historic cemetery

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in history requires satisfactory completion of 30 units of coursework, or ten separate courses at the 500-, 600-, or 700-level.  500-level courses are mixed graduate/undergraduate, with caps of 50;  600-level courses are discussion-based directed readings seminars exclusive to graduate students, with caps of 15;  700-level courses are individualized Special Studies.  You are required to take a minimum of four 600-level courses (12 units) and you may take a maximum of three 500-level courses (9 units), though no 500-level courses are required.  Students also need to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.  Language requirements may be satisfied with 12 semester units in a foreign language (taken as an undergraduate or graduate student), or with a translation exam. 

Full-time enrollment for a graduate student is 9 units (3 graduate courses) per semester.  It is not recommended that you take anymore than 3 courses per semester unless you are also taking language courses.  Language courses are not graduate courses, so they do not count toward the required 30 units.  Our program is flexible, so if you work full-time or have other obligations, you can do coursework on a part-time basis.  Part-time tuition is the same for 0 to 6 units, and full-time tuition is charged for any enrollment over six units (including language courses).  All 600-level graduate seminars are offered one time per week from 4 to 6:40 PM.

There are two tracks students can choose from:

Plan A is the thesis option for graduate students in the program. Students who choose this option conduct primary source research in order to produce a thesis that makes an original contribution to the field of history. The thesis option requires a committee of three professors - two from within the history department and one who teaches in another department. You can also view recent completed theses in History housed in the library.

Plan B is the exam option for graduate students in the program. Students who choose this option work with two faculty members in the history department to delineate two different fields of study that may be defined chronologically, geographically, or thematically. In conjunction with the advising faculty, the student prepares a reading list of forty books for each field, for a total of eighty books, and takes a four-hour written examination in each of the two fields.   You can also view recent completed exams in History on our website.


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"My professors in the MA program provided me a place to grow and explore, and guided me on a path of my own goals and ambitions. It was more than just a place to learn."


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

Office Hours:
Fridays, 9 to 11 AM - Held via Zoom: https://sdsu.zoom.us/j/5331668120