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Master of Arts in History

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I did not major in History as an undergraduate?

The History MA program will consider, and accept, students who come from different disciplines. It makes no difference if students did not earn a BA in History.

What if I do not have 3.0 GPA or the required minimum on the GRE?

We evaluate all applications as a whole. A strong personal statement and good letters of reference can offset numbers that are slightly below the minimum.

Who should my letters of recommendation come from?

At least three of your letters must be from professors who can speak to your intellectual development and potential in scholarly activity. If an applicant has lost touch with his or her professors, letters from employers or bosses can be helpful, but they should address your overall potential to succeed in graduate school. Letters from friends, colleagues, relatives, clergy, etc. are of no use and do not improve your chances of admission.

What are you looking for in the statement of purpose?

Your personal statement is an opportunity for you to demonstrate to us that you have thought carefully about why you want to pursue an MA in History, why you want study at USD, and what your professional goals are. The personal statement should also illustrate how your research agenda reflects the interests of the History faculty. Information about those areas of expertise can be found on the graduate faculty page.

What scholarships are available to History students?

Students are eligible to receive grants in aid from the financial aid office. Students are also Eligible to receive the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. In most instances, first year students receive the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. All students accepted into the program are considered for the Dean’s Merit Scholarship and have no need to submit a separate application. The amount of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship ranges between $5,000 and $1500. The money is credited to a student’s account and tuition costs are reduced accordingly.

What are the visa requirements for international students?

Specific information for international applicants can be found on the Graduate Admissions Website.

What types of things have History alumni done?

Students who earn an MA in History often become high school teachers, museum curators, archivists for local historical societies, researchers for government agencies, or in-house historians for architectural firms. A significant number also go on to earn their Ph.D. in History.

Who should I contact if I have further questions?

 For further information, please contact Michael Gonzalez, Associate Professor of History and Director of the History MA program. His email address is  His office phone number is (619) 260-4043.