MA Program Overview

The Master of Arts degree in History is a flexible advanced degree program supporting students with varied interests and academic backgrounds. We encourage both traditional and non-traditional students to consider our program. Bringing together students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in history, current middle and high school teachers, as well as individuals with a love and passion for history, our MA degree courses introduce you to advanced skills in historical research and provides opportunities for training in teaching and public history. We deepen students' knowledge of a wide range of subjects, through the unique expertise of our History Department faculty.

Our degree program is also grounded in the Bay Area. We therefore encourage MA students to explore internships, applied history projects, and community engagement opportunities, depending upon their interests. Cal State East Bay MA candidates also conduct original research in the astounding archives and libraries in the Bay Area and work with local organizations to build their professional resumes. Moreover, the Department of History at Cal State East Bay offers a number of "in-house" professional development opportunities, including our annual student research conference and publishing and editing the exceptional East Bay Historia journal and the well-regarded legacy publication of the California Historical Society, California History.

Graduate opportunities and financial resources are available through the Office of Graduate Studies


Concentrations

Upon entering the graduate program, candidates for the MA in History degree will select one of the following program concentrations, depending on their interests and upon approval of the Department of History Graduate Committee:

Generalist Concentration

For those pursuing the MA because of their enjoyment of the study of the past, or for those planning to continue their advanced education in a career field or another MA degree field, the generalist concentration offers both depth and flexibility. The capstone project consists of an examination.

 

Road Map:

FALL TERM SPRING TERM
YEAR 1
  • HIST 630 Historiography
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 610 Research Seminar
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
YEAR 2
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 651 Portfolio/Advising
  • HIST 692 Graduate Exam
  • HIST 652 Scholarly Practicum

See in Catalog

Teaching Concentration

For those who are currently teachers or hope to build careers as educators, the teaching concentration offers courses in the pedagogy of teaching history and opportunities to work with faculty in college history classrooms. The capstone project combines curricular design and historical thinking pedagogies.

Road Map:

FALL TERM SPRING TERM
YEAR 1
  • HIST 630 Historiography
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 610 Research Seminar
  • HIST 404 Intro Teaching History or
  • HIST 644 Teaching History Practicum
YEAR 2
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 651 Portfolio/Advising
  • HIST 699 Graduate Capstone
  • HIST 652 Scholarly Practicum

See in Catalog

Public History Concentration

The Public History Concentration encourages candidates to explore how the general public encounters and engages with the past. An internship is required. The capstone project can take many forms, including museum or archival curation, documentary filmaking, oral history, historic preservation, digital humanities, or other forms of popular history.

Road Map:

FALL TERM SPRING TERM
YEAR 1
  • HIST 630 Historiography
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 610 Research Seminar
  • HIST 402 Intro to Public History
YEAR 2
  • HIST 641 Graduate Internship or
  • HIST 642 Public History Practicum or
  • HIST 643 Digital History Practicum
  • HIST 651 Portfolio/Advising
  • HIST 699 Graduate Capstone
  • HIST 652 Scholarly Practicum

See in Catalog

University Thesis Concentration

MA students pursuing this concentration undertake a significant work of research as a formal University thesis. The concentration is designed for students hoping to pursue the Ph.D. in history. Students seeking to complete this concentration must receive approval from the Graduate Committee.

Road Map:

FALL TERM SPRING TERM
YEAR 1
  • HIST 630 Historiography
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 610 Research Seminar
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
YEAR 2
  • HIST 600 Reading Seminar
  • HIST 651 Portfolio/Advising
  • HIST 691 University Thesis
  • HIST 652 Scholarly Practicum

See in Catalog


How to Apply

Prospective students must complete an application through the University's Cal State Apply portal and submit a dossier to the Department of History Graduate Coordinator.

Cal State Apply:

For admission in the Spring semester, the application deadline is typically November 1, the semester prior. 
For admission in the Fall semester, the application deadline is typically May 1, the semester prior. 

Please see the University website for additional directions and exact deadlines.

We review applications and admit students on a rolling basis.

