Graduate 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. Public history courses include documentary editing, historic site management and archival administration, and museum exhibitions.

Visit the Public History at VCU Blog for more insights into the development of our program, student internships and projects, community engagement and more!

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

Admissions Criteria

Applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a history major or substantial credits in subject areas containing historical content (such as literature, political theory, art history, etc.). Alternatively, applicants can substitute work experience, such as archival, museum, or preservation work, for the undergraduate major. Applicants' transcripts should show a grade point average indicative of the ability to pursue successfully a graduate degree.

If a personal interview is desirable, applicants should contact the department's director of graduate studies, Emilie Raymond at


Fall Admission Spring Admission
Priority consideration: February 15 Priority consideration: October 15
Deadline: July 1 Deadline: December 1

It is recommended that candidates apply early to ensure consideration for graduate teaching assistantships and for receipt of any applicable financial aid.

Required Application Materials

  1. A written statement of intent, indicating why the applicant wishes to pursue a graduate certificate in public history, what particular interests in this field the applicant may have, and professional goals
  2. Transcripts from all undergraduate institutions
  3. Three letters of reference from instructors or colleagues capable of speaking to the applicant's ability to conduct research, communicate effectively, contribute in a classroom and progress through graduate school

Students in the certificate program may apply for admission into the history M.A. program after having completed nine credit hours, with no more than three internship credits counting toward that total, in the graduate program. These applicants must provide letters of recommendation from at least two professors in the VCU history department and a writing sample. If accepted, students may transfer the certificate credits toward partial fulfillment of the master’s degree requirements.

Application Status Inquiries

Office of Admissions
408 W. Franklin St.
3rd floor
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2526

Phone: (804) 828-6916

Put Your Learning Into Action

Internships (HIST 693) are available at a wide variety of public history institutions in the area and count toward the completion of the certificate.

front of the black history museum and cultural center of virginia