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Public History | Advice from Students

Graduate History

Affording AU

Most of the MA students work full or part-time while pursuing their degrees. Many of them work on campus but some also find positions off campus at federal and non-profit institutions. For an estimation of the cost of attending AU, please visit the College of Arts and Sciences finance page.

There are several options for financing your Public History MA education. AU's Office of Financial Aid assists students applying for student loans and provides information for prospective graduate students in addition to resources for current graduate students.

Another option is working for the university.* AU's Human Resources department has a Student Jobs Portal. As a full-time employee, you can take advantage of tuition remission after working for the university for a semester. The tuition remission will cover up to 8 credits a semester and 20 credits per academic year.

*Note: Being an employee with AU is not the same as Federal Work Study.

Off-Campus Jobs

The History Department's own Careers in History page offers a number of useful links to long-term job opportunities. Also, the public history program's Facebook page serves as a community forum where students, alumni, and faculty can post and share new job and internship opportunities.

Welcome to Graduate School

This article by David Shorter from The Chronicle of Higher Education offers great advice for those entering into MA, MFA, or PhD programs in the humanities and social sciences.

Arts Management Courses

The Museum Management class in the Arts Management program is a great addition to public history studies. The class teaches students about issues facing managers of museums, such as earned income, how to run a successful museum shop, and social media. The class really gives public history students a perspective on the overall operation of a museum.

Finding Housing

You likely already know about using Craigslist for finding a place to live. However, there are a number of other search tools you can explore online, including the Washington Post, Zillow, and A lot of apartments and rooms for rent become available late in the summer, so keep looking and do not despair. 

AU also has a website for off-campus housing options and availability. This resource is only for the AU community, so it has a more selective listing.

Lastly, ask your friends and family if they hear of any openings. You might be surprised what turns up by word of mouth.

Bikes on AU campus.

Getting Around DC

You do not need a car to live in DC while attending AU. You can take the DC metro and buses to get to campus. AU has a free shuttle that runs from the Tenleytown (red line) metro and bus stop to the university.

The city is very friendly to bikers, so you could bike to school. You don't even have to own a bike - Capital Bikeshare lets you rent their bikes for short trips around the city. If you need advice on finding a safe route or want to brush up on your bike safety etiquette, there are organizations like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and lots of bike shops to help you. And there are plenty of places around AU for locking up bikes while you are in class.

If you want to get out of the city for the day or need a car to run errands, you can use Zipcar (there are also parking spaces on campus reserved for Zipcar) or Car2Go.