Standard history M.A. program requirements

(comprehensive and specialized options)

Catalog description

Requirements for all of the History M.A. programs can be viewed online in the University Catalog.

Special requirements for students admitted prior to Fall 2008

Students admitted prior to fall 2008 have a different set of requirements to meet for their degrees.  Please check the appropriate catalog year to ascertain the specific requirements that apply to you. 

Beginning in fall 2008 some graduate seminars were eliminated, renamed, or renumbered.  If you were admitted prior to fall 2008, please note the following changes that may affect your degree requirements

1. HIST 201 European Historiography is no longer being offered. You may fulfill this requirement by enrolling in HIST 200 History and Theory. The new HIST 201 Interpreting World History course is not required for students admitted prior to fall 2008, but it can be taken as an elective.

2. HIST 200 A, B, or C Research and Writing Seminars have been renumbered as HIST 209 A, B, or C. Otherwise, this course requirement remains unchanged.

3. HIST 202, formerly named Seminar in American Historiography, is now named Interpreting U.S. History. Otherwise, this course requirement remains unchanged.

Guidelines for students in the Standard Program

Before the beginning of your first semester. Schedule an advising appointment with the Director of Graduate Studies to review program requirements and recommendations. Make sure that you subscribe to the graduate email distribution list, HGRAD-L.

The GWAR (Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement). All graduate students at Sacramento State are required to demonstrate their writing proficiency prior to advancement to candidacy by fulfilling a Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement.  Students in the history department can fulfill this requirement by successfully completing HIST 200 or HIST 203 with a grade of B or higher. Other methods for fulfilling this requirement—including meeting one of the university equivalency standards or taking the WPG exam and a GWI course—are described on the Office of Graduate Studies web site. 

Note for students admitted prior to August 2010:
The GWAR replaces the old university WPE requirement.

Registering for classes and paying fees. Registration and billing is all done online through MySacState. Look for your registration date and time each semester on your MySacState account, and register for classes as soon as possible for the fullest selection.  You will be billed for fees after you register and must pay by the posted date or you will be automatically un-enrolled from classes. In order to assist you in planning your courses, the History Department posts on its web site a TENTATIVE two year graduate seminar schedule. Please consult this to determine when seminars are likely to be offered in future semesters.

Course load and seminars for standard history (comprehensive option). You are required to take twenty-one (21) units of 200 level seminars: HIST 200, 201, 202, 209, 280, 281, and 400. Your six (6) units of electives may be at the 100 or 200 level. It is recommended you enroll in a minimum course load of six units per semester, but be wary of taking more than two graduate seminars in any given semester as you might find the workload overwhelming.  It is strongly recommended that you enroll in HIST 200 (History and Theory) in either the first or second semester of the program, as this course provides important foundational material useful in other graduate seminars.  HIST 400 (Teaching of History in College) is a pedagogy-driven seminar that is designed to help you prepare for college-level teaching, and it should be taken a semester or two into your program.  Students who have completed HIST 400 receive priority when apply for paid Instructional Assistantships and Teaching Adjunct positions.  Finally, it is recommended that you enroll in HIST 209 (Research and Writing Seminar) toward the end of your program, as the course requires you to draw on previous knowledge of historiography, and it can be a useful springboard toward a Masters thesis.

Course load and seminars for standard history (specialized option). You are required to take eighteen (18) units of 200 level seminars: HIST 200, 201 or 202, 209, and three 280 or 281 seminars. Your nine (9) units of electives may be at the 100 or 200 level. It is recommended you enroll in a minimum course load of six units per semester, but be wary of taking more than two graduate seminars in any given semester as you might find the workload overwhelming.  It is strongly recommended that you enroll in HIST 200 (History and Theory) in either the first or second semester of the program, as this course provides important foundational material useful in other graduate seminars.  It is also recommended that you enroll in HIST 209 (Research and Writing Seminar) toward the end of your program, as the course requires you to draw on previous knowledge of historiography, and it can be a useful springboard toward a Masters thesis.  If interested, you may enroll in HIST 400 (Teaching of History in College) for elective credit.

Students admitted to the program with “conditional” status. If you were given “conditional” status upon admission to the program, you will need to apply for “classified” status once you have successfully fulfilled the conditions spelled out in your acceptance letter. To do so, you need to fill out an Application for Classification, have it signed by the Director of Graduate Studies, and then submit it to the History Department office.  To receive priority registration for classes, you should obtain classified status as soon as possible.

Advancement to candidacy. After completing twelve (12) units in the graduate program, including at least one 200-level seminar, and maintaining a 3.0 GPA, you are qualified to advance to candidacy.  To do so, you need to fill out an Advancement to Candidacy Form and have it signed by the Director of Graduate Studies. This MUST be submitted to the History Department the semester prior to registering for HIST 500 (Masters exam or thesis credit). The deadline dates for submitting the form to the office are generally October 1 for spring registration and March 1 for the fall semester (please confirm on the graduate calendar or with the Office of Graduate Studies). You cannot be advanced to candidacy unless you have passed or are exempt from the WPE and cleared up any incompletes.  You also cannot advance to candidacy until you have submitted a petition for thesis or exam approval (see below). You will not be allowed to register for HIST 500 if you have not advanced to candidacy. No exceptions will be made. Paper copies of the forms are available in the History Department or from the Graduate Office.

