Program Requirements

Guided by the belief that an understanding of the past enriches the lives of individuals and communities, public historians explore ways to make the past useful to the public. Public history involves collaboration and the ability to foster historical engagement outside the classroom. By training students as historians and preparing them to practice history in the public sphere, UNCC’s public history program supports the university’s mission of teaching, research, service, and community engagement by providing historical services for Charlotte area institutions and the state. Opportunities in public history organizations increasingly require specialized training and education in public history. By combining a rigorous academic curriculum in which students are trained in traditional historical skills of research, writing, analysis, critical thinking, and communication along with practical experience in delivering historical scholarship to diverse audiences, the program prepares students for a variety of career opportunities, including working as museum professionals, government and business historians, historical and historic preservation consultants, archivists, teachers, cultural resource managers, curators, historical media producers, policy advisors, oral historians, and professors.

M.A. in History, Public History Concentration: 36 credit hours

Required Courses (21 total hours)

  • Two colloquia (6 hours)
  • HIST-6693: Historiography (3 hours)
  • Writing Seminar (3 hours)
  • HIST 6330: History in the Digital Age
  • HIST 6320: Introduction to Historic Preservation
  • HIST 6310: Introduction to Museum Studies

Electives (9 total hours)

  • at least 3 hours must be a Public History elective
  • No more than 6 hours of electives can be at the 5000-level, in independent study (HIST 6894), or outside the department of History

Internship (3 hours)

Thesis (3 hours)

Colloquia: [3 offered each Fall, one in the Spring]

  • Broad reading courses in the following fields, each of which will be offered on a regular rotation: U.S. to 1865; U.S. since 1865; Europe in the Long 19th Century; Europe in the 20th Century; Colonial Latin America, Modern Latin America. The courses are conceived as the foundation for a comprehensive exam in that field.
  • Emphasis on critical reading, analytical writing, and mastery of historiography in the given field.
  • Students in traditional M.A. program must take 3 colloquia including one from outside of their national or geographical area of focus; students in Public History must take 2 different colloquia.
  • Students in the traditional M.A. program must take two colloquia in the fall of their first year.

Historiography Course (required for all students): [Spring]

  • This course will introduce students to different theoretical approaches and methodologies for writing history. Over the course of the semester, students will, in conjunction with a faculty adviser, write a draft thesis proposal. All full-time students must take this course in the spring semester of their first year.

Thematic Electives [Fall and Spring]

  • Courses addressing a particular theme, method, or problem, generally involving readings that cover more than a single nation/period. Examples might include courses on gender history, nationalism, industrialization, urbanization, or race.
  • Final paper may be research paper or substantive historiographical essay; the former is encouraged for students on the thesis track.

Public History Sequence

  • A sequence of three courses, History in the Digital Age, Museums, and Preservation, which introduces students pursuing a concentration in Public History to the basic outline of the discipline. These courses are taught every other year. All Public History students should take these courses as they are offered.

Public History Electives

  • Courses that address more specialized aspects of the field of public history; may address either methodologies (for example Oral History or Documentary Editing) or fields of practice (for example Preservation Law or Musuem Education).

Research Seminar: [Fall]

  • This course will focus on student research skills and writing, students will generally work on a chapter of their thesis.

Independent Study

  • These are independent reading courses that cover topics not generally covered by our regular curriculum.  They must be set up between student and faculty members before the beginning of the semester.