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MA in Public History
The Master of Arts in Public History degree program trains the next generation of public historians. Our location at the capital means greater access to internship and employment opportunities. Our faculty work in the field, helping students to meet real world challenges, build resumés, and network. The degree program emphasizes both theoretical and practical skills in history and public history. Students complete a variety of coursework across the public history spectrum, including archives, museums, cultural resources management, historic preservation, podcasting, oral history, and more. Students develop practical skills in completing three internships during their degree program. Please visit our Internships page to learn more about the wide range of internship opportunities we offer through our many community partnerships.
Admission as a classified graduate student in the Standard and the Public History programs requires:
- a baccalaureate degree;
- an undergraduate major in History, OR a minimum of 27 semester units in History, or a closely related field, approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Fifteen of the units must be upper division and include one seminar from the HIST 192 series (or equivalent) and one seminar from HIST 197 series (or equivalent); and
- a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units attempted and a minimum 3.25 GPA in History courses.
Students who have deficiencies in admission requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted to the degree program with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a written response to the admission application. The department Graduate Coordinator will specify courses to be taken by students with fewer than 27 units of history and/or without the required seminars. Work taken to remove such deficiencies may not be counted toward the master's degree.
Applicants should file two applications: one to the Sacramento State Office of Graduate Studies for admission to the University, and the other to the Department of History for classified status in the History master's program. Please check with the Department office for the official deadline.
All applicants, including Sacramento State graduates, must file the following with the Office of Graduate Studies, River Front Center 215, (916) 278-6470:
- an online application for admission; and
- two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.
For more admissions information and application deadlines please visit https://www.csus.edu/gradstudies/.
Applicants must also file the following with the Sacramento State History Department:
- a Department Application for Admission (available through the History Department office or Web site);
- a statement of purpose of at least 250 words. This statement should include reasons for applying to the master's program, career objectives and an explanation of how the program will help achieve them, relevant professional training, experience, internships, or volunteer activities, and any non-academic skills, interests, or notable accomplishments that may be pertinent to the application;
- two letters of recommendation. Letters should ideally come from university instructors, but if these are not available, any other credible source who can address qualifications will be acceptable (i.e., work supervisor, clergy, or community leader);
- a set of transcripts from all colleges attended, including Sacramento State (unofficial transcripts will suffice);
- academic writing sample (optional but highly encouraged).
Applicants will be informed of the Admission Committee's decision within six weeks of the Department's application deadline.
The Public History Program offers a two-year course of study leading to the Master of Arts as a degree option within the History Department. The program provides an integrated professional curriculum that includes specialized project and internship experience in several concentrations including: archives and manuscripts, business history, oral history, public history research and analysis, and historic preservation. All students pursue a common course of study, gain professional experience through a series of internships, and complete a master's project or thesis within their area of program specialization.
Program requirements meet the educational guidelines of the Society of American Archivists, the Oral History Association, and the National Council on Public History. Graduates are qualified for listing on the Professional Register of Public Historians maintained by the California Committee for the Promotion of History.
All applicants must meet the requirements for admission as a classified graduate student in History. Applicants are also encouraged (but not required) to submit both verbal and quantitative scores from the aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination with their admission application.
Applications are available from the History Department Office. Students who are not enrolled in the program may take public history courses on a space available basis, with instructor permission.
Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree
Units required for the MA: 36 including 9 units of supervised professional internship
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Advancement To Candidacy
Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy, indicating a proposed program of graduate study. This procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:
- removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
- completed at least 12 units in the graduate program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, including at least one 200-level course;
- determined with the History Graduate Coordinator whether to attempt the thesis, examination, or project (Public History and Specialized Options only) as the Culminating Requirement;
- determined which department faculty member will supervise the student's work and act as his/her History advisor;
- filed and received departmental approval of a Petition for Approval of Thesis/Examination/Project (only in the Public History and Specialized Options); and
- taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.
Students must file their Advancement to Candidacy in the semester prior to enrolling in HIST 500, Culminating Experience.
Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The student fills out the form after planning a degree program in consultation with his/her History advisor. The completed form is then returned to the Graduate Coordinator and the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.
See full course list and course requirements in the 2019-2020 CSUS Catalog: Master of Arts in Public History Course Catalog
Required Courses (12 units)
- HIST 202 Interpreting U.S. History
- HIST 203 Public History Principles and Techniques
- HIST 282A Research Seminar in Public History
Select one of the following:
Elective Courses (12 units)
Select four of the following:
- HIST 281A Reading Seminar in Colonial or Early US History
- HIST 281B Reading Seminar in Nineteenth Century US History
- HIST 281C Reading Seminar in Modern US History
- HIST 281Z Reading Seminar: Topics in United States History
- HIST 282B Archives and Manuscripts
- HIST 282C Oral History
- HIST 282D Museum Studies
- HIST 282E Historic Preservation
- HIST 282Z Special Topics in Public History
Internship Requirement (9 units)
- HIST 295 History Internship (course taken twice for a total of 6 units)
- HIST 297 Advanced Internship
Culminating Requirement (3 units)
- HIST 500 Culminating Experience