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Public History

The Stevenson Public History Program: Where Students Make History.

If you love history and want to make a difference, Stevenson's Public History major is designed to help you achieve your goal. Through our skills-based courses and experiential learning opportunities you will acquire the very specialized knowledge necessary to joining the practice of public history. Stevenson’s Public History program engages its majors in history projects that serve the community as well as local, state, and federal agencies. Most recently, Stevenson students have assisted government agencies and been commended for their contributions to history by George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Maryland State Archives, the City of Baltimore, the Maryland National Guard, and the Maryland Military Historical Society.

  • Overview


    Bachelor of Science

    One of the nation's few four-year undergraduate majors in the field, Stevenson's Public History major provides students a firm foundation in American history combined with the opportunity to study and practice the public presentation of history. Through specialized coursework, volunteer opportunities, and internships our majors learn how to engage as practitioners with the community of public history.

    As a student of public history at SU, you will 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.

    What Will You Learn?

    • 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 fundamental historical research using both library and Internet resources: locating, reading, interpreting, evaluating, verifying, and documenting primary and secondary sources.

    • Master critical thinking about history: drawing conclusions from readings, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing and synthesizing secondary and primary sources, evaluating opposing arguments, and understanding how historical interpretations fit into the larger context of historical inquiry.

    • 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.

    • Analyze and synthesize practical and ethical issues related to communicating history to a variety of general public audiences.

    • Understand career paths related to public history and effectively search for relevant employment opportunities.

    A complete listing of learning objectives for the Public History program can be found in our Academic Catalog.
    Learning Objectives

    Why Study Public History?

    Within the United States there are more than 15,000 public history venues chartered as museums, archives, historical societies, battlefields, and other institutions at which people enjoy themselves as they learn about their past. The need for individuals to operate these venues is great and it is for that purpose that Stevenson has designed its Public History Program.

    As a Public History major, you will learn about the past and how to communicate that past to a public audience. You will develop an understanding of U.S. history that will allow you to place into context any event of the last 400 years. You will develop the skills of research and analysis required to think deeply and critically about factually based arguments. You will develop the ability to write clearly and speak publicly about the subjects you research as a way of educating the general public.

    Finally, you will learn how to assess the success of your efforts and how to use those assessments in improving your craft. As part of Stevenson’s commitment to your undergraduate liberal arts education, your core courses will be supplemented by additional courses made possible through Stevenson’s general education program. 

  • Courses & Requirements

    Courses and Requirements

    Course Sequence

    Public History

    The courses listed below are required for completion of the bachelor’s degree in public history. Students must also complete the requirements for the Stevenson Educational Experience (SEE).

    Specific pre- and co-requisites for each course are listed in the course descriptions.

    Public history majors are required to complete 45 credits (15 courses) from the courses listed below as indicated. Students must also complete the 1-credit HIST 100 every semester while enrolled in the public history program. 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 1-credit First-Year Seminar that is designed specifically for new public history majors. HIST 450 is a variable credit course (3,6,or 9) based on the number of hours associated with the internship.  Interns earn roughly three credits for every 120 hours worked during the internship.

    Major Requirements

    Required Core History Courses

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

    Required Core Courses

    FYS 100 First Year Seminar
    HIST 100 History Forum
    HIST 105 World History I
    HIST 106 World History II
    HIST 109 The United States: Colonial America to 1877
    HIST 110 The United States: 1877 to Present
    HIST 208 Introduction to Public History
    HIST 209 Research and Writing in History
    HIST 410 The Great Historians
    HIST 411 Senior Seminar
    HIST 450 Public History Internship

    Elective History Courses

    Students are required to take five courses from general history elective courses.  Three of these courses must be at the 300 or 400 level.

    HIST 210 African American History
    HIST 211 Topics in History
    HIST 220 American History and Community Service
    HIST 238 History of Baltimore
    HIST 265 History of the Family
    HIST 270 Revolutionary America
    HIST 311 Topics in General History
    HIST 330 Riches, Radicals, and Reformers: 1877-1920
    HIST 336 The American Civil War
    HIST 337 The United States: The Sixties
    HIST 339 The United States Since 1970

    Students are required to take two courses from the public history elective courses.  HIST 312 is repeatable for credit when the topic is different.

    HIST 211 Topics in History
    HIST 312 Topics in Public History
    HIST 325 Fieldwork in Archival Operations
    HIST 331 American Material Culture

    Last Updated: 06/25/2018

  • Tracks & Minors

    Tracks and Minors


    The minor in history requires successful completion of a minimum of six courses and 18 credits with an HIST prefix. Please see the public history department chairperson for more information. General guidelines regarding minors may be found in the Minors section of the catalog.

    Last Updated: 06/25/2018

Connect With Us


Our Majors Help Out the National Park Service

Stevenson Public History majors helped the National Park service at Hampton Historic Site near Towson, Maryland.  The mansion was once the largest home in North America.

On a Saturday in late October, Stevenson's Public History program was called on to help the National Park Service....

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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