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2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Apr 14, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Public History, M.A.

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Learning Outcomes

  • All students in the Public History program will demonstrate specific competencies required for professional practice in the public history field in which they are specializing, including competencies with information and communication technologies, knowledge of public law or professional best practices, and familiarity with the special problems of the particular cultural resources (documents, objects, buildings, sites) with which they will be working in their professional careers. 
  • Students will gain practical experience in a non-classroom setting, performing work appropriate to their concentration and interests, mentored by a working public history professional through both internships and assistantships. 
  • Students will produce a comprehensive portfolio of their work as a public history degree student, including a resume, short reflective essay, and public history projects. 

Degree Requirements (30 Hours)

The M.A. in Public History integrates traditional graduate study in history with professional training in the skills used in the public and private sectors. The curriculum offers a choice of two areas of concentration for the major field: historic preservation and museums. In addition, students complete course work in a minor field within the general graduate history curriculum, usually but not exclusively U.S. to 1877 or U.S. since 1789.

A reading knowledge of one foreign language or competence in an appropriate methodology is required. Choice of the latter must be approved by the Graduate Committee.

Candidates for the M.A. in Public History choose a major and a minor field, perform a 145-hour internship, present a portfolio of their work, and write a thesis. A minimum of 30 semester hours, of which 12 hours will be in public history courses, 15 hours will be in the history core, and 3 hours of thesis credits are required. 

Major Field (12 Hours)

Students take 6 hours of course work chosen from one of two concentrations, and 6 additional hours of courses with Public History content (and so designated by the Department’s Graduate Committee), some of which might be in the concentration, some of which might not.

Minor Field (15 Hours)

All students are required to take HIST 720  in their first semester.

Students with a minor field in US to 1877 must take either HIST 701  or 752  and HIST 702 . Students with a minor field in US since 1789 must take HIST 702  and 703 . Students in another field must take two relevant reading seminars (HIST 700 and above) approved by their advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies.

All students must take one elective in History at the 700-level.

All students must take one semester of HIST 800 - Topics in History Research .

Thesis Preparation (3 Hours)

3 hours of thesis preparation  (HIST 799 ).


Students must complete an internship of at least 145 hours, approved by their advisor.

Additional Information

The M.A. thesis will be an expanded version of the student’s 800-level research seminar paper, revised to the standard of a potentially publishable article-length essay. The thesis must be submitted in accordance with the regulations of The Graduate School. An oral comprehensive examination on the student’s thesis will be given after the student’s thesis advisor approves the thesis for the defense. In this examination, the student will be asked to place his/her thesis in historiographic perspective. 

In addition to the thesis, students will compile a portfolio of their public history work in accordance with departmental policy and will present that portfolio at a public review.

Students must complete an internship of at least 145 hours in a professional capacity. Students must have an internship contract approved in advance of the work by the Director of the Public History program. Students must submit a final report following the conclusion of the internship and must solicit a work report about their performance from their internship supervisor to be sent directly to the Director of the Public History program.

Candidates for the M.A. in Public History shall file a Program of Study no later than 12 months after entering the program. A student in the M.A./M.L.I.S. joint program should prepare and file separate forms for each degree but should submit them together to The Graduate School.

All students enrolled in public history may also enter the Museum Certificate Program coordinated by the University’s McKissick Museum or the certificate program in Historical Archeology and Cultural Resource Management offered by the Department of Anthropology. Students may apply for dual degree status with the M.A./M.L.I.S. offered in conjunction with the School of Library and Information Science.

Additional information is available at Graduate Dual Degree Programs .

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