Graduate Program History

portland state university graduate history student giving a presentation

History Master's Degree Overview

A Master's in History at Portland State allows our graduate students the flexibility to create their own focus of study in close consultation with faculty advisors who are renowned scholars in their fields.

Depending on their particular career interests, MA students can pursue specialized tracks in Public History or World History. Students seeking a master's in history may go on to pursue doctoral degrees in highly competitive and prestigious programs.

Graduate assistantships -- whether teaching assistantships, editorial assistantships with the scholarly journal Pacific Historical Review, or research assistantships with the Oregon Historical Society -- provide students with tuition remissions, stipends, and valuable experience in academia.

Our graduates go on to work in rewarding, competitive jobs in an array of industries.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
100% online
Combination of online and on campus
  • M
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring

History Master's Degree: Why PSU?

There’s no one “right” type of student for our program and PSU faculty are eager to work with students from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a wide variety of interests. Most of our students are pursuing an MA either as a pathway to a Ph.D. program or as a professional credential in its own right.

Many of our students are interested in further advanced study in history, and choose our program as a way to explore and redefine their interests, and/or to improve their CV for an eventual application to a doctoral program. We have a good track record of placement into competitive Ph.D. programs for those of our MA students who have worked diligently to prepare themselves.

Many of our students seek a master’s degree as a required or supplementary professional credential in teaching at the community college or high school level, public history, etc.
Some students are in our program primarily for reasons of personal curiosity and enrichment. The majority of our students are recent college graduates, but we also regularly see students who are several years or even a few decades removed from college study.

What can I do with a Master's degree in HIstory?

Many of our students seek a master’s degree as a required or supplementary professional credential in teaching at the community college or high school level, public history, etc. If you have a passion for the past, the study of public history is excellent preparation for careers in museums, libraries and archives, and many other institutions. Public History provides skills, background, and contacts for government and public service as well as in journalism, editing, and fundraising/ development. Graduates of the program are now working as archivists, editors, museum directors, consultants, and historians for hire at places like the Oregon Historical Society, the Museum of Speed, METRO, the City of Gresham, Historical Research Associates, Inc., Portland Parks and Recreation, and the Subiaco Museum in Perth, Australia.

Featured Courses

  • HST 500 Intro to the MA Program in History
  • HST 591 Reading Colloquium (a directed readings course on a particular topic)
  • HST 592 Research Seminar (an in-depth research-based exploration of a particular topic)
  • HST 503 Thesis (the culmination of the MA Program)


Students pursue elective courses to build their own customized fields of interest: a primary field of 12 credits of coursework, and a secondary field of 8 credits. Or, students can choose specialized tracks within the MA Program to focus on World History, or Public History.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).