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Public History Concentration

Public history is a field of history that requires its practitioners to use the skills and methods of academic history with an eye toward connecting the public with that history. As such, public historians are trained to work with a diverse range of primary sources (archival documents, artifacts, art, oral histories, film, photographs), and find employment in a range of locales (archives, historical societies, historic sites, libraries, museums, documentary films, government agencies, universities, the world wide web, etc.).

First and foremost, the Public History Concentration will give you a strong training in History. While the History Major Core Courses will introduce you to a host of research methodologies, basic historiography, and theory, your Lower Division Coursework and Upper Division History Electives will allow you to explore a range of content areas. The courses that are offered as part of the Public History Concentration will introduce you to the range of careers that are possible for public historians, and will give you the opportunity to hone your research, writing, and presentation skills. If you take courses in the Public History Concentration, expect experiential learning opportunities that will connect you and your work with an audience beyond the classroom. Courses in Public History stress field-based research projects, and the Concentration strongly recommends that you participate in a Public History Internship.
Public History Internship opportunities will be regularly posted in the History Department. These positions are sometimes competitive, so you will need to be open to a range of locales and should start planning at least two quarters in advance. The Public History Concentration Director would be happy to discuss possible internship opportunities with you, and to assist in matching your interests to public history venues. Please note, however, that you are in charge of arranging your internship.
All Public History Internships will need to be approved by the Public History Concentration Director. Once it is approved, you will need to enroll in HST 392, Public History Internship. Because you will need the Director’s approval prior to enrolling in the Course, you should consult with the Director well in advance to ensure that the Internship opportunity is appropriate for the Public History Concentration.

The National Council on Public History has prepared a guide called "The Public History Navigator: How to Choose and Thrive in a Graduate Public History Program."  If you are considering graduate education and a career in public history, first consult the guide, then make an appointment with Prof. Amy Tyson to talk about your goals.

The Director is currently Prof. Amy M. Tyson. She can be reached by email at, or by phone at ext. 54983.
The National Council on Public History regularly publishes jobs and careers that are available to public historians. This is by no means comprehensive, but it will give you an idea of the wide range of possible careers.