2013-14 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 24, 2018  
2013-14 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

History [HIS] M.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

History Department
Randi Storch, chair
Old Main, Room 212


War, weddings, weather — incredibly diverse and often surprising phenomena create curious trails that glimmer from the past through the present and into the future.

As an historian, you delight in teasing out fascinating relationships among the mysteries and puzzles within everyday events by examining causes, consequences, human motives and why things happened. You can expand your understanding of historical basics and their effect on our world by studying for the Master of Arts (M.A.) in history at SUNY Cortland.

Program Highlights

You will enjoy our professional faculty who bring their excitement for history’s reach into enthusiastic exchanges in small classes with you and your peers. You will expand your historical reading and writing skills and benefit from the guidance of these dedicated mentors while conducting research that personally interests you. 

Research topics may range from African Americans in the Civil War or the Civil War prison at Elmira (N.Y.) to European or non-Western subjects, such as Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, the French Revolution, Latin American revolutionary movements or issues in modern China. Historical societies and museums in the area welcome you for internships, or you may help local collectors catalog their finds.

Culminating Experience

You will also write a master’s thesis or sit for a comprehensive written examination based on course work and mastery of the content and historical literature in your area of concentration, or a combination of your area of concentration and a secondary field.

Career Potential

When you complete the M.A. in history from SUNY Cortland, you are well prepared for a career in a wide range of fields, including museums, archives, social work, library science, public history, business, law, or state and federal civil service. You will also gain a solid foundation to pursue a Ph.D., and you will qualify for the terminal master’s degree. 

With additional on-the-job teacher supervision, a master’s degree in history will prepare you for permanent certification to teach social studies in the public schools of New York state.

Graduate Admissions

Evaluation Policy

At the State University of New York College at Cortland, we seek a diverse and academically strong student body. Our admission policy and practice will not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin or marital status.

Required Materials

  1. Completed online Graduate School Application — Apply Now
  2. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended to be forwarded directly to SUNY Cortland Graduate Admissions Office
    Note: candidates for admission must present evidence of bachelor's degree conferral prior to the start of their academic program.
  3. A resume, submitted online with the application
  4. A statement of educational and professional goals, submitted online with the application
  5. Two letters of recommendation with at least one from a history professor, submitted online with the application

Admissions Criteria

Minimum admissions criteria include 24 credit hours of approved undergraduate history courses.
For candidates with exceptional circumstances, this requirement may be modified. Please contact the department's graduate coordinator.

 Preference will be given to candidates with the following:

  1. An overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and above on a 4.0 scale
  2. An overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and above in history courses
  3. Intermediate competency in a foreign language, usually through the 201 level or the third semester of foreign language study.
    This requirement may be met concurrently with graduate study.
  4. If your undergraduate history or overall grade point average is below 3.0, you are required to submit satisfactory GRE scores with a ranking in the top 50 percentile.


Fall semester applications: July 1
Spring semester applications: Dec. 1
Summer semester applications: April 1

Applications submitted after the deadline may be considered on a space availability basis.
Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 607-753-4800 to check availability.

Program Requirements

You must select an area of focus of at least nine credit hours in United States history, European history, or non-Western history (Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America).

The department also requires six credit hours of course work outside the area of focus. In addition to the program requirements stated below, you must either write a master’s thesis or take a written comprehensive exam based on course work and mastery of the content and historical literature in the area of focus or in a combination of the area of focus and a secondary field.

Other requirements for the award of the degree may be determined by the History Department and must be ascertained by you in consultation with a department graduate advisor.

Course Requirements

B. Concentration requirement: Nine credit hours

Select nine credit hours in one of the following concentrations - United States or European or Non-Western.

C. Additional History Requirement: Six credit hours

Select an additional six credit hours of approved history courses outside the concentration:

D. Research Seminar: Six credit hours

Select one research seminar course in the concentration, and one research seminar course outside the concentration from the following:

E. Approved electives in history or related field: Six credit hours

Select six credit hours in HIS or other advisor-approved courses (ENG, GRY) at the 500 and 600 level

F. Culminating Activity: One credit hour

Total Credit Hours Required: 31

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs