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Graduate Program Admission Requirements & Procedures


I’m glad that you are interested in applying to the graduate program in history at Boise State University. While I believe that this website will give you a good idea of our programs and our faculty, please permit me to color in some of the grey areas.

You are considering applying to a department that prides itself on working closely with graduate students. We are a dynamic and diverse faculty who are all dedicated to the success of our students. This is not the sort of masters program that will lose track of you. At the same time, it is a selective program. We are neither able nor inclined to be a masters factory, so keep in mind that applying is no guarantee of acceptance. Before you apply, look over our faculty to get an idea of our fields. Contact them if you wish. They are accessible and helpful. See if we do what you would like to do.

We have offered a Master of Arts in History for over twenty five years now. This degree is the “traditional” masters, which culminates either with a portfolio or a thesis.  The portfolio option is best for secondary education teachers or others not seeking further graduate work; the thesis option opens the door to further doctoral study in history and/or an academic career track. We also offer a Master of Applied Historical Research degree. We created this degree to answer an enormous demand both regionally and nationally for public historians who combine their historical study with some practical vocation. Each program has been successful. Our MA graduates have been accepted into doctoral programs at a growing rate; our past applied students have found excellent jobs in Boise, Idaho, and beyond.

If you wish to apply, go to the online application page here: or check out the graduate handbook (you can access it from the Graduate Program webpage) for proper procedures.  Also see the application tips within the MA and MAHR program descriptions.   In your letter of application, be specific about what you would like to study. Include a writing sample that demonstrates that you can hit the ground running in graduate seminars. Secure letters of recommendation from scholars who can tell us about you as a potential historian. If you are accepted, you will have a rich and rewarding experience.

Best wishes,

Lisa McClain
Professor of History
Graduate Program Coordinator