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College of Humanities & Sciences

Department of History

Certificate in Public History

The Graduate 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 is shared primarily with non-academic audiences, exemplified by the work of archivists, museum curators, historical guides, historic preservationists, editors, publishers, administrators, and digital media specialists. Using a blend of practical, hands-on experience with substantive academic training, students will sharpen their expertise and gain entry into this growing field.

Who should apply?

  • Current public history professionals who want to develop their skills and attain credentials
  • Educators who want to learn to redirect their teaching techniques for different audiences
  • Those new to the field who want to gain practical, hands-on experience and a deep understanding to the field as a whole

This post-baccalaureate certificate can be pursued alone or in conjunction with the VCU Department of History’s current Master of Arts degree. Click here for information on how to apply.

Please see our blog - Public History at VCU - for more insights into the development of our program, student internships and projects, community engagement, and more.

Certificate requirements:

The certificate program requires 15 graduate credit hours of course work, which blends historical instruction with at least one internship.

Students take two required courses:

  1. HIST 651 Public History: Theory and Practice (3 hours)
  2. HIST 693 Internship (3 hours)

Additionally, students must choose three electives from the following three-credit courses (totaling 9 hours):

  1. HIST 623 Readings in Virginia and Southern History
  2. HIST 652 Documentary Editing and Scholarly Publishing
  3. HIST 653 American Material Culture
  4. HIST 654 Oral History: Theory and Practice
  5. HIST 655: Digital History
  6. HIST 657: Controversy in Public History
  7. HIST 691 Topics courses with a public history focus (Recent offerings include Controversy and Public History; Digital History; and Museums, Communities and Cultures.)
  8. HIST 693 Internship (3 hours maximum, in addition to the 3 credit hour internship required above)

Electives may also include a maximum of SIX credit hours from the following list:

  • ARTH 621 Historical Preservation
  • ARTH 681 Museums and Communities
  • ARTH 682 The Museum as Educational Institution
  • ARTH 683 Museum Collections
  • ARTH 684 Curating Museum Exhibitions
  • PADM 650 Principles of Nonprofit Management
  • URSP 517 Historic Preservation in Planning
  • URSP 647 Adaptive Reuse of Buildings

Students currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in History program who fulfill these requirements are welcome to apply for the certificate upon completion.

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