Public History Program Requirements
The program requires 33 semester hours (11 classes) divided between traditional academic coursework, specialized seminars in public history, and field experience. Ideally, students should at the beginning of their program complete HIST 510, (Seminar in Public History), which explores the field’s development, methodologies, and employment opportunities, and HIST 501, The Professional Historian, which focuses on research and writing methodology as well as the professional nature of history. The Public History Coordinator will work with students to design a program of study that builds upon acquired skills and is specific to a student’s interests and goals.
Public History Courses Required:
- HIST 501 The Professional Historian
- HIST 502 Historiography
- HIST 510 Seminar in Public History
- HIST 511 Topics in Public History (taken twice with different topics)
- HIST 521 Public History Internship
- HIST 595 Public History Research Project (Plan C)
Other History Courses Required:
- Non-History Elective
- Directed History Elective
- General Graduate History Courses (6 credits)
Public history students take at least two topics courses (Hist 511) designed to provide them with applied knowledge and hands-on experiences in the practice of Public History. Upon graduation our students are repeatedly recognized by experts in the field as ready to begin work, having spent so much time “doing” history rather than just reading about it.
Skills Workshops and Conference/Event Participation
Students are required to attend 5 pre-approved conference or workshops during their tenure in the program. These may include workshops that develop hands-on skills such as database training or materials conservation. The requirement is also to encourage students to attend conferences and events that allow them to network and become part of the professional historical community.
Dependent on scheduling, available field topics may include:
- Oral history
- Museum interpretation
- Educational programming
- Material culture
- Digital history
- Historic Preservation
- Collections management
- Community History
An integral part of the program is the Semester Internship. Students work with the Public History Coordinator to determine an internship that helps them define a career goal and provide field experience. Students spend 120 hours on the job and an additional 30-40 hours completing a final paper and annotated bibliography project.
The program culminates with a Capstone Project, as opposed to a traditional MA thesis. Student-designed projects incorporate client-based and/or academically based research that is presented to a non-academic audience. Students will determine final projects that correlate with their internship experience.
Projects can broad and imaginative in nature. Some projects have included the following:
- Walking tours
- Local or institutional histories
- Oral history projects
- Visitor surveys
- Grant applications
- Historic site educational curriculum
- National Register nominations
- Historic Structure Reports
- Historic monument interpretations
- Collections database projects
For more information contact:
Dr. Leah Glaser
Public History Program Coordinator