Oral History

Columbia University

12 months
58764 USD/year
58764 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


Columbia University’s Oral History Master of Arts Program is the first program of its kind in the United States: a one-year interdisciplinary MA degree training students in oral history method and theory. 

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Through the creation, archiving and analysis of individual, community and institutional histories, we amplify the critical first-person narratives that constitute memory for generations to come.

Our innovative Oral History curriculum offered by Columbia University combines professional and academic education. Academics learn to communicate with the public and produce knowledge of broad relevance; other professionals benefit from research experience and grounding in the history of our field.

Our graduates work in museums, historical societies, advocacy organizations, media, the arts, education, human rights and development. As independent contractors, they manage oral history projects, teach interview workshops, and offer project consultations to leading institutions and community organizations. They earn doctorates in fields like anthropology, sociology, history, journalism, and American studies or professional degrees in law, education, or social work. 

During a year at OHMA, students hone skills in digital audio and video production and editing, digital archiving, oral history project design and interviewing, and both historical and social science analysis. Working with an OHMA faculty member and an outside advisor, each student is guided through the process of creating a thesis or capstone project.

Many of our students work at the intersections of the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and past projects have taken the form of academic and creative essays, film and audio documentaries, performances, exhibits, and multimedia websites. OHMA students also have access to research and travel funding, elective courses taught anywhere within the University and exclusive oral history internship opportunities.

Jointly run by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research, one of the preeminent oral history centers in the world, and INCITE, a lively hub for transdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences, OHMA connects students with both the intellectual resources of a major research university, and the intimate society of a small cohort of talented students.

Columbia’s oral history program, founded in 1948, is widely acknowledged as the original home of academic oral history in the United States. Created in 2008, OHMA brings that deep history of thought and research to bear in a world where storytelling has become a buzzword and every brand has a narrative.

At the cutting edge of the field, our faculty works across disciplines in training students to conduct ethical, rigorous, nuanced, historically situated research. We support them in experimenting and finding new ways to use the methods and theoretical perspectives of oral history into the twenty-first century.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Oral History Workshop
  • Oral History Method, Theory, and Interpretation 
  • Oral History: Fieldwork, Production and Archiving
  • Oral History Video Intensive
  • Oral History Internship
  • Social Science and Other Approaches to Studying Life History & Narrative Information
  • From Oral History to Literary Narrative 

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months

Start dates & application deadlines


IELTS or TOEFL needed


30 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA Your GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a number that indicates how well or how high you scored in your courses on average. Usually a GPA scales between 1.0 and 4.0, however different countries and universities can have different grading systems.
GMAT admission requirements GMAT The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a test intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. GMAT contains 4 sections - Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. The score has a range from 200 - 800.

English requirements

IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).
7.5 (required)
TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at desiganated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
100 (required)
PTE Academic admission requirements PTE Academic PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic) is a language test that enables students to demonstrate their writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills when applying to study in English. The score refers to a total score which ranges between 10 and 90.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Standardized Tests

Tuition Fee

  • International

    58764 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 29382 USD per semester and a duration of 12 months.
  • National

    58764 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 29382 USD per semester and a duration of 12 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Oral History
Columbia University