MA in History (Specialized Option)

Total units required for the MA: 30

Program Description

The Master of Arts program in History introduces students to the use of the historical method, the critical investigation of problems in historical study, and the analysis and interpretation of primary source material. These skills are valuable in many professions, especially to students interested in pursuing graduate study culminating in the doctorate in History, experienced teachers of history in public schools, students who wish to teach in California Community Colleges, and to students seeking employment in archival management, oral history, consulting, and public sector historical research.

California State University, Sacramento is well situated to offer rich historical resources in several fields of study. The California State Archives, the California State Library and the Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center offer unique opportunities for the study of Western and California History. The presence of many state and community agencies dealing with historic preservation offers possibilities for stimulating internships, and the history graduate program is also able to draw upon rich materials in a number of areas of United States, European, and world history located in the Sacramento State Library.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in the Standard History program requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • an undergraduate major in History, OR a minimum of 27 semester units in History, or a closely related field, approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Fifteen of the units must be upper division and include one seminar from the HIST 192 series (or equivalent) and one seminar from HIST 197 series (or equivalent); and
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units attempted and a minimum 3.25 GPA in History courses.

Students who have deficiencies in admission requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted to the degree program with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a written response to the admission application. The department Graduate Coordinator will specify courses to be taken by students with fewer than 27 units of history and/or without the required seminars. Work taken to remove such deficiencies may not be counted toward the master's degree.

Admission Procedures

Applicants should apply online following the guidelines in the History Department’s website.

All applicants, including Sacramento State graduates, must submit the following to the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • an online application;
  •  Application Fee as required by the CSU system (You can pay this when you are filling out your online application)
  • an official copy of all transcripts from colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

All applicants, including Sacramento State graduates, must submit the following supplemental application:

  • one statement of purpose that attests to one's qualifications and the ability to complete a professional degree program in History. This statement should include an applicant's reasons for applying to the Master's program, career objectives, and an explanation of how the program will help the applicant achieve them. It should also include relevant professional training, experience, internships, or volunteer activities, and any non-academic skills, interests, and notable accomplishments that may be pertinent to the pursuit of a graduate degree in History. While there is no page limit on this statement, the department encourages statements of approximately 500 words;
  • two letters of recommendation that attest to their qualifications and ability to complete a professional degree program in History. These letters should ideally come from university instructors, but if these are not available, another credible individual who can address an applicant's qualifications will be acceptable;
  • an academic writing sample. Our strong preference is for a history research paper that integrates primary and secondary source evidence. Please select a sample of seven (7) to twenty (20) pages. You may provide a larger sample.

For more admissions information please visit and

Applicants will be informed of the Admission Committee's decision within six weeks of the Department's application deadline.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirements for the Degree

Units required for the MA:  30
Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • completed at least 12 units in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, including at least one 200-level course;
  • determined with the History Graduate Coordinator whether to attempt the thesis, examination, or project (Public History and Specialized Options only) as the Culminating Requirement;
  • determined which department faculty member will supervise the student's work and act as his/her History advisor;
  • filed and received departmental approval of a Petition for Approval of Thesis/Examination/Project (only in the Public History and Specialized Options); and taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento.

Students must file their Advancement to Candidacy in the semester prior to enrolling in HIST 500, Culminating Experience.

Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with his/her History advisor. The completed form is then returned to the Graduate Coordinator and the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

Note: A foreign language is not a degree requirement. However, students who plan further graduate study in History are encouraged to study French, German, or another foreign language since proficiency in two foreign languages is usually required in doctoral programs.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (18 Units)
HIST 200History and Theory 3
Select one of the following:3
Interpreting World History
Interpreting U.S. History
Select one of the following:3
Research and Writing in US History
Research and Writing in the History of the American West
Research and Writing in World History
Select three of the following:9
Reading Seminar in African or Asian History
Reading Seminar in Ancient or Medieval European History
Reading Seminar in Modern European History
Reading Seminar: Topics in World History
Reading Seminar in Colonial or Early US History
Reading Seminar in Nineteenth Century US History
Reading Seminar in Modern US History
Reading Seminar: Topics in United States History
Electives (9 Units)
Select 9 units 19
Culminating Requirement (3 Units)
HIST 500Culminating Experience 23
Total Units30

No more than 9 units of supervisory courses (see the following) may be counted toward the degree.

HIST 295History Internship3
HIST 297Advanced Internship3
HIST 299Special Problems1 - 3
HIST 400The Teaching of History in College3
HIST 500Culminating Experience3