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Public History

Public History

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Minor

The Public History Program

Students who have an interest in history and wish to pursue a career in museum work, history centers, archives, and sites that teach the general public about history outside of the classroom setting, should consider majoring in public history. This major provides students with the depth of historical knowledge and skill set in research, historical interpretation, exhibit production, archival management, and digital humanities. 

What Can I Do With a Major in Public History?

Studying public history at Saint Vincent College gives students the knowledge and skills to work in museums, history centers, archives, and other places (outside of K-12 schools) that invite the public to explore history. Public history majors: 

  • Work in places like the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), the British Museum (United Kingdom), the Heinz History Center (Pittsburgh, PA), Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Baltimore, MD), and Sisters of Charity at Seton Hill (Greensburg, PA); 
  • Work in local, state, and federal government offices such as the CIA, the Social Security Administration, and Pennsylvania Department of Education; and 
  • Go to graduate school at such universities as the George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon University, North Carolina State University, and West Virginia University. 

Curriculum Requirements

  • Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public History

    The public history major consists of 48 credits. The balance of the 124 credits required for graduation can be composed of electives or courses required for one or more minors or a second major. Students should choose electives in consultation with their major advisor. 


    Major Requirements (48 CREDITS) 

    Public History majors are required to complete two of the following area studies courses for a total of 12 credits at the 100 level: 
    HI 102, 103 Ancient Greece and Rome, and Medieval and Renaissance Europe - 6 credits 
    HI 104, 105 Contemporary Europe I and II - 6 credits 
    HI 106, 107 Topics in U.S. History - 6 credits 
    HI 108, 109 East Asian Societies Traditional and East Asian Societies Modern - 6 credits 
    HI 110, 111 English History - 6 credits 
    HI 123, 124 Global History I and II - 6 credits 


    Upper Division History Classes 
    Public History majors must take two courses, or six credits, from the 200-level offerings in accordance with the courses offered each semester. Students who wish to see a list of these courses can look on the most current Saint Vincent College Bulletin. 


    Majors-only courses 

    All public history majors complete a capstone project within the History Department that is scaffolded through a freshman introductory course, a sophomore seminar, a junior research seminar, and a senior writing seminar. In addition to these courses, public history majors are also required to complete five public history related courses: Introduction to Public History; Practicum in Public History, Digital Humanities or Museum Studies: An Introduction, and an Introduction to Non-Profit Organizations. In addition to the required classes, public history students are also required to choose an elective from the list of courses below. Public history majors are also required to participate in an internship pertaining to public history. 


    Public History Electives (3 credits) 

    BA 102 Survey of Accounting 
    BA 170 Organizational Behavior 
    BA 220 Principles of Marketing 
    BA 398 Project Management 
    CA 100 Introduction to Mass Media 
    CA 110 Introduction to Organizational Communication 
    CA 130 Introduction to Digital Media 
    CA 285 Digital Layout and Design 
    EL 131 American Literature: Exploration to Civil War 
    EL 132 American Literature: Civil War to Present 
    EL 113 Women's Literature 
    EL 139 African American Literature 
    AN 101 Introduction to Anthropology 
    AN 222 Cultural Anthropology 
    AN 230 Archaeology 

    Other courses can be considered through consultation with the public history advisor. 

  • Requirements for a Minor in Public History

    The minor in Public History consists of 18 credits. Required courses are Introduction to Public History, Practicum of Public History, and partake in a History Internship which should be taken in that order. Along with those courses, Introduction to Non-Profit Organizations should also be taken. The remaining six credits may come from the following course options that can be seen in electives list above. The course list is subject to change as new courses are developed. Students should be sure to check with the department chair or the student’s advisor for the most current list. 

    Student’s advisors and the department chair will recommend students on courses to take that will complement the public history major. Some of the electives may include courses from accounting or business, literature, anthropology, and archaeology. 

Program Highlights

  • Focus on Doing History 
    • Classes that design and carry out exhibits 
    • Introduction to Public History 
  • Classes designing oral history programs 
    • COVID, Womens (Practicum in History 202) 
    • Planning collections and putting together archives 
    • What to save in archives 
  • McCarl gallery  
    • Learning to conserve textiles in exhibit with conservator 
    • Theory in 201 and apply in 202 
  • Jaime British Museum 
  • Internships and work study experiences at new college archive, art museum, monastery archives, roger’s archive, McCarl gallery 

Student Learning Outcomes

Studying Public History at Saint Vincent College is more than just reading textbooks. It is about immersing oneself with the history of the campus by surrounding themselves with experts in their respected studies. Students can: 

  • Ground yourself on a historic campus which includes a working gristmill that provided grain for the community from its beginnings, the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery, and the Veratsko Center for the Arts and a variety of archives. 
  • Learn from experts in fields ranging from medieval Europe to global history to modern American history
  • Put their studies into practice by writing their own history, traveling to historic sites, making video documentaries, visiting museums, and researching at the Fred Rogers Archives on campus or at other sites across the country.