Tips for Applicants

Tips and Guidelines for Preparing your Application

Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose should be in 12 point type and approximately one page single spaced or two pages double spaced.

You should address why you would like to earn a Master’s Degree in History and what area(s) of concentration and historical questions you hope to focus on.

Also keep the following questions in mind when writing your statement of purpose:

  • Is there a research project you particularly want to pursue, or a specific faculty member you hope to work with?
  • How has your background prepared you for graduate work? This could include undergraduate study, internships, language skills, work experience, etc.
  • What are your goals for the program? Do you hope to go onto a Ph.D.? Build professional standing with a graduate degree? Or are you a lifelong learner?
  • Why would you like to pursue the degree at CSULB?

Writing Sample

Choose an essay written for a course in history or a related field that shows off your research and analytical skills. The paper should include proper citations (footnotes or parenthetical citations) to primary and secondary sources. You should select an example that highlights your ability as a writer, researcher and historical thinker.

Letters of Recommendation

Three current letters (i.e., written preferably within one year of your application date are required, at least two of which should be from faculty members who know your work. Letters should speak to your analytical, research, and writing skills as well as your intellectual ability and preparedness for the rigors of graduate work. Faculty letters usually give us the clearest assessment of your potential as a student of history.

However, we recognize that applicants who have been out of school for a while may not be able to get faculty letters. In such cases, please consult with the Graduate Advisor on how to proceed. 

We treat recommendation letters as confidential. As a result, recommenders (not applicants!) should send them to

If the recommender is writing in a professional capacity (as a faculty member, employer, etc.), the letter should be on institutional letterhead if possible.

A Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae is an academic resume.

It should include the following:

  • Full name
  • Contact information (address, phone number, and e-mail)
  • Education (university degrees and dates)
  • Employment/internships if relevant to the M.A. program in history
  • Relevant publications
  • Languages (specify written and oral fluency)
  • Membership in professional/academic organizations
  • Academic or professional awards or prizes