in fields other than history will be required to complete prerequisites before entering the program.
  2. Grade point average of 3.00 or better in the undergraduate history major (and in previous graduate courses attempted), as evidenced by official transcripts. Grade point average of 3.20 or better in history for non-majors.
  3. In response to COVID-19, Graduate Record Examination (or GRE) scores are OPTIONAL. You are not required to submit any GRE scores. If you choose to, please take the general test, and provide an unofficial copy of your scores with your application in addition to having the official report sent from Educational Testing Services to SSU. 
  4. Submission of specified application materials. (See “How to Apply.”)
  5. Favorable recommendation for admission by the departmental Graduate Committee. This confers advancement to classified standing as a graduate student.

For more information, please refer to Graduate Degrees in the Degree Requirements section of the University catalog.

Requirements for the M.A. Degree

  1. Advancement to candidacy form (GSO1) signed and submitted to Graduate Office.
  2. Grade point average of 3.00 or better for all work attempted in graduate status and in all work approved as a part of the specific pattern of study. With the approval of the Graduate Coordinator, a maximum of 9 units of postgraduate transfer or extension credit (or any combination of the two) may be included as part of a specific pattern of study. All courses are to be taken for letter grades.
  3. All requirements for the M.A. degree in history, including language and conditional requirements stipulated at the time of admission to candidacy, must be satisfactorily completed within seven years from the time of the first course. Completion of requirements form (GSO2) must be signed and submitted to the Graduate Office.
  4. The satisfactory completion of one of the following options:

Master's Thesis Option (Chosen in Consultation with Committee Chair)

Classes Units
Elective courses at the 300, 400, or 500-levels 15
Required courses at the 500-level (HIST 500, 510, 596)> 9
HIST 599 Master’s Degree Thesis Research 6
Total units required for the M.A. 30


Comprehensive Examination Option (Chosen in Consultation with Committee Chair)

Classes Units
Elective courses at the 300, 400, or 500-levels 15
Required courses at the 500 level (HIST 500, 510, 596) 9
HIST 598 Comprehensive Examination Reading and Research (3 units, to be taken twice) 6
Total units required for the M.A. 30


Learning Objectives (History MA)

  1. Base historical knowledge, combining both breadth and depth; familiarity with more than one historiographic tradition; and the ability to synthesize different types of historical knowledge, including comparative and global.
  2. Research and presentation skills, evidenced by the completion of a substantial research project; familiarity with the tools of bibliography, the differences between academic and non-academic writing, new technologies for research and presentation, and where appropriate, foreign languages.
  3. A solid introduction to historical pedagogy, in the broadest sense of the term: the cognitive processes involved in teaching and learning; how learners attain understandings of history; and how historians present to different audiences.
  4. The foundations of a professional identity as a historian, including a familiarity with the historical development of the discipline, ethical standards and practices, and the multiple contexts of professional practice.
  5. The ability to think like a historian, meaning a critical and self-conscious approach to the constructed nature of historical knowledge.