Master of Arts in History

Available Online

The Master of Arts in History offers a broad yet focused program of graduate training in historical research and writing. The MA in history online program is well-suited for teachers who would like a discipline-based master’s degree beyond the credential. It is also excellent preparation for a career with the State Department, teaching history at the community college, doctoral studies in history, or any career in the public or private sectors requiring advanced research, analytical, and writing skills.

The MA in history curriculum offers balanced coverage of the major theoretical, regional, comparative, thematic, topical, global, and epochal approaches to the research and writing of history. Students choose one of two tracks through the program, which both result in a significant master's project.

A research track equips students with the advanced research, analytical, and writing skills needed to produce historical scholarship of professional quality and to participate in the transformative and trenchant discussions of professional historians. At the conclusion of their course of study, students will write a traditional Master’s thesis. This will be the result of extensive historical research. Students interested in producing original scholarship and perhaps attending a PhD program should follow the thesis track.

Students who are currently history teachers or who aim to teach at the secondary or community college level and have little interest in doctoral studies or advanced research can choose a teaching option, which exposes students to contemporary, cutting-edge debates in American, European, and world history. At the conclusion of their course of study, students present a Master's Portfolio centering on recent and classic scholarship in specific fields of study related to the students' teaching interests.

Specific Program Admission Requirements: To be admitted to the Master of Arts in History program, students must have a Bachelor of Arts in History or a closely-related field in the social sciences or humanities. Students with a minor in history may be admitted after approval by the Program Lead Faculty.

Additional Program and Thesis Information

All students are encouraged to select a Research or Portfolio Advisor early in their program from the program faculty based on areas of interest and planned thesis or portfolio but they must choose an Advisor approved by the Program Lead Faculty no later than the start of their fifth course. The student’s program Faculty Advisor and faculty members teaching HIS 695 will give final approval to the student’s research prospectus.

Once their research or portfolio proposal has been approved, students initiate monthly contact with their Advisor, document their progress, and provide drafts of each chapter for review. Students should consult regularly with their Advisor regarding course selection and the progress they are making on their research or portfolio proposal. The program Faculty Advisor and faculty member teaching HIS 699 will give final acceptance to the Master’s thesis or portfolio as satisfying part of the requirements for the Master of Arts in History degree. Students are awarded an IP grade at the conclusion of HIS 699 and, if needed, have up to nine months after the end of HIS 699 to submit a completed thesis, multimedia project, or portfolio.

The expected (normative) time to completion of all requirements for the MA History program is two (2) years.

***Please note that HIS 699 should be taken at the end of the program.

To be considered for graduation a MA History candidate must submit the completed Master's Thesis or Master's Portfolio to the course instructor and the Faculty Advisor within one year of the start of HIS 699. The course instructor and the Faculty Advisor are responsible for evaluating the thesis or portfolio and determining whether the candidate has met the requirements for the MA in History as specified in the Thesis or Portfolio guidelines.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze the relationship between fact, method, theory, and interpretation of historical accounts.
  • Evaluate and interpret historical texts, in a multifaceted and nuanced manner.
  • Analyze the various ethical and professional issues that emanate from historical scholarship.
  • Develop a scholarship-based understanding of key historiographic theories and philosophies to a variety of historical subjects.
  • Pose questions and conduct historical research that engages disciplinary perspectives, uses relevant resources, and contributes to scholarly understanding.
  • Create sophisticated and professionally-informed written works or websites in a prose and visual style that is clear and effective.


(10 courses; 45 quarter units)

To receive the Master of Arts in History, students must complete at least 45 quarter units. A total of 4.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree, and provided the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. Coursework transferred from other universities must first have the approval of the Program Faculty Advisor. Students should refer to the General Catalog section on graduate admission requirements for specific information regarding admission and evaluation.

Core Requirements (6 courses; 27 quarter units)

Core Requisite(s):

Choose two of the following

Core Requisite(s):

Choose one of the following

Core Requisite(s):

Thesis/Portfolio core requirements

Core Requisite(s):

Program Electives (4 courses; 18 quarter units)