This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2020-21 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goals

The Certificate in Public History draws on faculty expertise and the wealth of historical resources available in the Richmond area to prepare students for professional work in the field of public history. Public history can be defined as the practice of history outside the classroom, exemplified by the work of archivists, museum curators, historical guides, historic preservationists, editors, publishers, administrators and digital media specialists. Accordingly, pursuit of this certificate builds theoretical and methodological knowledge as well as hands-on experience to provide students an entry into the field.

At any time, students in the certificate program may apply for admission into the Master of Arts in History program and, if accepted, may transfer the certificate credits toward partial fulfillment of the master’s degree requirements. Conversely, students currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in History program may fulfill this certificate’s requirements as part of their degree.

Student learning outcomes

Graduates of the program will:

  • Apply to project development the concept of “shared authority” with which public historians engage their various audiences
  • Apply the processes and methodologies historians use to study the past
  • Present historical interpretations effectively in different formats
  • Work collaboratively in a professional setting 

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateFallJul 1
SpringDec 1

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  • Undergraduate exposure to history and humanities courses
  • A GPA indicative of the ability to successfully complete a graduate program
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to provide information concerning the applicant’s probable success in graduate school
  • Submission of a written statement of intent, indicating why the applicant wishes to pursue a graduate certificate in history

Three graduate-level transfer credits will be accepted toward the certificate with the department’s approval. 

Degree requirements

The certificate consists of 15 credit hours, to include the following:

Required courses
HIST 651Public History: Theory and Practice3
HIST 693Internship in History3
Historical Preservation and Architectural History 1
Historic Preservation in Planning
Museums and Communities 1
The Museum as Educational Institution 1
Museum Collections 1
Curating Museum Exhibitions 1
Readings in Virginia and Southern History
Documentary Editing and Scholarly Publishing
American Material Culture
Oral History: Theory and Practice
Special Topics in History (when topic involves public history)
Internship in History 2
Principles of Nonprofit Management 1
Adaptive Reuse of Buildings 1
Total Hours15

No more than six credits may be taken from these non-history (HIST) courses.


An additional three credits may be taken in this required course for a maximum of six credits in HIST 693.

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 15.

Emilie E. Raymond, Ph.D.
Professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-1635

Program website: