Certificate in Public History

The graduate Certificate in Public History faculty 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.

Students in the certificate program may apply for admission into the Master of Arts in History 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, a writing sample, and have successfully completed the GRE exam.  If accepted, students 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.

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 691 Topics courses with a public history focus (such as Archives or Digital History)
  6. 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.