History, M.A.


Department of History

Ethan Kytle, Chair
Social Science Building, Room 101

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in History, B.A.
CERT in American History, Certificate of Adv. Study
MA in History, M.A.
MA in History - Teaching Option, M.A.
MN in History, Minor
MN in Jewish Studies, Minor

Courses Offered


History is the study of humanity’s recorded past. It encompasses all aspects of human behavior, social organization, and cultural development. The arts and the sciences, the development of technology, and changing economic forces are as much a part of history as is politics or social conflict.

Students of history are engaged in a journey through time in which they can witness and compare the development of a variety of cultures and the interrelations between people in many different circumstances. Through the study of past events, history provides a great storehouse of experience by which the theories of the other social sciences can be tested. And through its analysis of the development of institutions and cultures, it provides one of our best tools for understanding social phenomena.

History is also one of the broadest and most universal of the humanities. Just as the personalities of individuals are shaped through the totality of their past experiences, so cultures and institutions also develop in time. The study of history can help students understand themselves and their culture better and develop a more tolerant and humane spirit toward others. In this way, as in so many others, a knowledge of the past can help all of us meet the problems of today with greater understanding and compassion.


The History Department offers a major and minor in history for the Bachelor of Arts degree, a graduate program leading to the Master of Arts, and courses for use in the teaching credential program. It participates in the interdisciplinary programs and minors in Armenian studies, Asian studies, classical studies, Latin American studies, Russian area studies, and women's studies. History courses may also be used as electives toward graduation in most other majors, and the History Department encourages students to take minors and second majors in other fields as well.

The History Department is a chartered member of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society. Our chapter is Alpha Kappa Beta.


Master of Arts Degree Requirements

(See Division of Research and Graduate Studies.)

Graduate history courses are open only to program students or by instructor's permission.

The History Department offers a 30-unit Master of Arts program with a traditional track and a teaching option. The traditional track offers two different Culminating Experience choices, as described below:

Traditional Track

A. Core (15 units)
HIST 200A, 200B, 210T, 220T, 230T
Note: HIST 200A/B must be taken within the first year of enrollment in the history program.

B. Electives (6 units)
Students will select 6 additional units from HIST 210T, 220T, 230T. (Students may repeat course numbers but may not repeat topics.)

C. History Practicum (3 units)
HIST 297

D. Culminating Experience (6 units)

I. Thesis option: 6 units of HIST 299A-B.

II. Examination option: 6 additional units from HIST 210T, 220T, 230T, plus a written comprehensive examination in three fields chosen from among the following. (No more than two fields may be taken from any group.)

Group I: (a) Ancient History, (b) Medieval History, (c) Early Modern Europe to 1815, (d) Modern Europe since 1815.

Group II: (a) The United States to Reconstruction, (b) The United States since Reconstruction.

Group III: (a) Latin America, (b) Asia, (c) Africa.

Total (30 units)

No more than two examinations may be taken from any group. Not all fields will be available at all times.

Comprehensive examinations are given during the first week in November and the first week in April of each year. If students fail an exam they will be allowed to retake it once. For other specifics, consult the department graduate advisor; for general requirements see the Division of Research and Graduate Studies and Research.

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts program in History is designed to extend the competence of persons engaged in a wide variety of fields requiring a broad grasp of historical knowledge, techniques, and interpretation. Within this degree program, students may choose to complete either a traditional track or a teaching option. The traditional track, which offers both thesis and examination as possible culminating experiences, best satisfies the needs of those interested in public service, teaching at the community college level, or pursuing advanced graduate study in history. The teaching option best satisfies the needs of those interested in enhancing their teaching of history primarily at the secondary level.

The Graduate Certificate program is most suitable for those teachers who would like to update their professional credentials, those seeking supplemental certification, those seeking to prepare for the CSET, and/or those who would simply like to continue their study of history but who do not require an M.A.

Prerequisites. Admission to the Master of Arts degree program in History assumes undergraduate preparation equivalent to this university's major in history. Majors from other disciplines may qualify for admission depending on grade point average and other factors deemed pertinent for success in historical studies. The department determines in each case whether the applicant needs additional preparation before receiving classified standing. Applicants to the Teaching Option must have either a teaching credential or special approval from the graduate coordinator prior to applying.

Graduate Writing Requirement. The graduate writing requirement will be met by submission of a 15- to 20-page research paper formatted according to disciplinary style. The graduate writing committee will meet twice a year -- November 15 and March 14 -- to assess student writing. Detailed guidelines can be found in the Department of History's Graduate Student Handbook or by consulting the graduate coordinator.


The Department of History has more than 15 faculty members offering a wide variety of courses in the history of Europe, the United States, Latin America, the British Empire, Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East, as well as courses in intellectual and cultural history, social history, military history, and the history of women.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.