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Public History

Is it possible to work in the field of history? With SU’s program, you can.

If you love history and want to make a career of it, Stevenson's Public History major was designed to help you do just that. We'll teach you the specialized knowledge, skills, and real-world experience in internships and upper-level public history courses to help make a career in public history a reality.

  • Overview


    Bachelor of Arts or Science

    One of the nation's few four-year undergraduate majors in the field, Stevenson's Public History major provides students the breadth of a traditional American history major combined with the opportunity to study and practice the public presentation of history through specialized coursework and internships.

    As a student of public history at SU, you'll learn to analyze, interpret, and evaluate historical evidence; to apply historical perspective to contemporary issues; and to honor historical interpretation from those of diverse cultural traditions and values, all with the goal of conveying historical understanding to members of the general public.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Comprehend historical periods, persons, events, ideas, and themes with a special focus on United States history as well as the concepts of historical causation, conflict, and change over time underlying all historical study.
    • Master both fundamental historical research and critical thinking about history.
    • Evaluate the historical significance of race and ethnicity, class, gender and sex, and religion, especially in the development of the United States.
    • Communicate historical knowledge and interpretations to a variety of general public audiences.
    • Understand career paths related to public history and effectively search for relevant employment opportunities.

    Why Study Public History?

    To prepare you for a career in public history, the program has two primary objectives. One is to give you a solid foundation in general historical knowledge and methodology focused on the United States as part of an undergraduate liberal arts education. The other is to teach you specialized knowledge and skills, give you real-world experience in internships, and offer you upper-level history courses that will position you for success in the field. In addition to working in public history, you'll be prepared to pursue a number of other careers, including teaching, museum administration, journalism, filmmaking, law, historical archeology, and government service.

    • Participate in the History Forum, where you'll join other Public History majors and faculty to hear special speakers and attend other degree-related activities.
    • Apply what you know through internships at such places as the Smithsonian Institute, the National Archives, and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, to name a few.
    • Take electives that meet your personal historical interests, such as American Women's History; Historical Archeology; History of the Family; Making the U.S. Constitution; Robbers, Radicals, and Reformers: U.S., 1877-1920; and more.
    • Benefit from the program's distinctive strong liberal arts context, which will give you a broad perspective about your course of study.
  • Courses & Requirements

    Courses and Requirements

    For completion of the bachelor's degree, Public History majors are required to complete 45 credits (15 courses) from the courses listed below as indicated. Students must also complete the non-credit HIST 100 every semester while enrolled in the Public History program and complete the requirements for the Stevenson core curriculum. In addition, students who are new to the Public History major (traditional University freshmen, transfer students, and students who are declaring a Public History major for the first time) are required to complete a special section of the non-credit First Year Seminar that is designed specifically for new Public History majors. Specific pre- and co-requisites for each course are listed in the course descriptions.

    Major Requirements

    Required Core History Courses

    Students are required to take all eight of the following required core history courses. In addition, students must also complete HIST 100 every semester while enrolled in the public history program.

    General History Required Core Courses
    • HIST 105 World History I
    • HIST 106 World History II
    • HIST 109 U.S. History I
    • HIST 110 U.S. History II
    • HIST 209 Research and Writing in History
    • HIST 410 The Great Historians
    Public History Required Core Courses
    • HIST 208 Introduction to Public History
    • HIST 450 Public History Internship

    Required Elective History Courses

    General history elective courses selected from the following courses (Students are required to take five courses, four courses of which must be at the 300- or 400-level.)

    • HIST 210 African American History
    • HIST 220 American History and Community Service
    • HIST 230 American Women's History
    • HIST 238 History of Baltimore
    • HIST 306 History of the Family
    • HIST 311 Topics in General History
    • HIST 314 Revolutionary America
    • HIST 317 The Western Intellectual Tradition
    • HIST 330 Robbers, Radicals, and Reformers: US, 1877-1920
    • HIST 336 The American Civil War
    • HIST 337 The United States: The Sixties
    • HIST 339 The United States Since 1970
    • HIST 350 Independent Study
    • HIST 411 Senior Seminar

    Public history elective courses selected from the following courses (Students are required to take two courses.)

    • HIST 312 Topics in Public History
    • HIST 331 American Material Culture

    Secondary Requirements

    There are no secondary requirements for the Public History major. This allows majors to take select courses in related disciplines or minor in a related field to strengthen their marketability upon graduation. For example, a Public History major interested in employment at a history museum following graduation would have ample opportunity to take management courses or a management minor at Stevenson.

    Public History Resource Guide

  • Tracks & Minors

    Tracks and Minors


    Students may minor in History. Any HIST course for which the student has satisfied the prerequisites may count toward a minor except courses restricted to Public History majors, such as HIST 100 and HIST 450. For further information on a History minor and to enroll as a History minor, contact the Humanities and Public History Department chairperson. For specific information regarding general minor requirements, please consult the minors section of the catalog.

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What Can You Do With This Degree?

Graduates of our Public History program embark on many rewarding career choices, including:

• Historic Preservation
• Public Advocacy
• Journalism
• Education
• Cultural Research

Curious about internships and job placement after you graduate? Visit our Office of Career Services.

career services

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