Master of Arts Degree Program

Master of Arts Program Information and Application

History MA Tips (Click image for video)

Requirements for Degree Completion (30-33 units)

A minimum of 30 or 33 semester units are required, depending on whether the program is completed by comprehensive examinations or a Thesis. At least 21 units must be in 5000-level courses.

Required Courses (6 units)

HIST 5000 (Introduction to Graduate Study in History) and HIST 5940 (Seminar in Historical Research and Writing) are required of all students, and are included in the 21 units of required 5000-level history coursework.

Depth Track or Global/Comparative History Track (15 units)

Students choose either a Depth Track or Global/Comparative History Track in History courses (with the HIST prefix) from among the following fields: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, United States, World.

Depth Track: In addition to HIST 5000 and 5940, students select three courses in a major field (at least two at the 5000 level) and two courses in a minor field (at least one at the 5000 level).

Global/Comparative History Track: In addition to HIST 5000 and 5940, students select five 5000-level courses distributed across at least four different fields.

Electives (6 units)

Select six units 4000 or 5000-level courses in history with adviser approval. Courses outside history may be substituted to maximum of 6 units, with adviser approval.


Completion of Program

Students may complete the program either by passing comprehensive examinations or by writing a thesis with the approval of the department Graduate Studies Committee.

1. Comprehensive Examinations (3 units)

All students pursuing the comprehensive exam option must complete a one-unit Capstone Preparation Courses (HIST 5910) for each of the three professors who will serve on their comprehensive exam committee. Students must meet with these professors prior to enrolling in HIST 5910 units.

For students in the Depth Track, comprehensive examinations must be passed in both the major and the minor fields. For students in the breadth option, comprehensive exams will cover and compare three fields covering three different geographic regions. Students may not register for the comprehensive examination prior to the last term in which they’re completing coursework

Download Complete policies and guidelines for comprehensive examinations (effective Fall 2016).

Students who were matriculated in the MA program prior to Fall 2016 should also consult the following document for information on how to complete comprehensive examinations in either three (quarter) fields or two (semester) fields: comps comparison for quarter-to-semester students.

2. Thesis (6 units)

Students must complete 18 units before formally beginning the Thesis Option. Students must maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in these 18 units, 12 of which must be 5000-level seminars.

Thesis students will register for 6 units of HIST 5990, for a program total of 33 units.

For further guidelines on thesis preparation, consult the History Department's grad bulletin and the College of Natural and Social Sciences Procedures for the Master's Thesis.


Program Planner

Download a copy of the program planner for the History M.A. degree in effect as of Fall 2019


History Courses: Semester Numbers and their Quarter Equivalents

Download a list of the History Department's semester courses (as of Fall 2016), with their quarter equivalents (pre-Fall 2016).