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Coterminal Masters

Each year we admit a limited number of Stanford undergraduates to our co-terminal B.A. - M.A. program in History.

Co-terminal M.A. students work with History faculty members in conducting original research in a topic or field of their interest. Explore each field and their affiliates 

Expectations and Degree Requirements

Co-terminal M.A. students in History must complete 15 full-time quarters cumulatively (or the equivalent including transfer credit) or 3 full quarters after completing 180 units, for a total of 225 units. Nine graduate-level courses (a minimum of 45 units) must be completed with B+ or better. All courses must be completed with a letter grade, and with the following distribution of coursework:

  • at least one history graduate seminar (400-level);
  • at least four history graduate colloquia (300-level), (not History 304);
  • three courses within a single field of study (Africa, Britain, Early Modern Europe, East Asia, Jewish History, Latin America, Medieval Europe, Modern Europe, Ottoman Empire and Middle East, Russia/Eastern Europe, Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine, South Asia, Transnational, International and Global History or the U.S.;
  • no more than 2 courses taken outside History may be counted to the M.A.;
  • no more than 2 may be Directed Reading or other individualized courses.

Students must meet all requirements for both degrees; no course may be "double-counted."

How to Apply

Each year the department admits a limited number of undergraduates to its program leading to a co-terminal BA and MA degree in History. Some students apply in their junior year and complete their MA studies in their fourth year at Stanford. Others apply in their senior year, planning their MA coursework for their fifth year at Stanford.

Applicants must meet the same general standards as those seeking admission to the MA program. The requirements are as follows:

  • Coterminal Application
  • Statement of Purpose
  • 1 Copy of Official Transcripts (Official Stanford transcript is requested and submitted through the online application. DO NOT request an official paper transcript from the Registrar's Office.)
  • 1 Writing Sample on a Historic Topic (10-25 pages)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation (2 must be from History Faculty)
  • Preliminary Program Proposal 
  • Coterminal course transfer information
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test is not required
  • Application fee (to be billed by the University)

Students from departments other than History should have done sufficient work in History. Students should be done with their undergraduate major by the start of the program. Conferral of the BA is restricted the quarter after admission of the co-terminal program. For instance, if admission is for Spring quarter, conferral of the BA must be for Spring quarter or later.

Please keep in mind that courses cannot be "double-counted" towards both degrees. For more information about the Co-terminal Program, please refer to the Graduate Admission's Coterminal Online Application webpage.

Please also consider reviewing the Stanford School of Humanities &SciencesGuide on Getting into Grad School to explore which graduate program may best suit your interest, what graduate committees look for, and the benefits and challenges for pursuing a graduate degree. 

Some students apply in their junior year and complete their M.A. studies in their fourth year at Stanford; others apply in the senior year, planning their M.A. coursework for their fifth year at Stanford. It is advisable for senior-status applicants to track closely their completed units toward graduation. As soon as a co-term student reaches 180 units, they will be registered immediately with graduate status. Accordingly, such students will no longer have the option to "stop out" or to apply for PSO (Permit for Services Only) registration, as both are options restricted to undergraduates. Achieving graduate status may have other consequences, depending upon each student's unique situation. For this reason, seniors at the time of application are advised to meet with the Registrar in order to plan wisely.

Students applying for co-term admission must specify a field of study, select a faculty advisor, and should have a 3.75 GPA in history courses (or the equivalent if they are entering without a history major). Three letters of recommendation must be submitted (one from the current faculty advisor, one from the prospective M.A. advisor, and one other of the students choice) in addition to transcripts and the application form itself. The deadline for applying to the co-term program will be the same deadline date as the Ph.D./M.A. graduate program admissions.

The Department of History welcomes graduate applications from individuals with a broad range of life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds who would contribute to our community of scholars. Review of applications is holistic and individualized, considering each applicant’s academic record and accomplishments, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays in order to understand how an applicant’s life experiences have shaped their past and potential contributions to their field.

The Department of History also recognizes that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June 2023 about the consideration of certain types of demographic information as part of an admission review. All applications submitted during upcoming application cycles will be reviewed in conformance with that decision.

Application deadline for Spring Quarter 2023-24 is Tuesday, December 5, 2023

For more information, please contact Arthur Palmon ( Assistant Director of Student Services).