University at Buffalo Department of History

David Herzberg, Director of the MA Program
office: 565 Park Hall
phone: (716) 645-8416



The M.A. program is intended to provide students with a solid grounding in the professional study of history. Because our master’s program serves a varied audience—ranging from secondary school teachers to predoctoral students—we seek to provide a curriculum that is broad but allows students to focus their interests and approach the study of history in a manner most relevant to their particular professional goals. The program combines broad-based inquiry into historical issues and developments, along with training in research methods, information gathering, and writing. As such, it serves the needs of secondary school teachers, while offering excellent preparation for government service, library and archival work, preservation and museum management, public history, and journalism. The program also provides an excellent foundation for advanced degrees in law, history, or other social science and humanities disciplines.

Subject Areas
Entering M.A. students, in consultation with their Director of Graduate Studies, decide upon a major area of historical study, typically drawn from the list of the major fields for Ph.D. study (i.e., American history, early modern European history, modern European history, North and South Atlantic history, East Asian history, and Latin American and Caribbean history). The student may instead select a comparative focus or a more topically oriented approach.

You can also request further information by emailing the Administrative Assistant

A minimum of 30 credit hours is required; up to 6 hours may be transfer credit hours.

Required Courses:

  • History 500: Doing History: History Methodology and Research

One core course chosen from selection below involving the student’s major area of interest:

  • History 502-503: Core seminar in American History, 1607-Present (6 credits); both semesters of this two-semester course are required.
  • History 504-505: Core seminar in European History, Early Modern and Modern (6 credits); both semesters of this two-semester course are required.
  • History 507: Core seminar in East Asian History (3 credits), a one-semester course.
  • History 506: Core seminar in North and South Atlantic History (3 credits), a one-semester course.
  • History 559-560: Core seminar in Latin American and Caribbean history (6 credits); either semester of this two-semester course is required; both are recommended.

One 600-level research seminar.

M.A. Project: The M.A. project is a 30-40 page piece of original research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member.  It may be an extensive revision of a paper written for a research seminar.

Each M.A. student, after initial consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, will be assigned a faculty advisor who will aid the student in developing an appropriate program of coursework. If feasible, the assignment will be made in the student’s expressed general area of interest.

Admission and Registration



  • Baccalaureate degree or equivalent
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  • 18 credit hours of history
  • The aptitude portion (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing) of the GRE

1. Application (try our new on-line form) with a $75 nonrefundable fee (pay online, or send a check or money order made out to the University at Buffalo and payable in U.S. funds)

2. Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

3. Two letters of recommendation, preferably from professors in history or related disciplines (three letters are required for consideration to receive any available SUNY Underrepresented Minority Graduate Fellowships) (click here for Recommendation Letter Form).

4. A sample of written work. This should be a paper of approximately 10-20 pages that best demonstrates your ability in historical research and writing.

5.Statement of purpose.

  • In 800-1000 words, tell us about your reasons for applying to the program, and what you plan to accomplish while you are here.  Please be sure to consider the following questions:
  • How will coursework and research in our department help you further your broader career and/or life goals?  How will an MA be useful to you?
  • What in your intellectual and/or personal history led you to want to study history?  Are there particular books, topics, or approaches that inspired your interest?
  • What area of history do you plan to focus on in your coursework and research?  Do you have an idea of what you would like to research and write about for your thesis?  Why does this subject interest you?
  • How does your proposed area of study coincide with the work of professors in our department?  Who among the faculty might be a reasonable choice to advise a thesis on your proposed topic?

6. The aptitude portion (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing) of the GRE. Please Note: UB's Institution Code is 2925. GRE scores should no more than three years old at the time of application.

7. For international students, the financial statement and a TOEFL score (for those whose native language is not English). For U.S. citizens whose native language is not English, a TOEFL score. The minimum TOEFL scores are as follows:

     Internet based TOEFL = 79

      Paper based TOEFL = 550
      Computer test = 213


Target Dates:
Fall semester: April 1 (Applications will be accepted beyond this date, and into the late Spring and Summer, on a space-available basis).
Spring semester: October 1 (Applications will be accepted beyond this date on a space-available basis).

Schomburg Minority Fellowships:
Provide a stipend of $7,500 per academic year, plus a tuition waiver for two years. There is no teaching obligation attached to this fellowship.

Admission to Ph.D. from the M.A.
Students completing their M.A. in history at UB may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program. They should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies regarding the application deadline and procedures. The decision is made by the department’s Admissions Committee and is based on a review of all the application materials. (NB: Ph.D. admissions standards apply to all applications; no special consideration is given if the M.A. was conferred at UB.)

Last updated: Monday, November 24, 2014

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