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Public History | Student Handbook

Graduate History

Program Overview

Students may choose a concentration in public history in conjunction with the MA in history or as an outside field for the PhD in history. The public history concentration for the MA requires 9 hours of core course work plus elective courses. A two-course seminar-practicum series is taken in the first year of study (6 hours). The graduate seminar gives students a historical and theoretical context for their work and covers some of the dominant paradigms in the field public history. The graduate practicum meets in a seminar format and builds professional knowledge and skills in governance, development and grant writing, public outreach, and various interpretive tools. This course requires students to complete class projects at public institutions. Please see complete MA degree requirements.


While the Washington, DC, area has an enormous amount of job and internship opportunities, current and incoming public history students might consider seeking employment at AU. AU's Human Resources department has created a Student Jobs Portal. The History Department's Careers in History page offers a number of useful links to other, long-term job opportunities. The public history's program's own Facebook page serves as community forum where students, alumni, and faculty can post and share new job and internship opportunities. Other resources that you should consult include:

The American Historical Association: Careers in Public History

The National Council on Public History: Recent Job Postings

American Alliance of Museums: Careers and JOBHQ

Idealist: Non-Profit Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities

USAJOBS: The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site

LOT49 DH Jobs: Guide to Finding Digital History Jobs


All public history students must complete as least one internship as part of their degree. Students can find instructions and the necessary forms for internships here.


American University's consortium system gives students the opportunity to pursue coursework at a number of other universities in the Washington, DC, area. Learn about the consortium system and its requirements consortium system and its requirements.

Required Courses

HIST 729: Public History Seminar, required, offered every fall. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 730: Public History Practicum, required, offered every spring. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 691: Graduate Internship. Instructions and Forms.

Elective Courses

These courses fulfill tool of research requirements.

HIST 467/667: Oral History, offered every fall. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 477/677: History and New Media, offered every spring. Sample Syllabus.

Rotating Courses

These courses are offered based on interest and need.

HIST 468/668: Local and Community History, offered alternating springs. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 500: Memory and History. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 470/670: Material and Visual Culture, offered alternating springs. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 468/668: Historic Site Management, offered alternating springs. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 688: Audience Evaluation for Public Historians, offered in the summer.
Sample Syllabus.

HIST 688: Collections Management, offered in the summer. Sample Syllabus.

Past Courses:

HIST 468/668: History and Public Policy. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 377/677: History in the Digital Age. Sample Syllabus.

HIST 367/667: Oral History Seminar. Sample Syllabus.