MA Program Overview

Our MA in History is a flexible advanced degree program supporting students with varied interests and academic backgrounds. Our program brings together recent B.A. students, future and current K-12 teachers, aspiring public historians and community college instructors, as well as, individuals with a scholarly passion for history and those who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in History. We provide the intellectual freedom for students to deepen their knowledge in a variety of subjects through the unique expertise of our faculty. Our faculty is particularly strong in twentieth-century American history, but we also specialize in a variety of topics ranging from ancient civilizations to the modern world.

Our degree program is all-encompassing, but is also grounded in the Bay Area. We encourage our MA students to explore internships, applied history projects, and community engagement opportunities across the region, while also supporting their research in archives and libraries across the nation and here at home in the Bay Area. Our Department also offers a number of "in-house" professional development opportunities, including the organization of and participation in the annual Wanda Washington Student Conference, as well as editing and publishing our award-winning scholarly journal, East Bay Historia. Our department also offers editorial opportunities with the well-regarded publication of the California Historical Society, California History.

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

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in our MA program in History! We are eager to support your successful application. If you have questions about the application process, please write to our Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Jason Daniels at

To ensure timely financial aid and advising consultation, we request that you submit your applications by the following deadlines:

  • For enrollment in Spring Semesters: November 1, by 11:59 PM (PST)
  • For enrollment in Fall Semesters: March 1, by 11:59 PM (PST)

Application to the MA program in History requires three components:


Please complete a university application through Cal State Apply, the California State University online application portal. Before initiating this university application, we ask that you review information about our MA program concentrations below. If necessary, you will be able to change your concentration in consultation with our faculty advisors, after you begin the MA program. We recommend that you save the Cal State Apply submission confirmation page for your records.


Request official final transcripts from all colleges and universities attended be sent to California State University, East Bay’s Office of Admissions. Institutions may send electronic transcripts to To be considered official, electronic transcripts must be sent from the institution directly to CSUEB.


In addition to the Cal State Apply application, we require a Departmental Application to assess candidates' interests and preparation for the History MA program. There is no cost associated with completing this online Departmental Application.

This Departmental Application will ask for the required items listed below.

Two letters of recommendation are required.
The Departmental Application form asks for the names and emails of two recommences. Requests for letters go directly to your references, and they can easily provide their letters via a secure link. We prefer letters from academic references over letters from nonacademic employers. Ideally, these letters should be from undergraduate instructors with whom you had sustained contact. Instructors of seminars and small, discussion-based classes will often have the best sense of your skills and interests.

A statement of purpose is required.
Your statement should be a 500-word essay to help our Graduate Committee understand your specific professional and personal goals in seeking an advanced degree in the discipline of history. Our Graduate Committee welcomes sincere statements offering a true reflection of your aspirations and hopes. If you did not undertake a comprehensive study of history as an undergraduate, your statement of purpose can help us to understand your interest in pursuing an MA degree in History.

A writing sample is required.
This should be a 10- to 20-page essay. The essay should be should give us insight into your analytical and creative efforts. A senior thesis or undergraduate seminar paper would be ideal. The sample should highlight your experience working with primary sources, secondary literature, and in making historical arguments. 

Unofficial transcripts are required.
Please provide copies of transcripts from institutions of higher learning that you have attended for our departmental review. These can be unofficial transcripts. At least one of these transcripts must indicate completion of a BA or BS degree. As a flexible degree program, we are happy to consider candidates with undergraduate degrees from any discipline. You may submit up to 6 unofficial college transcripts.


Capstone Concentrations

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 written exams on an agreed upon range of subjects and scholarly literature with a major examiner (25-30 titles) and a minor examiner (15-20 titles). In most cases, examinations pose two questions: one question assesses content knowledge, gleaned mainly from coursework; a second question assesses historiographical issues for areas of historical study.  

Teaching Concentration

For those who are aspiring or current K-12 teachers, as well as those interested in teaching at community colleges, the teaching concentration offers courses in the pedagogy of teaching history and opportunities to work with faculty in university history classrooms. The capstone project combines historical scholarship, pedagogy, and curricular design. Each project consists of a 3500-5000-word essay that situates the student’s project in the historical literature, recent pedagogical approaches, and original curriculum. 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. Materials may include, but are not limited to: learning outcomes, detailed and diverse assessments, syllabi reflecting the particular, creative approach followed in the construction of the course.

Public History Concentration

For those who are interested in public history, the public history concentration encourages candidates to explore how the general public encounters and engages with the past. The capstone project can take many forms, including museum or archival curation, documentary filmmaking, oral history, historic preservation, digital humanities, or other forms of popular history. Each project consists of a 3500-5000-word essay which situates the student’s project in the historical literature, recent public history approaches, and original public history research. 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 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.

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 intending to pursue the Ph.D. in history. A fully integrative analysis based on primary research, but in conversation with secondary literature, the history thesis should be approximately 85-100 pages, including abstract, full bibliography, and footnotes. A student wishing to complete a University Thesis must secure a primary advisor and second reader, along with Graduate Committee approval, before undertaking the project. Students should be in regular contact with the major advisor on the thesis throughout the project. University Theses must adhere to strict university guidelines and submission deadlines. Students are responsible for this timing, and for leaving suitable time for reading and revising advice from both readers.


MA Degree Program Roadmap

  • HIST 600: Reading Seminar (4 units)
  • HIST 630: Graduate Historiography (4 units)
  • HIST 600: Reading Seminar (4 units)*
  • HIST 610: Research Seminar (4 units)
  • HIST 652: Scholarly Practicum (2 units)
  • HIST 600: Reading Seminar (4 units)*
  • HIST 651: Portfolio/Advising (2 units)
  • HIST 699: Graduate Capstone (6 units)

*Depending on Capstone Concentration one HIST 600 may be substituted with HIST 402: Public History (4 units) or HIST 403: Teaching History (4 units).

Contact Us

Department of History
  • 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd
  • Student and Faculty Support (SF)
  • 4th Floor, Office 442
  • Hayward, CA 94542