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How to Apply to the Program

The History Department offers two application review cycles for Fall admission, a priority cycle and a regular cycle. We do not accept students mid-year.  

  • For applicants who wish to be considered for the department’s priority cycle, all application materials are due by February 1.  
  • For those applying through the regular cycle, application materials are due March 1st (for the Cal State Apply application, see below) and April 1st (for all other materials).  

In order to apply, please complete the following steps:

Step 1. Complete the University Online Application via Cal State Apply *– Must be completed by February 1 for the priority deadline and by March 1 for the regular deadline. 

*Note:  This application is used for graduate and undergraduate admission in the CSU, graduate students do NOT need to list their undergraduate courses.

  • All applicants must fill out the application on Cal State Apply and pay the required fee.
  • A SDSU RED ID Number will then be assigned which allows tracking of application status online.

Step 2. Send official test scores and transcripts to Graduate Admissions – Must be received by February 1 for the priority deadline and by April 1 for the regular deadline.

  •  GRE (and if applicable, TOEFL) test scores must be sent directly from ETS. (Institution Code: 4682)
    Note:  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirements outlined below that applicants for graduate study at SDSU submit scores for the GRE are suspended for the Fall 2022 admissions cycle.  You do not need to take the GRE or submit scores if you are applying to the program for Fall 2022.
  • Send official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

    Send electronically to [email protected]


    Send via the postal service to:
    Graduate Admissions
    San Diego State University
    San Diego, CA 92182-8225

    Please allow at least two weeks from the time of receipt, to process transcripts.  For more information on submitting transcripts, visit the Steps to Apply page

    If you have questions about this step, you can contact a virtual counselor.

Step 3. Complete the Program Online Application via Interfolio – Must be completed by February 1 for the priority deadline and April 1 for the regular deadline.

The program application, submitted via Interfolio, includes the following items:

  • A statement of purpose of no more than 500 words is required. It should include information as to why you would like to pursue a Master's degree in history, what your goals are following completion of the degree, your field or area of interest, and what work you have done in that area to date (and in the field of history generally, including coursework, research, internships, language preparation, work, etc.).  What knowledge and skills, in other words, have you developed that will allow you to be successful in a graduate history program? Finally, how and why is SDSU's history program the appropriate place for you to study? The more specific about your interests and academic experience you can be, the better. It is recommended that you write this statement early and ask one (or more) of your professors to review it and give you feedback so that you have time to incorporate the feedback and go through several drafts if necessary. The statement of purpose should be very well written and concise, yet clear with adequate depth of 
  • Two letters of recommendation are required from professors who are familiar with your abilities as a student. It is most helpful to have letters from history professors with whom you took courses, but if you worked closely with a professor in another related field, you may submit a letter from him or her. If you have been out of school for several years, you may submit one letter from a supervisor, but academic letters hold the most weight, as they give the greatest insight into your ability to succeed in the program. Please do not submit letters from friends or acquaintances.
  • A writing sample is optional but recommended, as it gives the committee excellent insight into your writing ability and experience. Sample papers to include would be a senior thesis, a paper you wrote for a history course in which you used primary source evidence, a research paper written for a history course, or a historiography paper. You might want to ask one of your undergraduate professors and/or recommenders what he or she would recommend you submit.

Out-of-state students: For out-of-state applicants or any applicants requiring an earlier admissions deadline, we strongly recommend that you submit your materials by the February 1 deadline for the priority review cycle.  Our department does have a small chance of providing limited out-of-state tuition waivers and in order to be considered, applicants need to have materials submitted by the priority deadline.

Important Links


"I was drawn to SDSU for my MA because of the interdisciplinary focus. It's fascinating to approach history from the perspectives of anthropology, linguistics, economics, art, and literature to name a few. Plus, my professors are all very passionate about their fields and it definitely shows in class discussions and lectures!"


Dr. Paula DeVos
Phone: (619) 594-4893
Office: AL 534
Email: [email protected]