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Terminal MA Program

Our M.A. students complete nine graduate courses in close collaboration with department faculty. Students may specialize in 14 distinct subfields: 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, and United States. Explore each field and their affiliates

Expectations and Degree Requirements

Terminal M.A. students must have a faculty advisor who approve their program of study. They submit their program proposal to Graduate Program Coordinator in their first quarter. They are expected to complete

  • 45 units or more (at least 35 of the 45 units must be listed as History courses) for a total minimum of 9 courses are required for the M.A.
  • 25 units or more in History courses must be at the graduate level (300 level or above), including one graduate research seminar (400-level, not directed research); 15 of these units must be within a single Ph.D. major field; a maximum of 10 units can be Directed Reading (399W) so long as it involves writing and is taken for a letter grade.
  • up to 10 units may be in non-History coursework (such as the study of a "difficult" foreign language). 

The department requires the completion of nine courses (totaling not less than 45 units) of graduate work. Seven courses of this work must be Department of History courses. Of the seven, one must be a seminar and four must be either graduate colloquia or graduate seminars. Directed reading may be counted for a maximum of 10 units. A candidate whose undergraduate training in history is deemed inadequate must complete nine courses of graduate work in the department. The department does not recognize for credit toward the M.A. degree any work that has not received the grade of 'A' or 'B.' M.A. students who take undergraduate courses should expect to fulfill requirements appropriate to graduate study, at the discretion of the instructor. University requirements for the M.A. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of the Stanford bulletin.

How to Apply

Admission to the History Graduate Programs are for Autumn quarter only.  Interested applicants can apply online at and submit the following documents: 

  • Statement of Purpose (included in Application)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • A Copy of Official Transcripts from each University/College attended
    •  Transcripts are required from all prior college level schools attended for at least one year.  A scanned copy of the official transcript is submitted as part of the online application.  Please do not mail transcripts to the department.  We will ask only the admitted students to submit actual copies of official transcripts.
  • 1 Writing Sample on a historic topic (10-25 pages; sent via Stanford's online application system only)
  • The GRE exam is not required for the autumn 2024 admission cycle
  • TOEFL for all international applicants (whose primary language is not English) sent via ETS. Our University code is 4704.
  • TOEFL Exemptions and Waiver information
  • Application fee $125 (subject to change)
    • Application Fee Waiver
    • The department is not able to provide fee waivers. Please see the link above for the available fee waivers and how to submit a request. Requests are due 2 weeks before the application deadline.

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 Autumn 2024-25 is Tuesday, December 5, 2023, 11:59pm EST. This is a hard -not a postmark- deadline. 

All application material is available online. No information is sent via snail mail. Interested applicants are invited to view a Guide to Graduate Admissions at  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. 

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who receive up to three years of funding and valuable leadership skills as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a multidisciplinary and multicultural cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your graduate studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 11, 2023. Learn more about KHS admission.


Please contact Arthur Palmon (Assistant Director of Student Services).