Jul 22, 2024  
2020-2021 Cal State East Bay Catalog 
2020-2021 Cal State East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, M.A.: Public History Concentration

History, M.A. Program

Program Description

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 areas of concentration 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, a  portfolio course, reading seminars, graduate elective units, a scholarly practicum, and a culminating master’s experience. Elective units may be taken in other fields with the approval of the History Graduate Coordinator. The Master’s culminating experience may be a university thesis, examinations in major and minor fields, a public history project or a graduate teaching project, depending on the concentration 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 and spring semesters. This schedule allows students time to complete regular assignments, carry on research, and make regular progress toward the M.A. degree.


The History Department faculty includes specialists in Ancient, European, Asian, Latin American, U.S., U.S. West, and California history as well as the history of sustainability, the history of American diversity and social justice movements, world history, public history, and digital humanities. 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.

Areas of Concentration

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 areas of concentration: Teaching, Public History, or University Thesis. These concentrations are distinguished chiefly by their capstone projects, but the Teaching and Public History concentrations also include courses especially designed for the field. Students must apply to the department for permission to complete their programs in any of the four concentrations.

HIST 610 and 630

All graduate students are required to take HIST 610, Seminar in Historical Research, and HIST 630, 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 will take these two courses in their first year of study. Proficiency in information literacy is required for each course.

Reading Seminars

The reading seminars are courses in important and current historical scholarship in a specific subfield or topic.  The topics of our reading courses will vary depending on the instructor, according to his or her specialty and interests.  The goals of these courses are to enrich students’ subject matter knowledge in  a specific field, but, as importantly, to train them how to read, analyze, and critique works of academic history.  As this are the goals of the reading courses in general, regardless of the students’ or instructors’ individual research interests, we have assigned one course number to the class.  

Distinctive Features

The graduate degree offered at CSU East Bay is an M.A .in History, with the option to pursue different career tracks.  Thus, students who are interested in teaching or public history, for example, will be educated as Historians, first and foremost, including training in archival research and historiography.  Students are also exposed to, and encouraged to master, historical approaches for the digital age, thinking in fresh ways about pedagogy in the classroom and the public sphere.   This is a key distinction of this program, and an important quality for the 21st century job market.  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.

Career Opportunities

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.

Admission Requirements

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. 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 400 and/or 401 at a specified grade level before being admitted to “Classified Graduate” status. Students meeting all admissions requirements and the MCC-GRADIR- Graduation Requirement in Writing Proficiency [GRADUATE] (GDRP)  are eligible to be admitted as “Classified Graduate” students. Applicants should consult with the History Graduate Coordinator for advising. For information on meeting the required University Writing Skills Requirement, contact the Testing Office at (510) 885-3661.

Student Standing and Progress Toward the Degree

There are three categories of student status, which reflect student progress toward the degree: “Conditionally Classified Graduate” student, “Classified Graduate” student, and Advancement to Candidacy.

  • Generally, students admitted to the program receive “Classified Graduate” status if they have the required background in Historical studies and have met the UWSR.
  • Certain students may be admitted as “Conditionally Classified Graduate” when they do not yet possess the required background in historical studies as determined by the Graduate Committee of the department and/or have not met the UWSR. Those students must complete specified coursework (generally HIST 400 and 401 and possibly additional prerequisites) and satisfy the UWSR in order to receive “Classified Graduate” status.
  • Students are Advanced to Candidacy when they have completed a minimum of 15 units of master’s coursework with a 3.0 or better cumulative GPA, and satisfied the University Writing Skills requirement.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with an M.A. in History from Cal State East Bay will be able to:

  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge of United States history and the history of at least one other geographical region;
  2. analyze major arguments and themes in contemporary historiography, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to historical study, and humanistic values and evaluate their validity;
  3. make use of Bay Area research libraries, archives, special collections, and digital sources;
  4. analyze both secondary and primary sources, and demonstrate advanced research abilities;
  5. develop and compose a major independent research project in history;
  6. design an individual portfolio showcasing advanced historical work and create work suitable for publication or presentation in your chosen field;
  7. identify the standards of academic integrity and attribution of sources, and apply 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.

History Degree Requirements (30 units)

Prerequisites or Foundation Requirements

A strong undergraduate background in history or related fields is expected. Reading proficiency in a foreign language is strongly encouraged, especially for those planning to pursue doctoral degrees or research careers.


Students must select one (1) of the following concentrations for 8 units:

Public History Concentration

Students are required to complete 8 units from the following to fulfill the concentration:

History, M.A. Capstone Requirement

A capstone course is required to complete the degree.  Take the following capstone for 6 units as outlined for each concentration:

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the University requirements for graduation as described throughout this catalog. These include the 70% unit residence requirement; the five-year rule on currency of subject matter; the minimum number of units in 600-level courses; the “C” minimum grade for each graduate course; the 3.00 cumulative grade point average; and the University Writing Skills Requirement.

Note: For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see Graduate Degree Requirements & Policies  or call the Testing Office at (510) 885-3661.

Department Courses Listed by Course Type

History Courses

Department of History

Go to information for this department.


History: Applied

History: Lower Division

History: Graduate

History: Migration and Globalization

History: Social Justice and Citizenships

History: Sustainability and Modernization

History: Skills Courses

History: Additional Courses