Degree Requirements

Catalog Description

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

Comprehensive Option

Students who pursue the comprehensive option are required to take:

  • Twenty-one (21) units of 200-level seminars: HIST 200, 201, 202, 209, 280, 281, and 400.
  • Six (6) units of electives at the 100- or 200-level.

Specialized Option

Students who pursue the specialized option are required to take:

  • Eighteen (18) units of 200-level seminars: HIST 200, 201 or 202, 209, and three 280 or 281 seminars.
  • Nine (9) units of electives. These may be at the 100- or 200-level.

Progress to Degree for Comprehensive and Specialized Options

We recommend that students enroll in a minimum course load of six units per semester and that incoming students who take nine units per semester take two graduate seminars and one undergraduate elective in their first year.

We strongly recommend that students enroll in HIST 200 (History and Theory) in either their first or second semester of the program, as this course provides important foundational material useful in other graduate seminars.

We recommend that students interested in taking HIST 400 (Teaching of History in College) enroll in this class in their second or third semester. This pedagogy-driven seminar is designed to help students prepare for college-level teaching. Students who have completed HIST 400 received priority when applying for paid Instructional Assistantships and grader positions.

We recommend that students enroll in HIST 209 (Research and Writing Seminar) toward the end of their tenure in the program, as the course requires students to draw on previous knowledge of historiography. This class can be a useful springboard towards an M.A. thesis and students who continue on to Ph.D. programs often use their final paper in HIST 209 as a writing sample for their applications.

Registration and billing are done online through MySacState. Students should look for their registration date and time each semester on their MySacState account, and register for classes as soon as possible for the fullest selection. Students will be billed for fees after registering and must pay by the posted date or they will be automatically disenrolled from classes. The History Department posts a tentative two-year graduate seminar schedule on its website to help students plan their classes. Please consult this to determine when seminars are likely to be offered in future semesters.

The Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

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 GWI course--are described on the Office of Graduate Studies web page.

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, students are qualified to advance to candidacy. To do so, students 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 (Master's exam or thesis credit). The deadline dates for submitting the form to the office are generally October 1 for spring registration and February 1 for the fall semester (please confirm on the Graduate Calendar or with the Office of Graduate Studies). Students cannot be advanced to candidacy unless they have passed or are exempt from the Writing Placement Exam (WPE) and cleared up any incompletes. They also cannot advance to candidacy until they have submitted a Petition for Thesis or Exam Approval (see below). Students will not be allowed to register for HIST 500 if they 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.

Students Admitted to the Program with "Conditional" Status

Students given "conditional" status upon admission to the program will need to apply for "classified" status once they have successfully fulfilled the conditions spelled out in their acceptance letters. To do so, students 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, students should obtain classified status as soon as possible.

Culminating Experience

Comprehensive Exams

Most students in the Standard History M.A. program (both comprehensive and specialized options) will fulfill their culminating requirement by passing a comprehensive written and oral examination.  For the comprehensive exam, students will be asked to complete a written essay exam in a major field (selected from department list and broad in scope) and a written exam in a minor field (narrower in scope) as well as pass an oral examination.

At the same time that students apply to advance to candidacy, they should obtain from the History Department office and complete the Petition for Approval of Examination. Students will not be permitted to advance to candidacy until their petition is approved. Students should secure the signatures of their examiners and the Graduate Director and return the form to the History Department office. Students who change exam field topics must fill out another Petition for Approval sheet and secure the signatures of the new examiner(s) and the signature of the Graduate Director.

All examination reading lists are created in consultation with the examination professor. History faculty offering 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.

Examinations will be given set days each semester and will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon (major field exam) and from 1:00 - 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 their exam. A limited number of seats are available for each exam date and students should contact the Graduate Secretary as soon as they are ready to reserve a seat. If a student needs to postpone their 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.

Master's 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;
  2. they have an average GPA in the graduate program of 3.50 at the time of their advancement to candidacy.

Students must complete the thesis within four semesters. Those who fail to do so will be required to complete comprehensive examinations in order to fulfill the culminating requirement.

When students apply to advance to candidacy, they should obtain from the History Department office and complete the Petition for Approval of Thesis. Students will not be permitted to advance to candidacy until this petition is approved. Students should secure the signatures of their readers and the Graduate Director and return the form to the History Department office. Students who change thesis topics must fill out another Petition for Approval sheet and secure the signatures of the new reader(s) and the signature of the Graduate Director.

Thesis writers must check the History Department graduate calendar for recommended deadlines for getting their thesis to the first and second readers. They should confirm these deadlines with their readers and make sure that there is enough time for faculty to comment and for students to revise their projects before the university deadline.

Before submitting a thesis or project for final signatures, students 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. Students who are unable to attend a workshop are required to take the Online Thesis Workshop and obtain a completion certificate before submitting their thesis. The Office of Graduate Studies has created a number of Thesis Formatting Guides to help students comply with university standards. They are available through the Office of Graduate Studies web page. It is also recommended that students schedule an appointment to meet with a Graduate Studies degree evaluator prior to the date they plan to submit their thesis in order to review sample pages and ensure correct formatting. Students should check the Graduate Calendar or with the Office of Graduate Studies for the deadline for thesis submission (generally, the last day of classes).

HIST 500

When students begin their last semester, they need to enroll in HIST 500 (Culminating Requirement). They should contact the Graduate Secretary and ask them to enroll them in HIST 500 at the end of the semester just prior to their last or at the beginning of their last semester. 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. Students must also obtain their 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: students cannot self-enroll in HIST 500 through MySacState.

Graduation

File a Graduation Application with the Office of Graduate Studies, paying the requisite fee. Petitions must be filed by February 1 to have the student's name appear in the Spring Semester Commencement program and by October 1 for the Fall Semester. Students are responsible for signing up to participate in the commencement ceremony.

The History Department holds its own Hooding Ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of both Fall and Spring graduates. The ceremony is held during finals week in the Hinde Auditorium in the University Union. This year, it will be held on May 17, 2017, at 5:30 p.m.

Loss of Candidacy

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