To Apply to the Master of Arts program:

See the SF State Graduate Division for information about the separate University application.

You may also download a M.A. program information booklet (pdf).

Application and Admission

Applications for Spring 2017 admission are due October 15, 2016.
Applications for Fall 2017 admission are due February 15, 2017.

Application Procedure

The application to the Master's Program consists of two separate parts, one of which must go to Graduate Studies and the other which must be sent directly to the Department of History. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that Graduate Studies and the Department of History have received every part of his or her application by the deadline dates (see below). You must complete both parts for your application to be reviewed. Once you begin the application process, you can check your admission status online. 

Part I - Graduate Studies

Students can apply to SF State online using the California State University (CSU) Mentor.

Domestic applicants - Applications

International applicants - Applications

Online applications are uploaded to SF State Student Systems in 24 hours. You do not need to respond on CSU Mentor to the question related to "Statement of Purpose." Just write in that space, "See attached". Additionally, all applicants need to send the following materials to:

San Francisco State University
Division of Graduate Studies, ADM 254
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

  1. Application Fee: $55.00 (Get the Fee Waiver Application)
  2. An official copy of all transcripts. Applicants should request that all transcripts be sent to them. After receiving all transcripts, mail all the UNOPENED transcripts in a single envelope to the address above. Please note that Graduate Studies can not process your application until they have ALL your college transcripts. The Department of History can not make a decision on your application until Graduate Studies has processed it.

Part II - Department of History

All Applicants must also send the following materials to:

Graduate Coordinators
Department of History
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

The applicant should gather the letters of recommendation, writing sample, and statement of purpose and send them all together in a single package if possible.

  1. Three letters of recommendation. These should be in sealed envelopes with the recommender's signature across the back flap. There is no set form for these letters but the letter should include information about the student’s abilities (research skills, reasoning and analytical ability, writing skills, maturity, etc.) and likelihood of success in a graduate program, written on official letterhead. Ideally, these letters should be written by professors who are familiar with the applicant's skills and potentials. Letters from employers and others who know you are acceptable, but they are not as useful to us in gauging your academic potential.
  2. Writing sample (preferably a 10-20 page research paper, which includes footnotes and a bibliography).
  3. Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose (maximum of 1000 words) should tell us a little bit about you including why you are interested in history and your development and preparation as a historian to this point. Also describe your planned field(s) of study and career goals as you see them now. Finally, tell us why you think San Francisco State would be good place for you to continue your intellectual development.
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (The Institution Code for SF State is R4684). Students must receive a score of 4.0 or higher on the written essay portion of the exam in order to be considered for admission to our program. Rare individual exceptions may be made, on a case-by-case basis, for students who do not score 4.0 on the written essay but who receive a score of at least 550 (out of 800) on the verbal portion of the exam or who can otherwise demonstrate strong writing abilities in their submitted writing sample. For more information on the GRE, please consult the ETS website.

Application Deadlines

Applications for the Master's Program must be received by February 15th for Fall Semester admission or October 15th for Spring Semester admission. Please consult the University application for other University deadlines, such as those for International students. Late applications will put the candidate at a disadvantage during the admissions process and may result in the applicant being placed on a wait list or not admitted at all. All supporting materials must be received in time to meet the deadlines.

Admission Into the Program

A prospective student must fulfill the general University requirements as stated in the section on “Graduate Studies: Requirements and Procedures ” of the San Francisco State University Bulletin. In addition to the general requirements, the Department of History has established its own, more specialized requirements, which are described below.

An applicant may be admitted into the graduate program in history in one of two categories, depending upon the applicant’s degree of preparation, grade point average, GRE scores, and academic promise.

Admission Classification

To be considered for admission all applicants must have a degree in history or at least four upper-division courses in history (12 semester units; 20 quarter units), including one course in historical methods; a 3.35 GPA in the final sixty units of coursework; and a GRE score of at least 4.0 on the essay section of the exam. If the student's undergraduate work meets the department’s criteria AND shows promise of a successful completion of the graduate program, he or she will be admitted to the program.

All applicants who are admitted will enter with Conditionally Classified Standing. For applicants with very strong applications, the condition is likely to be nothing more than making progress toward finishing the degree in a timely fashion. For students whose application is deemed by the department to have some weaknesses, other conditions may apply and students will be informed as to what those conditions are in their letter of admission.

If the student's undergraduate record suggests the likelihood of a successful pursuit of graduate work, the department may recommend that the student be admitted on a conditional basis, specifying the conditions to be met for advancement to classified standing. If the student's undergraduate record shows little promise of satisfactory work at the graduate level or insufficient training in history, the department will recommend that admission be denied. Students who do not meet the requirements for classified standing or who are denied admission for classified conditional standing, may wish to apply to the University through Open University/College of Extended Learning in order to correct deficiencies in their record.


  1. Expressing your intent to register: If you decide to attend San Francisco State once you are admitted you need to inform the university and the department of your intent to register. Within two weeks of receiving your letter of admission to the university, you must notify the university of your intent to register by going to SF State Global Login and following the instructions.
  2. Register for Class: logon to MySFSU and click on Registration Time for your 24 hour priority registration.
  3. There is more information on registration and signing up for classes in the SF State Grad Guide (p. 3.)

Further questions?

Contact Professor Sarah Curtis (


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