Note: you cannot self-enroll in HIST 500 through MySacState.
Please use the HIST 500 petition

Culminating Experience: Comprehensive Exams. Most students in the Standard History M.A. program (Comprehensive and Specialized) will fulfill their culminating requirement by passing a comprehensive written and oral examination. For the comprehensive exam, you will be asked to complete a written essay exam in a major field (selected from departmental list and broad in scope) and a written exam in a minor field (narrower in scope) as well as pass an oral examination. For more information about exams, please see the Department of History Policy on Exams and Theses. At the same time that you apply to advance to candidacy, please obtain from the History Department office and complete the Petition for Approval of Examination. You will not be permitted to advance to candidacy until your petition is approved.  Secure the signatures of your examiners and the Graduate Director and return the form to the History Department office. If you change exam field topics you must fill out another Petition for Approval sheet and secure your new examiner(s) signature and the Graduate Director’s signature.

All examination reading lists are created in consultation with the examination professor.  History faculty offer major field examinations in World History and Modern European History have created a World History Core Reading List and a Modern European History Core Reading List to guide book selections in those fields. History faculty offering major field exams in Ancient/Medieval History and in U.S. History (1865-present) will develop a reading list with each student on a one-on-one basis.

For students admitted for Fall 2010 or later, examinations will be given on set days each semester and will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon (major field exam) and from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (minor field exam). Please consult the posted History M.A. Examination Dates, which will be available at the beginning of each semester. Examinations will be given in the History Department conference room, where each student will be supplied with a computer to type his/her exam. A limited number of seats are available for each exam date, so please contact the Graduate Secretary as soon as you are ready to reserve a seat. If for any reason you need to postpone your exam, please let the Graduate Secretary know as well so that she can free up a seat for another student. Students who pass both portions of their written exam will follow up with a one-hour oral exam before their entire committee. The oral exams should be scheduled in consultation with all the involved professors. It is permissible (and encouraged) to schedule the oral examination date/time in advance of receiving the written exam results so as to accommodate everyone’s schedules. The oral examination date can be changed or canceled if the need arises.

Students admitted prior to Fall 2010 are guided by the pre-2010 Policy for Masters Exams. For Spring and Fall 2012, these students have the option of taking their major and minor field written exams on separate days or on the same day. They also may choose to take them on the pre-scheduled examination dates or to schedule them independently for a separate date and time (please contact the Graduate Secretary to schedule exams). Beginning Fall 2013, all students will be required to take their examinations on the pre-set examination dates, regardless of when they entered the program. 

Culminating Experience: Masters Thesis. Students may opt to write an M.A. thesis in lieu of taking comprehensive exams, provided that they meet the following conditions:  1) they receive a grade of A- or higher in HIST 209, and 2) they have an average GPA in the graduate program of 3.50 at the time of advancement to candidacy.  For more information on the M.A. Thesis, please see the Department of History Policy on Exams and Theses. You must complete the thesis within four semesters. If you fail to do so you will be required to complete comprehensive examinations in order to fulfill the culminating requirement. At the same time that you apply to advance to candidacy, please obtain from the History Department office and complete the Petition for Approval of Thesis. You will not be permitted to advance to candidacy until your petition is approved.  Secure the signatures of your readers and the Graduate Director and return the form to the History Department office. If you change exam field topics you must fill out another Petition for Approval sheet and secure your new reader(s) signature and the Graduate Director’s signature.

In preparing to submit your thesis, it is important to plan ahead. Check the History Department graduate calendar for recommended deadlines for getting your thesis to the first and second readers.  Confirm these deadlines with your readers and make sure that this will leave them enough time to read your work and leave you enough time to revise your thesis/project as needed.  Remember that the more polished your thesis/project, the more likely that you will be able to meet the university deadlines and graduate. Before submitting a thesis or project for signatures, you are required to attend a Thesis/Project formatting workshop offered by the Office of Graduate Studies. Check the History Department Graduate Calendar, or with the Office of Graduate Studies, for dates and times of these workshops. If you are unable to attend a workshop, you are required to take the Online Thesis Workshop and obtain a completion certificate before submitting your thesis.  To assist you in preparing to print your thesis or project, the Graduate Office has created a number of Thesis Formatting Guides, all available through this link or at the Office of Graduate Studies web site. Please follow these carefully. It is also recommended that you schedule an appointment to meet with a Graduate Studies degree evaluator PRIOR to the date you plan to submit your thesis in order to review sample pages and make sure your formatting is correct. Check the graduate calendar or with the Office of Graduate Studies for the deadline for submission of theses (generally the last day of classes).

Your last semester and AFTER completing “I” grades on your record. Have the graduate secretary enroll you in History 500.  To enroll in HIST 500, pick up the HIST 500 petition ("Special Problems Petition for Culminating Requirement") form from the History Department. Fill it out and circle thesis or exam. You must also obtain your major field advisor’s signature. Turn in the form during the first two weeks of the semester that you would like to be enrolled in HIST 500. Note: you cannot self-enroll in HIST 500 through MySacState. 

Graduation. File a Graduation Application with the Graduate Office, paying the requisite fee. Petitions must be filed by February 1 to have your name appear in the spring semester commencement program and October 1 for the fall semester. You are responsible for signing up to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Loss of Candidacy. You have seven years to complete your degree. This rule is strictly enforced. Loss of candidacy is determined seven years from the date of your first coursework counted toward the degree listed on your Advancement to Candidacy form. The expiration date for your candidacy is noted on the bottom of your Advancement to Candidacy form. Leaves of absence are counted in the seven-year limitation. Re-instatement after loss of candidacy is sometimes possible but is cumbersome, expensive, and time consuming.