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Master of Arts In History

Master of Arts in History

The MA in History at California State University, San Bernardino offers students the opportunity to further their study of history in an innovative, dynamic, and rigorous program.  It is intended to train future historians and promote the professional, career, and personal goals of its student population. It is designed to provide students a comprehensive understanding of the historical origins of the contemporary and increasingly globalized world.  Aspiring historians, current social studies teachers, and professionals that want to immerse themselves in the study of history will acquire a sophisticated understanding of current historical practices. The MA in History offers students the opportunity to go substantially beyond their undergraduate coursework, and obtain advanced skills in research, critical analysis, and writing, while gaining a comprehensive and global understanding of the history profession.

Click here for the 2023-24 CSUSB History MA Newsletter.

Program Learning Outcomes for MA in History 

A. Breadth and Depth of Historical Knowledge: students will obtain familiarity with multiple historiographical debates and be able to synthesize different types of historical knowledge.  Students should obtain a comparative global perspective on history.
B. Research and Presentation: students will be able to complete a substantial research thesis or project that will engage with primary research, demonstrate mastery of historical analysis, and be able to present this research through public presentation.
C. Understanding of the Historical Field: students will learn how to critically “think like a historian” through understanding the historical development of the discipline, ethical considerations of the field, and have appreciation for the relationship between history and other fields.

Admission to the Program

In addition to the general requirements of the university, specific requirements for admission to classified graduate status are:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in history or closely related field from an accredited college or university.  The baccalaureate degree must have included at least six upper-division courses in history;
  2. A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.5 overall and at least 3.0 ("B") in the student's undergraduate major.  In addition, applications must have obtained an overall 3.0 GPA or higher in upper-division history courses, or a bachelor’s degree with 18 units of upper-division courses in history.  These courses must be comparable to those required of a major in history at this University. 
  3. A brief statement (one to two double-spaced typewritten pages) describing the applicant's preparation for graduate study and professional goals (consider reading up on our faculty and note in your statement who you are interested in working with);
  4. A writing sample (at least 10 pages but not to exceed 25 pages) that demonstrates the applicant's ability to write analytical prose, to construct a reasoned argument based upon evidence, and to create a context for assessing the significance of what has been presented.
  5. Three letters of recommendation, with at least two from former professors. Letters should come directly from the recommenders or be included in a placement file. It is the applicant's responsibility to determine if letters have been received. It is assumed that students who request confidential letters to be submitted on their behalf have waived their right to view those letters as per FERPA (1974) requirements to maximize the confidentiality and integrity of the letters of reference. received. Applicants who do not wish to waive their right to view those letters are responsible for letting their letter-writers know in advance that they retain their right to view meet the letters.
  6. Additionally, we recommend that applicants preview our faculty in History (link), and consider which of the faculty you might be most interested in working with as your primary or secondary advisor. Based on your interests, you might reach out to a prospective faculty advisor and introduce yourself and what you might be interested in working on with them, and begin an early conversation.
  7. Finally, as you apply, we recommend that you also submit an application for scholarships and fellowships that are available through the Office of Graduate Studies (link). These are usually due in the first week of March. Consider submitting these applications on a contingent basis even before you hear back from the admissions committee about your MA in History application.

Deadline for application is Feb 7, 2025. Applications will open October 1.

CSUSB Advising Podcast with Matthew Markin Introducing the History MA Program

Apply Here, Starting October 1

Advancement to Candidacy

In order to be formally advanced to candidacy, which generally occurs in the middle of a student's second year, one must have:

  1. Achieved classified status;
  2. Secured a graduate advisor to supervise the course of study and a second faculty member for their advisory committee;  
  3. Completed the three core courses (9 units) of graduate course work and achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0 ("B") in those courses; 
  4. Satisfied the Graduate Writing Requirement with completion of at least one paper in the program that satisfies the program-specific Graduate Writing Requirement (GWR) rubric at the "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations" level (see Graduate Coordinator for more information).
  5. Filed a graduate program plan approved by the student's advisor and the coordinator of the program;
  6. Students who choose the thesis or project option must have filed a thesis or project proposal approved by all members of the student's graduate advisory committee.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Completion of a minimum of 30 semester units of acceptable graduate-level course work, with at least 23 units completed in residence at this university, at least 21 units must be at the 5000-6000 level;
  2. A grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all courses taken as part of the program, and grades of "C" (2.0) or better in all courses in the program. Grades of "C-" (1.7) or less cannot be used toward the degree.  Courses taken to fulfill undergraduate deficiencies do not count toward graduate program requirements;
  3. Satisfy the Graduate Writing Requirement with completion of at least one paper in the program that satisfies the program-specific Graduate Writing Requirement (GWR) rubric at the "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations" level (see Graduate Coordinator for more information);
  4. Successful completion of a culminating project (thesis, project, or portfolio).  The project or thesis may include an oral defense; 
  5. The program of study must not include more than six units of independent study course work, excluding the units allowed for thesis or project.
  6. Any additional requirements not cited above and listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements.

Degree Requirements (30 units)

Required Core Courses (15)

HIST 6001 - Historical Thinking and Research (3)

HIST 6002 - Topics in Global/World History (3)

HIST 6003 - Topics in United States History (3)

HIST 6004 - The Historian's Craft

HIST 6005 - Writing History

Elective Courses (9)

Electives must include nine units in advisor-approved graduate-level content courses, a minimum of two classes (6 units) of which must be in history. (9)

Cultural Skills Requirement (3)

In consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, students must complete a cultural skills requirement, which may be fulfilled in a variety of ways: 1) an examination on reading ability in a foreign language; 2) completion of a Study Abroad Program or other overseas program with a similar academic focus; 3) completion of an approved internship that fulfills the cultural skills requirement.  (3)

Culminating Project (3)

Students choose one of the following culminating project options:

HIST 6970 - Thesis
An M.A. thesis is a research project that is based on primary evidence and demonstrates a student’s mastery of historical research methods. It should present an original argument and contribute to the field. The thesis must be approved by the student’s MA committee made up of two full-time faculty members.

HIST 6960 - Graduate Project
The M.A. project is a cumulative project that is more practically based than the thesis option, that demonstrates historical research methods and contributes to the field. It must follow graduate manuscript guidelines and format requirements and be approved by the student’s MA committee made up of two full-time faculty members. 

HIST 6940 - Graduate Portfolio
The portfolio is a capstone project in lieu of the thesis or project that includes at least four academic writing samples made up of: 1) one historiographical essay written in one of the core 6000-level courses; and 2) one research essay based on primary sources and 25-35 pages in length, written with the goal of publication; 3) two historiographical essays written as part of take-home comprehensive examinations written in their final semester; and 4) a current resume or curriculum vitae. Students may also include a cultural skills reflection report if applicable. The portfolio will be evaluated by the student’s MA committee made up of two full-time faculty members.

Total Units: 30

Roadmap of MA Program

Roadmap of MA Program


Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Year 1

  • HIST 6001: Historical Thinking and Research
  • HIST 6002: Topics in Global/World History
  • HIST 6003: Topics in US History
  • HIST 6004: Historian's Craft
  • History Elective (Directed Reading Recommended)



  • Cultural Skills Requirement


Year 2

  • HIST 6005: Writing History
  • History Elective (Directed Reading Recommended)
  • History Elective


  • HIST 6970/6960/6940

If you have any questions, please email Professor Jeremy Murray (, Graduate Coordinator in the History Department.