Jun 12, 2024  
2016-2017 CSU East Bay Catalog 
2016-2017 CSU East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, Teaching Option, M.A.

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History (M.A.) 45 units

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 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:

  1. possess advanced knowledge of United States history and the history of at least one other geographical region;
  2. understand major arguments and themes in contemporary historiography, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to historical study, and humanistic values;
  3. demonstrate familiarity with Bay Area research libraries, archives, special collections, and digital sources;
  4. possess advanced writing and interpretive skills for analyzing both secondary and primary sources, and demonstrate advanced research abilities;
  5. complete a major independent project in history;
  6. 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.

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.


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.

Option Areas

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 and HIST 6030. 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.

Distinctive Features

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, as a substitution for an elective in the program (see “Electives” 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.

Upper Division Courses Acceptable for the Master’s Degree

All History courses in the 3000-4000 series except HIST 3400, HIST 4030, and HIST 4031 are acceptable courses in a master’s program.

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition students must meet the requirements of Advancement to Candidacy confirming that a student is prepared to finish the degree and is recommended as a degree candidate. A Classified Graduate student in good standing is eligible to be advanced to candidacy for the master’s degree after:

  1. completing 12 quarter units applicable to the degree program
  2. completing HIST 6010 and HIST 6030 
  3. submitting a proposal for the Master’s thesis, project, or two fields of examination to the Graduate Committee
  4. obtaining the Graduate Coordinator’s approval of the student’s committee, comprised of at least two faculty members.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts degree in History consists of 45 units. Each of the four options in the master’s program requires a prescribed program of 45 units listed below. Reading proficiency in a foreign language is strongly encouraged, especially for those planning to pursue doctoral degrees or research careers.

Conference Courses (12-16 units)

Complete three to four conference courses, depending on choice of option (below) in at least two different areas.

  • Generalist options students must complete sixteen (16) units of Conference Courses.
  • Public History option students must twelve (12) units of Conference Courses.
  • Teaching option students must complete twelve (12) units of Conference Courses.
  • University Thesis option students must complete twelve (12) units of Conference Courses; one conference course in the general area of the thesis topic. The same course number may be taken more than once if the content is significantly different.

Electives (8-12)

Eight (8) to twelve (12) units of upper division or graduate courses in History, depending on choice of option.

  • Generalist option students must take twelve (12) units of electives.
  • Public History option students must take eight (8) units of electives and may select, with the approval of the Public History and Internship Coordinator and the Graduate Coordinator, courses in other disciplines specific to their professional goals.
  • Teaching option students must take eight (8) units of electives.
  • University Thesis option students must take twelve (12) units of electives.

All students may substitute HIST 6901 - Internship in Public History  and/or HIST 6900 - Independent Study  for 4-8 units of electives, with approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

Option Requirements (4-12 units)

Students must select one of the options outlined below. Students are required to consult with the Graduate Coordinator regarding the selection of their conference courses and electives above, and for guidance in obtaining required approval for their chosen capstone project.

Teaching Option

Required course (4 units)

Capstone Experience (8 units)

Course Descriptions

Use this link to see all Course Descriptions  available throughout this catalog.

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the university requirements for graduation as described in the Graduate/Post-Baccalaureate Admission and Degree Information  chapter in this catalog. These include the 32-unit residence requirement, the five year rule on currency of subject matter, the minimum number of units of 6000-level courses, the 3.00 grade point average, and the University Writing Skills Requirement. For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office website at www.csueastbay.edu/testing or call 510.885.3661.

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