Public History in the City Where People Make History

Public History Brochure

President John F. Kennedy, in a 1963 AU commencement address, announces a major U.S. foreign policy decision on nuclear testing.

Why Public History? People's demand for history extends beyond the classroom. Each year millions watch the History Channel and visit Civil War battlefields, the U.S,. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. Today, historians inside and outside academia are collaborating to bring the lessons of the past to the general public via parks, museums, movie theaters, television and radio stations, courtrooms, embassies and consulates, and the Internet.

Why American University? Our history faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, professors in related departments at American University, and historians and professional staff at Washington, D.C.'s many public and private institutions offer you a challenging and stimulating environment in which to pursue your degree and career. We encourage inter- disciplinary study, individually designed programs, and close contact between students and our internationally renowned faculty. Our two-field MA in public history prepares you for opportunities in history beyond teaching, enhancing your preparation for positions in museums, parks, archives, film and television studios, and many government agencies.

No city in the country can rival the historical richness of Washington, with its collection of museums, monuments, public agencies, embassies, and government institutions. Guardian of the national heritage, Washington is also a diverse and culturally rich urban community and the center of a thriving metropolitan region that includes the states of Maryland and Virginia. A bustling international city, Washington is also a global intersection where Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans interact.

Why a Two-Field MA in Public History? Public history at American University offers you the unique opportunity to combine excellent academic training in history with the skills and understanding required to reach beyond the university's walls. This two-field MA requires 30 credit hours. Eighteen of these hours are in European or U.S. History. Twelve credits are in public history. These 12 credits include a 3-credit public history seminar, 6 credits in a substantive area of public history, and 3 credits of internship. Courses available at American University or through the Washington area consortium may include the following:

Introduction to Public History


Cinema and History
Visualizing History
Visual Media Production
Visual Arts
Museum Research and Education

Public and Foreign Policy

History and Public Policy
United States Foreign Relations
Seminar in Policy Analysis
Public Management

Internships: Paid and voluntary internships are available at a variety of area institutions. Possible venues include those of the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution as well as the National institutes of Health, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the various embassies and other agencies in Washington, D.C., and vicinity. The history department also offers a number of teaching assistantships to qualified applicants.

History Department Falculty



Curriculum Vitae



Immigration and Ethnic History Society Brochure

Civil War Institute Brochure

Public History Brochure