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students in the nation of history building

The Department of History offers close mentoring with top scholars as well as the benefits of a large and diverse research community. Collaborative efforts with the Center for Texas Music History, the Center for the Study of the Southwest, and a vibrant public history program complement the graduate program.

Students sharpen their critical thinking, broaden their global perspective, and gain exposure to diverse historical sources and debates.

San Marcos offers a rich locale for public history practice with more than 50 history museums, archives, preservation organizations, and historic sites within a 100-mile radius, including The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, the San Antonio Missions, the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Texas State Library and Archives.

Students apply public history skills and methods to the study, documentation, preservation, and management of historical and cultural resources.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Jose Carlos de la Puente
Taylor-Murphy History (TMH), Room 227

Advisor Support
Roberta Ruiz
Taylor-Murphy History (TMH), Room 202

Graduate Advisor
(Public History)

Dr. Peter Dedek
Taylor-Murphy History (TMH), Room 206

“As a U.S. history teacher, I have enjoyed teaching the way I have been taught, analyzing documents from multiple perspectives and discussing them rather than simply accepting a particular interpretation.”

— David Foster, M.A. ’18

“Not only did I learn how to be a historian through the public history program at Texas State University, but I discovered how to bring that knowledge to everyday people, to compel them to think critically about their past as well.ˮ

– Sarah Marshall, M.A. ’12, Texas Historical Commission

Course Work

Master of Arts (M.A.) students may choose either the thesis or non-thesis option. Those who choose the thesis option will produce an original work of substantial length based on research in primary source materials. Students who choose the non-thesis option will instead demonstrate their mastery of historical knowledge and skills by completing comprehensive exams covering their major fields of study. Students also may choose the non-thesis option with a concentration in history education. This degree allows those who wish to become teachers to combine history course work with education course work leading to teacher certification. Alternately, those who are already teachers may combine history course work with study in one or two other fields.

The M.A. in history with a specialization in public history is available with a thesis or a non-thesis option. The non-thesis option requires 36 credit hours, with students taking designated public history courses and history courses in an approved period, region, or thematic area. The thesis option requires 39 credit hours, including the general research seminar and six hours of thesis credit. Collaborative efforts with the Center for Texas Music History, the Center for the Study of Southwest, the Center for International Studies, and the Center for Texas Public History complement outstanding scholarship and curricular opportunities throughout the graduate program.

Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.A. No concentration 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. No concentration 33 Thesis* No minor
M.A. History Education 36 Non-Thesis Minor
M.A. Public History Studies 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.A. Public History Studies 39 Thesis* No minor

  Please read additional information below regarding thesis course work and foreign language competency.

Courtyard inside Taylor-Murphy Hall

Graduates have gone on to graduate from top doctoral programs such as Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, and Rutgers and have achieved successful careers in education, business, government, and beyond.

Students gain practical skills and knowledge through internships and Center for Texas Public History projects. Partnerships and interdisciplinary cooperative agreements provide additional resources that enhance each student’s experience.

Program Mission

The mission of the History Department at Texas State University is to shape exceptional scholars and broaden historical horizons by offering a rigorous program for students who are passionate about history and about furthering their education. Small classes and close mentoring with top research faculty mean a personalized graduate experience and access to a close-knit community of scholars. Hands-on learning immerses students in historiographical debates, tightens analytical and writing skills, and develops research abilities. The department is committed to the highest levels of academic excellence and to providing top-quality mentoring and training for its students.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

The department’s robust full-time faculty have established national and international reputations in their fields. Faculty maintain outstanding levels of research and publications, with particular strengths in the fields of American and Latin American history. Graduate faculty have published with top academic presses, including Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard University Press. Their publications can also be found in top-tier journals, including Slavery and Abolition, the Hispanic American Historical Review, The Americas, The Journal of American Ethnic History, The Journal of Women’s History, and others.

Public History Concentration: The History Department boasts an impressive faculty known for their varied research projects and professional expertise. The curriculum takes full advantage of established scholars and practicing professionals in the fields of historic preservation, oral history, local and community history, historic site interpretation, cultural resource management, and museum and archival management. Areas of faculty specialization include American, European, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, and West and North African history as well as Public History.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Graduate study in history develops written and verbal communication skills and analytical abilities that prepare students for a wide range of occupations. Although many graduates of the M.A. history program go on to careers in public and higher education, they also achieve professional success in business, industry, and government agencies.

Public History Concentration: This program prepares students for public history careers in a variety of settings and leads students to pursue doctoral studies. Graduates find professional employment in historic preservation, oral history, historic site interpretation, public programming, museums, and archives management.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I April 15 March 15
Summer II June 1 No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for funding. Read additional information about departmental assistantships.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee(s)

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • minimum 3.25 GPA in a minimum of 24 hours of undergraduate history course work
  • background course work (preferred): six hours of undergraduate foreign language 

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • official GRE (general test only) required with competitive scores in the verbal reasoning section

  The GRE may be waived if you hold a master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If you hold a master's or doctoral degree (or the equivalent thereof) from an accredited international institution, the GRE may be waived on an individual basis.

  Review important information about official test scores.


  • brief statement of any foreign language competencies including a description of reading and speaking skills in terms of basic, intermediate, proficient, and fluent abilities. Read additional information below.
  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose (400-500 words with name in header) describing how your undergraduate experience in history courses directed your career toward graduate-level work in history or how that experience shaped what you expect of your work in history at the graduate level 
  • two letters of recommendation with at least one from a history professor (if you majored in history)

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

  Foreign Language Competency
If you choose to work on a thesis in certain areas of European history or Latin American history in which a foreign language is essential to your research, then a lack of facility in a foreign language could pose a problem. If you are intending to do research in U.S. history or even in some areas other than U.S. history, lack of competency in one or more foreign languages may not pose a problem at all. However, if you eventually want to pursue a doctoral degree after completing a master’s degree in history, you are encouraged to develop or maintain your language skills, as language competency will be required.

  Funding Information
If you wish to apply for a graduate instructional assistant (GIA) position, please complete the GIA application form, and forward it to Dr. Jose Carlos de la Puente ( no later than June 1 for the fall term and November 1 for the spring term.