The Master of Arts degree in History is designed to meet the varied needs and interests of students seeking an advanced degree in history. The program educates students in advanced skills in historical research, writing, interpretation and research, and provides opportunities for training in teaching and public history. Four options permit students to plan their coursework to best suit their goals within the overall program requirements and the range of courses offered.
The program includes graduate course offerings in historical research and historiography, conference (seminar) courses, undergraduate or graduate elective units, and a culminating master’s project. Elective units may be taken in other fields with the approval of the graduate coordinator. The master’s project may be a university thesis, examinations in major and minor fields, a public history project or a graduate teaching project, depending on the option chosen.
Because the majority of students in the master’s program are employed full-time during the day, graduate courses are offered in the evening, usually on a one-night-a-week basis, in fall, winter, and spring quarters. This schedule allows students time to complete regular assignments, carry on research, and make regular progress toward the M.A. degree.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students graduating with an M.A. in History from Cal State East Bay will be able to:
- possess advanced knowledge of United States history and the history of at least one other geographical region;
- understand major arguments and themes in contemporary historiography, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to historical study, and humanistic values;
- demonstrate familiarity with Bay Area research libraries, archives, special collections, and digital sources;
- possess advanced writing and interpretive skills for analyzing both secondary and primary sources, and demonstrate advanced research abilities;
- complete a major independent project in history;
- observe the standards of academic integrity and attribution of sources, and practice the values of the historical profession, including ethics and standards for work in research libraries, on the Internet, at professional conferences, and at interviews for employment.
The master’s program is especially suited to individuals interested in enhancing their careers as secondary school teachers, in qualifying as community college faculty, or training as historical editors, archivists, museum professionals and Bay Area or California historians. It is also useful for individuals interested in retraining for careers in history or in preparing for doctoral programs in history.
Although most graduate students find it convenient to specialize in American and California history, the History Department faculty also includes specialists in European, Asian, and Latin American history. Qualified graduate students may usually carry out research and specialize in these areas as well. The full-time faculty are professional scholars, widely published in their respective fields and active in regional and national historical associations. The department has many years’ experience in advising and training master’s students in history.
All History graduate students may complete their degrees with culminating examinations in a major and a minor field, selected in consultation with their graduate committees. Students may also choose one of three other options: Teaching, Public History, or University Thesis. These options are distinguished chiefly by their capstone projects, but the Teaching and Public History options also include courses especially designed for the field. Students must apply to the department for permission to complete their programs in any of the three options.
HIST 6010 and 6030
All graduate students are required to take HIST 6010 - Seminar in History , and HIST 6030 - Graduate Historiography . These two important seminars provide students with first-hand experience in primary source research in Bay Area collections and libraries and on the Internet, and with advanced knowledge of trends in the study of historical interpretation and writing, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to history, humanistic values in history and ethical standards. Students are urged to take these two courses in their first year of graduate study. Proficiency in information literacy is required for each course.
Research opportunities in Bay Area and California history abound at the University of California, Berkeley; the Bancroft Library; the National Archives at San Bruno; and numerous private collections in the region. The University Library provides excellent reference, Internet, and interlibrary loan services and contains substantial print and microfilm holdings.
History graduate students are encouraged to gain experience in applied history through internships at historical agencies in the Bay Area, depending on availability. Internships, like all formal appointments, entail an application process and interview. Internships are nearly always non-paying, but all graduate students are eligible to enroll in up to 4 units of HIST 6901 - Internship in Public History , as a substitution for an elective in the program (see Degree Requirements below).
Pending annual funding, students may also acquire experience in lower-division teaching through paid Readerships, upon application to the History Department.
Qualified history graduate students are eligible for graduate financial aid through the loan and fellowship programs administered by the Financial Aid Office. Small scholarships, pending available funds, are awarded annually to assist graduate students in completing their master’s projects.
Admission to the master’s program generally requires a B.A. degree major in History, or the equivalent, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 (“B”) in the last two years of undergraduate work and 3.25 (“B+”) in history. A one-page statement of purpose, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation must accompany applications. In addition, applicants must submit their scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) to the History Department office. Interested students with degrees in related disciplines, such as American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Political Science, Art or Theater History, and Literature, and suitable academic backgrounds in history are encouraged to apply but will be required to complete prerequisite coursework in history.
Students without necessary background in research or writing may also be admitted to the program as “Conditionally Classified Graduate” students with the requirement that they complete HIST 4030 and/or HIST 4031 at a specified grade level before being admitted to “Classified Graduate” status. Students meeting all admissions requirements, and who have satisfied the University Writing Skills Requirement, are eligible to be admitted as “Classified Graduate” students. Applicants should consult with the History Graduate Coordinator for advising. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing or call 510.885.3661.