CSUF, Department of History, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92834
Office: Humanities (H) 815F - Phone: (657) 278-3474 - Fax: (657) 278-2101 - E-mail
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Robert McLain
Office: H825K - Phone: (657) 278-7196 - E-mail
Graduate Secretary: Ms. Lynne Azar
Office: H815F - Phone: (657) 278-3905 - E-mail
Thank you very much for your interest in our exciting, vibrant, and diverse history graduate program. Please read the following information CAREFULLY, IN ITS ENTIRETY, AND BEFORE you contact the department. We are confident that the following information will answer most, if not all your questions. If you have any FURTHER questions please call Lynne Azar at (657) 278-3905.
THE M.A. IN HISTORY AT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON
The Master of Arts degree in history is designed to provide a course of study for those whose interests are in teaching, business, government service and the professions as well as for personal enrichment. It offers all the basic requirements for those who intend to pursue a doctoral degree upon the completion of their study at California State University, Fullerton.
I. APPLICATION DEADLINES
Applications must be postmarked no later than March 1st for the fall semester and October 1st for the spring semester. We will NOT accept applications after these dates! If you miss these dates you will have to re-apply for the next semester. All required materials MUST be received by the History Department by the deadlines listed above or your application will be considered incomplete and returned to Admissions and Records!
Applicants to the Master’s program must first fulfill all requirements for admission to graduate standing in the University. A student must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester units and a 3.0 grade-point average in upper-division history courses. After fulfilling the university requirements, the applicant’s records are sent to the History Department’s graduate coordinator for evaluation. Students with deficiencies will be considered for admission only after they have completed courses approved by the coordinator. The History Department asks that all applications include:
(1) an official copy of your transcripts; (to be sent to CSUF Admissions and Records)
(3) a statement of purpose;* and
(4) Contact Information (phone number, mailing address, email-address)
*Items 2, 3, and 4 must sent directly to the department, to the attention of the graduate secretary. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.
III. STUDY PLAN
Each student determines his or her study plan with the graduate coordinator and an advisor in the area of specialization before commencing course work. Two plans are offered:
PLAN I, in which one specific field of interest is developed, requiring a written thesis or project (with an oral examination taken before the final draft). Those who chose Plan I may also complete a degree in Oral and Public History. Please note that only those who have demonstrated superior writing and research skills are allowed onto the thesis track (attainment of a 3.4 GPA after the completion of 15 units of coursework, exclusive of internship and editing classes).
PLAN II, for which the student must pass written comprehensive examinations in two of the following fields:
(1) American history;
(2) European history;
(3) Latin American, Asian, African, or Middle Eastern history;
(4) World history.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE M.A. PROGRAM
A. Is the M.A. in history right for me?
The master’s program in history is best suited for:
(1) Those who already have or who are working toward a social studies credential.
(2) Those who are planning on going for the Ph.D. after the master’s degree.
(3) Those who want to work in oral/public history, i.e. an archival or museum setting.
(4) Those who are getting the master’s for their own personal satisfaction. Often times this would be someone who is a non-traditional or “returning” student.
(5) Those who want to teach at the community college level. Be aware that it is VERY difficult to get a full-time teaching position at this level with a master’s degree. There are two main reasons for this. First, junior/community colleges had rather hire one of the many underemployed history Ph.D.s for these jobs. Secondly, they tend to hire on a part-time basis if they can - that way they do not have to pay benefits or full salaries.
B. Can I be admitted to the program even though I didn’t get my B.A. degree in History?
Yes. We admit students on a provisional basis. This means that you would have to take a certain number of units (deficiency courses), determined by the graduate coordinator, before you can start taking the actual graduate classes.
C. What are the GPA requirements?
You should have at least a 3.0 GPA in your last 60 units of coursework and a 3.0 in your upper level history courses, or in the upper level courses in your major.
Yes. As part of your application dossier, you should submit two letters of recommendation. We strongly prefer letters of recommendation written by college or university faculty who are familiar with your academic work. If you have been out of school for several years we will consider letters of recommendation written by employers or others who are familiar with your work performance and/or academic potential. If you have received your bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, you do not need to submit formal letters of recommendation. Rather, you should submit two short memoranda of recommendation from appropriate faculty addressed to the History Department’s graduate coordinator.
Yes. You should submit a “Statement of Purpose” that will serve as your writing sample. This statement is required in addition to the one that you submit with the CSUF general graduate application. You should discuss the following carefully and thoughtfully in 600-1,000 words, or about 2-4 pages.
(1) What are your goals in pursuing an M.A. degree at CSUF? Do you want to enhance existing social studies teaching credentials or work toward teaching on the community college level; are you more interested in Public and Oral history; where you would work in a museum or archival setting; or, is this more of a personal goal that you hope to accomplish?
