Public History, MA

Central to Bringing the Past to Life.

Public history is a field for historians looking to work beyond the pages of textbooks and the walls of a classroom. Its practitioners interpret history for public audiences, in a variety of spaces including museums, archives, national parks, heritage sites, government agencies, and digital platforms throughout the state, across the country, and around the globe. We work for and with communities and with other disciplines conducting research, communicating the significant stories from our past, and preserving cultural resources.

A master's degree in public history from Central will provide you with the skills and experience you need to use your passion for history in a successful career outside of traditional academia. Central’s Public History Program works with organizations throughout Connecticut to prepare you to engage with diverse audiences and historical sources in institutional, corporate and community environments. 

In this program, students will engage in graduate-level academic coursework, learn job-specific skills, and gain field-based experience with collaborative inquiry, community outreach, and a commitment to environmental sustainability. You will have the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, network with professionals, intern in history institutions, and build a competitive resume in preparation for a successful and fulfilling career in the field.

Program Features

  • Starts every January and August
  • 33-credit program
  • Attend full- or part-time
  • Classes offered evenings on campus
  • Nontraditional learning environment includes study in the classroom, field, and specialized seminars
  • Financial aid is available
  • No GMAT/GRE required

Program Options

Work with local and state history museums. Learn about exhibit curatorship, interpretation, programming, and administration.

Learn how and why to document, designate, and steward historic resources across a diverse landscape as part of place-based development.

Master a variety of digital media tools to communicate content and market to the public on social and other media.

Develop the skills cultural institutions need to catalogue, care for, and archive historical documents and artifacts.

Admissions Contact

Graduate Recruitment & Admissions
Leah Glaser
Professor of History, American West
Latino & Puerto Rican Studies Minor
Professor of History, American West
Asian American & Pacific Islander Studies, Minor
Ebenezer D. Bassett Hall

Academic Contact

Mark Jones
Professor, Department Chair
Ebenezer D. Bassett Hall

Academic Department

Since my time at Central's Public History Program I have involved myself in all aspects of a Public History career. Currently I am an 8th Grade US History teacher in Connecticut, and what I learned at Central has been vital to my classroom. I incorporate public history, museums, non-profits, and historic preservation into the coursework that my students are working on.

Danielle Johnson
MA '12

Learning Outcomes

To produce a paper, project, or presentation that meets the professional standards of the public history field.

Core Expectations:

  1. Students identify a public historical problem to explore in their paper or project that reflects a solid understanding of the relevant historiography.
  2. Students develop a final bibliography that demonstrates knowledge of relevant secondary sources.
  3. Students write clearly.
  4. Students apply public history skills of shared inquiry and reflective practice to engage with the public or a community partner to address community-defined needs and interests.