Deadlines for Applications:

Applications for Fall 2021 - deadline extended to April 25th.

Applications for Spring 2022 are due October 15.


Admission Requirements

A prospective student must fulfill the general University requirements as stated on the Graduate Studies website. In addition to the general requirements, the Department of History has established its own, more specialized requirements, which are described below.

To be considered for admission to the MA in history 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, and 3.35 GPA in the final sixty units of coursework. 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.

Most applicants will be admitted to Classified standing.  For students whose application is deemed by the department to have some weaknesses, Conditional admission may apply and students will be informed as to what those conditions are in their letter of admission. 

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 Conditional standing, may wish to apply to the University through Open University/College of Extended Learning in order to correct deficiencies in their record.  The graduate coordinators can provide more information about this option.

Application Procedure

To apply, you must do so online at  The following materials will be required for your application.

  1. Application fee (currently at $55, fee waivers are available).
  2. An unofficial copy of all transcripts. The online system will prompt you to upload unofficial copies of transcripts from all the undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended.  (If admitted and matriculated, you will be asked to furnish official transcripts.)  This includes SF State transcripts if you have previously taken classes at the university.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. 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. Please request letters of recommendation as early as possible, using the WebAdmit system.  You will enter your recommenders’ names and e-mail and they will receive a message asking them to upload a letter directly to the system.  This can be done before you complete your application.  Recommenders will have one week after the deadline to submit letters.
  4. Writing sample, preferably a 10-20 page history research paper, which includes footnotes and a bibliography.
  5. 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.
  6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. The GRE is recommended but not required for admission. Students taking the GRE should have their scores sent directly to the university with the SF State institution code of 4694. A 4.0 or above on the essay (analytical) portion of the GRE fulfills the university Level I writing requirement. Students who score below a 4.0 on this portion of the exam or who choose not to submit GRE scores should pay special attention to the quality of their writing sample (see #4 above), which will be evaluated not only for admission but also to fulfill this requirement.

Tips for navigating the online system:

There are four sections in the online application, but you can opt out of the following:
In Academic History section, opt out of transcript entry and GPA entry.
In Supporting Materials section, opt out of all supporting materials.  For Statement of Purpose section, write “Uploaded to Program Materials Section.”

In Program Materials section, click on Documents tab to upload unofficial transcripts, statement of purpose, writing sample, test score report (if desired), and any other documents.  Click on Questions tab to answer questions.

Please also see the admissions information on the Graduate Studies webpage for additional tips.  Staff in Graduate Studies can also help you with any technical issues you might encounter with the WebAdmit system.


  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.

Further questions?

Contact Professor Sarah Curtis (


We are here to answer any questions you may have.  Please view our FAQs list to see if your question is already answered.