Dossier submission to Department of History Graduate Committee:

  • Two letters of recommendation (preferably from a person able to assess your academic work)
  • A statement of purpose
  • A writing sample (between 5 and 25 pages)
    • The sample should showcase your ability to write a research-based, fully-cited scholarly essay. Ideally, this will be an essay prepared for a history course in which you were enrolled, but essays written for other classes are acceptable. Or, please compose an original essay on an historical topic giving evidence of familiarity with historical writing and citation conventions
  • Unofficial copies of college transcripts (note that Cal State Apply requires official transcripts)

Please send all dossier materials to Dr. Linda Ivey, Graduate Coordinator, at linda.ivey@csueastbay.edu


The Capstone Project

Overview of the Capstone Project and approval process

 

Upcoming deadline: November 10, 2022
Please submit the proposal via email to the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Linda Ivey. 

Project Descriptions and Expectations

These descriptions will give you a general sense of the projects. Speak with a faculty member with any questions!

EXAMS -- HIST 692

The option consists of essay exams on an agreed upon range of topics and titles with a major examiner and a minor examiner.  Generally speaking, each exam has two questions: one question will be about content, holes in the literature and student research aspirations; the other about historiography, or the evolution of thought in the field.

  1. Major Examiner: 25-30 titles
  2. Minor Examiner: 12-15 titles

THESIS -- HIST 691

A fully integrative analysis based on primary research, but in conversation with secondary literature. The History thesis should be ~85-100 pages, including abstract and full bibliography and footnotes. A student wishing to complete a university thesis needs their capstone proposal to be approved by the graduate committee and primary thesis advisor before undertaking the project -- approval is not a given. Students should be in regular contact with the major advisor on the thesis throughout the project.  The second reader should see a fairly complete and edited version.  Must follow university guidelines and submission deadlines. Students are responsible for this timing, and for leaving suitable time for reading and revising advice from both readers.


CAPSTONE PROJECTS - TEACHING & PUBLIC HISTORY -- HIST 699

Students propose the nature of the project which should be curricular or pedagogical for the teaching option, and deal in history in a public space for the public history option. Exact details will be proposed by students and revised and agreed upon by the student’s primary capstone advisor, as assigned by the graduate committee. Every project must include the following deliverables:

  • A 3500-5000 word essay which situates the project in the literature, including the most recent pedagogical and/or state-of-the field scholarship, including recent thoughts on the climate in classrooms, museums, historical spaces, digital tool application, etc., etc.;
  • Learning outcomes for imagined students/audience;
  • The content and materials of the project itself*;
  • A full bibliography of all sources consulted, primary and secondary; 
  • Other agreed upon components by the student and major advisor;
  • A contract/checklist written by the student and signed by the student and major advisor as to what these specific deliverables will include.

*The type and amount of materials created for capstone projects vary greatly.  Please consult with faculty and/or the graduate coordinator for guidance.

For teaching projects: In general, students undertake a significant amount of research and compilation of materials and sources for a particular course and/or extended unit within a course. The extent to which this project should be fleshed out will be agreed upon by the student and the capstone advisor.  Materials may include, but are not limited to: learning outcomes; detailed  and diverse assessments; syllabus reflecting the particular, creative approach followed in the construction of the course.

For public history projects: In general, students undertake a significant amount of research and compilation of materials and sources for a historical exhibit/digital project/educational experience/community history project designed for public interaction and education. The extent to which this project should be fleshed out will be agreed upon by the student and the capstone advisor. The project should reflect a complete public historical project, reflective of research into the topic and into the way the topic is presented to a particular audience.

Capstone Proposal Template

Click here to open and download a general template for the capstone proposal.

Enrolling in Capstone Courses

The capstone courses are as follows:

HIST 691 - University Thesis (1-6 units); HIST 692 - Comprehensive Exam (for generalists, 1-6 units) or HIST 699 - Departmental Thesis (for Public History and Teaching History concentrations, 1-6 units). Each course carries 6 units. The option for "1-6 units" is for students who opt to break up the units for financial purposes. But each track requires 6 units of capstone work. 

Enrolling in these courses is contingent on your submitting a capstone proposal. The graduate committee must have an understanding of the project you hope to pursue before we will enroll you.  

Upon approval of your capstone project, the Graduate Coordinator enrolls you in the capstone units through an electronic form, which you sign. The Graduate Coordinator completes the form and sends it to you to sign via email. After approval for this special registration from the Department Chair and Dean's Office, you will see these units in your course schedule.

If you do not complete the project by the end of term: this is totally normal, do not sweat it. You will be assigned a grade of "RP", which basically means the work is in progress. This is pretty standard for graduate level independent research courses. If you receive an RP, you do not need to enroll again. Only enroll once (read: only pay once!). 

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