• CSUN History Department

Master of Arts Degree


The M.A. program in History offers students advanced training in historical research, writing and teaching. Seminars are small in size, providing students with unparalleled opportunities to work directly with faculty. Students have the option of pursuing their degrees full- or part-time, and classes are available both during the day and in the evening.

The graduate program includes courses in historical methods and research, concentrated study in specific historical fields (e.g., United States History, Modern European History, Latin American History, California History, Ancient and World history), and professional development for careers in teaching, archival administration and public history. Graduates of the program have gone on to teach at high schools and community colleges, pursued careers in museums and archives, and gained admission to top-tier Ph.D. programs.

The History MA program consists of 30 units (ten classes) of coursework, followed by a Culminating Project course in which students revise, expand and deepen a research paper with the goal of turning it into a publishable article. Alternatively, at the invitation of a faculty member, students may elect to write a thesis.

Students seeking additional information about the program should contact the coordinator of Graduate Studies, Dr. John Paul Nuno, or make an appointment to meet with him by calling the History Office at (818) 677-3566.

The History Department application deadline is: Friday, March 22, 2019 for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Required documents should be mailed to: Graduate Coordinator, Department of History, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8250

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission

  1. A baccalaureate Degree with a major or strong background in history, cumulative minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.3 in the last 60 semester (or 90 quarter) hours. Students who do not meet these criteria must demonstrate sufficient preparation or interest in history, as determined by the Department's Graduate Coordinator. This can be achieved by showing a minimum GPA of 3.5 in at least three History courses at the 400- to 600-level (Upper Division or graduate), including HIST 601 (Theory and Historiography) or the equivalent and at least one course requiring a substantial research paper.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from faculty under whom the applicant worked as an undergraduate or graduate student.
  3. One- or two-page statement of purpose describing the applicant's academic background, career goals, historical interests and anticipated field of study.
  4. A writing sample, such as a research paper, not to exceed 25 pages in length.
  5. Acceptance by the History Department.
  6. Acceptance by the University. This is separate from acceptance by the History Department, and applicants MUST ALSO apply and be accepted to CSUN.

B. Requirements for the Degree

Courses: A minimum of 30 units of approved graduate work consisting of:

  1. HIST 601 to be taken during the first two semesters in the Program.
  2. Seven graduate-level history courses (21 units) to include at least two 600-level Research Seminars and three 500-level graduate colloquia.
  3. Two courses (6 units) at the 500- or 600-level in history or at the 500- or 600-level in related disciplines with approval of the graduate coordinator.

Students should meet with the graduate coordinator and faculty in their chosen areas of interest to develop a cohesive academic program.

C. Foreign Language Requirement

The History Department strongly recommends that all students learn a foreign language, especially those who are planning to pursue a Ph.D., but leaves to the discretion of the student's area advisor the determination of what, if any, level of competency is required in a given foreign language.


All courses taken to meet any requirements of the Program must be completed with a grade of "B" or higher.

Culminating Experience

In addition to the 30 required units of coursework M.A. students must successfully complete either a culminating project or an M.A. thesis.

Culminating Project: Students will enroll in HIST 698D, a course designed to establish students' mastery of the historian's craft. This culminating graduate course requires students to use an existing research paper that they produced in one of their two 600-level classes and spend the semester revising it. Students will be expected to transform the paper into a piece that could be submitted as a conference paper, a writing sample, and/or an article for publication. They will prepare a cogent 20-minute presentation of their work that may serve as a conference presentation, a mini-lecture for a class, or a brief job talk.

Thesis: Students may apply to complete an M.A. thesis. To be considered for the thesis option, students must work with a faculty advisor to develop a thesis proposal that demonstrates the viability of the thesis project and the student's ability to complete the requisite research and writing. Proposals must be submitted in the Fall semester and will be evaluated by a department graduate committee. If the committee approves the proposal, the student will enroll in HIST 698 and will form a three-person faculty thesis committee with the faculty advisor as chair to oversee completion of the work.