About M.A. History

Program Highlights

  • Small seminar courses taught by history faculty who are both committed teachers and active researchers in their fields
  • One-on-one mentoring by history faculty
  • Two culminating experience options that enable students to tailor their coursework to their future goals 
  • Internships in local museums, archives, historical societies, and other non-profits
  • A prize-winning student research journal, The Forum
  • Located in beautiful San Luis Obispo, on California’s Central Coast halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles


Comprehensive Exams Track

The comprehensive exams track provides students with a breadth of knowledge in two areas of concentration. The exam route requires an introductory course (HIST 504), 24 units of graduate seminars, 16 units of elective courses, and two supervised readings for comprehensive exams (HIST 512), for a total of 48 units.

Students work with the graduate coordinator to select their two historical fields of study and to identify the appropriate faculty members to supervise their work in each area. Comprehensive exams may be taken from topics chosen within six general fields of study: African, American, Comparative World, East Asian, European, and Latin American History.

Students enroll in HIST 512: Supervised Reading for Comprehensive Exams twice, once each with the two faculty members supervising their two exams. The supervising faculty members provide students with a list of required readings that they must complete before they are allowed to take the comprehensive exam in the chosen field of study. 


Thesis Track

The thesis track provides students the opportunity to produce a piece of original historical scholarship and to defend their thesis in front of a faculty committee. This route consists of an introductory course (HIST 504), 20 units of graduate seminars, 16 units of elective courses, and three supervised thesis courses (HIST 599), for a total of 49 units.

In order to be eligible to pursue the thesis route, students must achieve a 3.7 GPA after completing 24 units in the program. The thesis route is only recommended for students who have a specific project in mind, are self-motivated, can work independently, and can assemble a thesis committee of three faculty members interested in supervising the project. 


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