2016-17 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 20, 2024  
2016-17 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

History [HIS] M.A.

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History Department
Randi Storch
, chair
Kevin Sheets, graduate coordinator
Old Main, Room 212
Fax: 607-753-5598


Slavery, immigration, revolution — incredibly diverse phenomena create curious consequences that shape our world.

As an historian, you're fascinated with the why of everyday events and the human motives behind them. You can expand your understanding of the past and the nature of historical inquiry and research 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 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.

Culminating Experience

You also will write 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. For those intending to pursue a Ph.D. at another instituition, the option of writing a master's thesis is available.

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 government service. In addition, you will obtain a terminal master's degree, which is a solid foundation for doctoral work. 

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 confidential letters of recommendation with at least one from a history professor

Admissions Criteria

Minimum admissions criteria include:

  1. 24 credit hours in approved undergraduate history courses
  2. An overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and above on a 4.0 scale
  3. An overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and above in history courses
  4. 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.
  5. GRE scores ranking in the top 50th percentile, if your undergraduate history or overall grade point average is below a 3.0

For candidates with exceptional circumstances, this requirement may be modified.


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
  • European
  • non-Western (Asian, Latin American, African, Middle Eastern) history or
  • in the Scholarship on the Teaching and Learning of History.

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 the department graduate advisor.

Course Requirements

B. Concentration requirement: 9 credit hours

Select nine credit hours in one of the following concentrations: United States, European, Africa/Asia/Latin America/Middle East or the Scholarship on the Teaching and Learning of History.

Scholarship on the Teaching and Learning of History

C. Additional History Requirement: 6 credit hours

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

D. Research Seminar: 6 credit hours

Select two research seminars from the following. If you have a content area concentration (all concentrations except Scholarship on the Teaching and Learning of History), one seminar must be within that concentration.

E. Approved electives in history or related field: 6 credit hours

Select six credit hours in HIS or other advisor-approved courses (ENG, GRY) at the 500 and 600 level. Students in the Scholarship on the Teaching and Learning of History concentration must select six credit hours in HIS.

F. Culminating Activity: One credit hour

Total Credit Hours Required: 31

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