MA in Public History

Total units required for the MA:  36 including 9 units of supervised professional internship

Program Description

The Public History Program offers a two-year course of study leading to the Master of Arts as a degree option within the History Department. The program provides an integrated professional curriculum that includes specialized project and internship experience in several concentrations including: archives and manuscripts, business history, oral history, public history research and analysis, and historic preservation. All students pursue a common course of study, gain professional experience through a series of internships, and complete a master's project or thesis within their area of program specialization.

Program requirements meet the educational guidelines of the Society of American Archivists, the Oral History Association, and the National Council on Public History. Graduates are qualified for listing on the Professional Register of Public Historians maintained by the California Committee for the Promotion of History.

All applicants must meet the requirements for admission as a classified graduate student in History. Applicants are also encouraged (but not required) to submit both verbal and quantitative scores from the aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination with their admission application.

Applications are available from the History Department Office. Students who are not enrolled in the program may take public history courses on a space available basis, with instructor permission.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in the Standard and the Public History programs 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 file the Sacramento State Office of Graduate Studies for application for admission to the University, and complete the supplemental application for the Department of History. Please check with the Department office for the official deadline.

All applicants, including Sacramento State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470:

  • an online application for admission; and
  • one set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

For more admissions information and application deadlines please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Applicants must also file the following supplemental application:

  • a statement of purpose of at least 250 words. This statement should include reasons for applying to the master's program, career objectives and an explanation of how the program will help achieve them, relevant professional training, experience, internships, or volunteer activities, and any non-academic skills, interests, or notable accomplishments that may be pertinent to the application;
  • two letters of recommendation. Letters should ideally come from university instructors, but if these are not available, any other credible source who can address qualifications will be acceptable (i.e., work supervisor, clergy, or community leader);
  • academic writing sample (optional but highly encouraged).

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

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units required for the MA:  36 including 9 units of supervised professional internship

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 the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

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.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (12 Units)
HIST 202Interpreting U.S. History3
HIST 203Public History Principles and Techniques 3
HIST 282AResearch Seminar in Public History3
Select one of the following:3
History and Theory
History and Memory
Elective Courses (12 Units)
Select four of the following: 112
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
Archives and Manuscripts
Oral History: Theory and Practice
Museum Studies
Historic Preservation
Special Topics in Public History
Internship Requirement (9 Units)
HIST 295History Internship (course taken twice for a total of 6 units)3
HIST 297Advanced Internship3
Culminating Requirement (3 Units) 2
HIST 500Culminating Experience 33
Total Units36