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Public History (Graduate Certificate)


Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Public History enables students to develop the analytical and interpretive tools of a graduate history education and to apply them in public practice.  The certificate is earned with twelve credit hours. Six certificate credits can be used also to fulfill requirements for the Master's degree in History.  

The “Electing the House of Representatives, 1840–2016” website offers the option of viewing a map (western half of the graphic) or a cartogram (eastern half of the graphic).

Domestic Application

  •  *Fall:  August 1

International Application

  • *Fall: April 1

Matthew Heaton, Director of Graduate Studies
409  Major Williams Hall

Linda Fountaine, Graduate Programs Coordinator
531 Major Williams Hall

Our Students

Why choose this program?

  • At Virginia Tech you can target your 12 credit hours of graduate coursework to your career goals. 
  • If you are interested in public history, you will find courses that allow you to add a Graduate Certificate in Public History to your master’s degree. If you plan to teach, you can combine history credits with credits from the Curriculum and Instruction department in the School of Education to earn two degrees and your Virginia teaching licensure. 
  • Graduates of our program have gone on to pursue doctorates or other professional degrees. They have become secondary and community college teachers. And they are working in museums, archives, and historical sites, introducing history and historical resources to the public.  
  • The History Graduate Student Association promotes student-faculty communication, provides students with a sense of community outside the classroom, and offers leadership opportunities. Since 1998, the History Graduate Student Association has organized an annual research conference with student presenters from Virginia Tech and many other master's and doctoral programs. 

What You'll Study

The Graduate Certificate requires 12 credits of graduate level coursework in History, 9 of which must be chosen from the department’s public history course offerings and 3 from graduate level courses in history. The 12 credits for the Graduate Certificate are distributed as follows:

HIST 5424: Public History (3 credits)
HIST 5964: Field Study/Practicum (Internship) (3 credits)
At least one of the following public history courses:
HIST 5434: Digital History Methods
HIST 5444: Oral History
HIST 5454: Topics in Public History
In addition, all students, including those not pursuing an MA in history, must complete a graduate level history course from the following list:
HIST 5114: U.S. History to 1877
HIST 5124: U.S. History since 1877
HIST 5214/ASPT 5214: Topics in Global History
HIST 5246: Readings in Latin American History
HIST 5504: Modern European History


Earn a graduate certificate in public history while completing requirements for the MA

  • Public History courses can satisfy both History MA and certificate requirements
  • The certificate requires six additional credit hours (2 courses) of 39 credits
  • All certificate students complete an internship as part of the course requirements
  • 1 graduate public history course is offered each semester
  • Faculty strengths in digital history and oral history
  • Design a specialized “Public History Thesis” with both a research and outreach component
  • More information is available at the Public History Program website: This site was designed and is maintained by VT public history students.

Faculty Experts In History

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