(2) What are your areas of interest geographically (U.S., European, Asian, World), chronologically (Ancient, Medieval, Modern), and/or topically (women’s history, military history, etc.). How did you become interested in the field? You may want to mention books that have been especially influential in shaping your interests.
(3) Alert us to any anomalies in your record. For example, if your GPA is below a 3.0 you should explain why the graduate coordinator should consider your application anyway. Alternately, let us know if you have any academic awards or honors. Also, if you have a relatively short essay that you wrote during your prior coursework you may add it to your dossier, but this is by no means required.
No. You send your application and transcripts to CSUF Admissions and Records. Later, after your application and transcripts have been reviewed, a copy of your transcripts will be forwarded to us. The graduate coordinator will make the final decision as far as your acceptance into the program.
G. Can I attend part-time or must I attend full-time?
You may attend part-time or full-time. Full-time is nine units consisting of one 500-level course and two 400-level courses. It is strongly recommended that you take no more than six units if you are working outside of school.
H. Do you offer courses in the evening?
Yes. Our program is geared for the person who works full-time during the day, so all of our 500 level courses are offered in the evening and many of our 400-level courses begin at 4:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. as well.
I. What is the total number of units for the Master’s degree in History?
The Master’s Degree consists of thirty units, or the equivalent of ten classes. This includes:
four classes at the 400 level (12 units), and
six classes at the 500 level (18 units).
Everyone must take the following 500-level classes:
(1) History 501, History and Theory.
(2) One “readings” class in which you explore major historical themes. This can be:
History 521 (Readings in European History), or
History 551 (Readings in World History), or
History 571 (Readings in American History).
(3) One history research seminar in which you use primary sources to write a well-crafted research paper. This can be:
History 522 (Seminar in European History), or
History 552 (Seminar in World History), or
History 572 (Seminar American History).
(4) Beyond this you must take an additional three 500-level classes.
(5) There is a slight variation for the Master's with an Oral/Public history emphasis (details follow below under question “M”).
J. Are there any other requirements?
Yes. We also have a “cultural skills” requirement. This calls for one of the following four alternatives:
(1) an exam in a foreign language;
(2) Sociology 303 (Statistics for Humanities) for those working on a demographic project;
(3) a Public History project; or
(4) two classes in a cross-disciplinary field.
K. How long do I have to complete the program?
Five years, but if you have not completed it in that time frame, you may file for an extension of two more years, thus the maximum time would be seven years.
L. Are there different types of M.A. degrees?
Yes, we actually offer three choices:
(1) Master’s with a thesis. This is the best route if you are planning on getting a Ph.D., or are fairly certain you are going to apply to a Ph.D. program later. The thesis is a substantial research project - usually 80-120 pages long. The topic will be mutually agreed upon by you and your thesis supervisor. Your last two classes of 500-level work (History 598 Thesis) are of a “phantom” nature in that you do not meet in a formal classroom setting. Rather, you work independently on your thesis while meeting periodically with your thesis committee chair. Those who are self-driven and disciplined have the best chance of completing the project in a timely and scholarly manner. One key tip here-if you already have a possible topic you should gear your coursework towards that same topic. That way you can build a body of material that might fit into your thesis down the road. In essence, you are working on your coursework and your thesis at the same time. If you hope to enter the thesis track you should first make sure that there is a faculty member on staff with expertise in your area of interest. If so, you should contact that professor prior to applying and make sure that they are accepting new M.A. candidates for that field. In some cases the professor in question may already have a full complement of students, or they may be on faculty sabbatical. As noted above in section III, only those who have demonstrated superior writing and research skills are allowed onto the thesis track. The plan of study follows this format:
- four 400-level classes/electives;
- the three required 500-level classes;
- one additional 500-level class;
- two History 598 (Thesis) classes.
(2) Master’s with no thesis. For this option you take two exams upon the completion of your coursework. Many of our graduate students who are teaching on the secondary and primary level take the examinations since they do not plan to go on to a Ph.D. The plan of study follows this format:
- four 400-level classes;
- the three required 500-level classes;
- three additional 500-level classes/electives;
(3) Master’s with an Oral/Public History Emphasis. This is a good option for those who already work in a museum, archive, or library setting, or those who hope to do so. The plan of study follows this format:
- five 400-level classes/electives;
- History 501 (History and Theory)
- History 521, 551, 571 (Readings Seminars)
- History 506 (Seminar in Public History)
- History 596 (Internship)
- History 597 (History Project)
If you have any FURTHER questions, please call Ms. Lynne Azar at (657)278-3905.
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