Program Requirements

This page provides an overview of the degree requirements for the MA program, as well as graduate guidelines and updated road maps for degree completion. Click the links below to go directly to your desired section, or scroll through the entire page.

The degree requirements consist of:
  1. 14-19 semester units of the following required 5000 and 6000 level core courses:

    • HST 5540, Readings in World History to 1500 (3 units)

    • HST 5541, Readings in World History from 1500 (3 units)

    • HST 5544 Graduate Digital Research Project in World History (1 unit, may be repeated for credit) or HST 5564 Graduate Digital Research Project in US History (1 unit, may be repeated for credit)

    • HST 5560, Readings in Early US History (3 units)

    • HST 5561, Readings in Modern US History (3 units)

    • HST 6970, Comprehensive exam preparation (1 unit) or HST 6940, Master’s Thesis Research (3-6 units)*

  2. A minimum of 6 semester units of elective graduate courses in history, such as: 

    • HST 5501, Graduate History Methods (3 units)

    • HST 5502, Graduate Digital Research Project in History Methods (1)

    • HST 5562 Readings in California History (3)

    • HST 5570 Contemporary Historiography (3)

    • HST 5571 Graduate Digital Research Project in Historiography (1)

  3. A maximum of 11 semester units of undergraduate 3000 and 4000 level courses in history, social sciences or humanities.

  4. Total: at least 31 semester units of course work.

  5. Comprehensive Examinations.

*Note that a Master’s thesis may only be attempted with permission. Almost all students will be expected instead to complete comprehensive examinations.


All students will take comprehensive exams in their final semester at the end of either their second year of the two-year program, or their third year of a three-year program in order to qualify for the MA degree. The comprehensive exams will be offered for all the students on the same dates.


Students are expected to demonstrate consistent progress toward their degree. The Master’s Degree is designed to take two years for a student who takes 15-16 semester units a year, and three years for a student who takes 8-12 semester units a year. All MA students should complete their degrees by the end of the third year.


All students will take courses in both US and World history; it is not possible to specialize in one field.


Two-year students will usually take three graduate seminars, three accompanying digital research projects, and one upper division course each year.  Three-year students will usually take three graduate research seminars and three accompanying digital research projects in the first year, two graduate research seminars and accompanying digital research projects in the second year, and one graduate seminar and accompanying digital research project plus two upper division courses in the third year.


Graduate courses are offered in the late afternoons and evenings so as to accommodate teachers’ schedules. The 5000 and 6000 level courses will be taken by all the MA students as a cohort, although students have a few options for elective courses. If the graduate roadmap is followed, students will be able to complete their degrees in two years and will need to be on campus two days a week.