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Department of History|College of Arts and Sciences

Public History Concentration

As a History major, you can choose a concentration in Public History.  This concentration, when successfully completed, will appear on your transcript along with your History major.

What Is Public History?


The National Council on Public History defines public history as "a movement, methodology, and approach that promotes the collaborative study and practice of history; its practitioners embrace a mission to make their special insights accessible and useful to the public."  Public historians help people to write, create, and understand their own history, and in some cases they influence the formulation of public policy.  Specifically, people who pursue careers in public history might work as archivists, museum curators, or historic preservationists.  State agencies, such as the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department, and private contractors, such as environmental consultants, are among potential employers of graduates trained in public history.  Some other pursuits that public historians might follow include documentary film making, writing for popular audiences and preparing narratives for public exhibits, and managing historic sites.  Completing the Public History Concentration is one way for students to prepare themselves for careers as historians.

What Are the Requirements?


The concentration requires 18 credit hours of course work, of which at least 12 will be in History courses and will thus count toward the total 36 hours needed for the History major.

Required courses include:

HIST 2050, Introduction to Public History (offered every fall semester) [3 credit hours]
HIST 4050, Advanced Public History [3 credit hours]
HIST 4055, Archival Research Methods (offered every spring semester) [3 credit hours]
HIST 4400, Internship [3 credit hours]

In addition to the above 12 credit hours, the concentration requires you to choose 2 courses (3 credit hours each) from among a wide range of courses offered in other disciplines and other departments. These departments include American Indian Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Geography, and Political Science. Because the specific courses applicable to developing expertise in public history vary from semester to semester, the student should contact the public history coordinator for the most current accepted list.

Several courses applicable to the concentration in public history are cross-listed; for the purpose of the Public History Concentration, you may enroll in such courses under any department listing.  Be aware that upper-division courses, and some lower-division courses, have prerequisites.  Topics courses may be used, depending on the applicability of the topic to the field. The public history coordinator will advise as to forthcoming topics classes applicable to the concentration.

You must declare your Public History Concentration using the standard Change of Major Form. This form is also available at the Office of the Registrar and the History Department office.

What Else Do I Need to Know About the Public History Concentration?


A successful public historian gains training in the methods and approaches of the field, and the concentration is designed with that goal in mind.  But above all, a successful public historian will have a strong grounding in general history.  To this end, we strongly recommend that you take history courses that offer that grounding, and this means especially courses that cover chronological stretches of history.  These include courses in American history as well as in European history or other geographical areas.

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