Material Culture and Public Humanities (M.A.)
Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus
Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary M.A. Program in Material Culture and Public Humanities (MCPH) develops expertise in these fields and prepares graduates for careers in museums, historical societies, arts agencies, national parks, and other community and cultural organizations. Students participate in creative alliances with non-profit cultural institutions such as the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation etc.
Our program in Material Culture and Public Humanities has a limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships available for students applying for full time study on the Blacksburg campus. Entering students can apply for such funding as part of their admissions application. No separate application required.
Download Plan of Study
Priority deadline: February 15 for consideration for funding
Final deadline: August 1
Why choose this program?
- Our master's programs prepares you for careers in museums, historical societies, arts agencies, national parks, and other community and cultural organizations.
- You work on your own projects, in research teams, and with faculty mentors and present your own findings at professional conferences and in publications.
- The Humanities (including the disciplines of art, history, literature, and music) investigate how people make sense of and communicate about their worlds. We regard public humanities as a mode in which academics work for and with people in knowledge- and culture-making spaces beyond the university.
- Our students participate in creative alliances with non-profit cultural institutions such as the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation (overseeing ‘Round the Mountain’ and ‘The Crooked Road’), Historic Smithfield, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Montgomery Museum, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Taubman Museum of Art, the O. Winston Link Museum, the History Museum of Western Virginia, and the Harrison Museum of African American Culture.
What You'll Study
The M.A. in Material Culture and Public Humanities requires a minimum of 30 credits. Students who wish to complete an optional thesis* will take an additional 6 credits, for a total of 36 credits. All students take 5 core courses in addition to interest-driven electives. All students will also complete an internship/practicum in a museum, historical society, or other cultural organization, and submit a conceptual report of their experiences. As they formulate their plan of study, each student will be mentored by at least one faculty member.
All of the Following:
- ART/HUM/RLCL 5104: Historical and Theoretical Frameworks in Material Culture and Public Humanities
- ART/HUM/RLCL 5204: Research Methods in Material Culture and Public Humanities
- HUM/RLCL 5304: Material Culture and Humanities in the Public Sphere
- ART 5984: Exhibition, Design, and Display
- ITDS 5124: Preservation of Historic Interiors
or One (1) of the following public history courses:
- HIST 5424 – Public History
- HIST 5434 – Oral History Methods
- HIST 5444 – Digital History Methods
- HIST 5454 – Topics in Public History
- One of two rotating special topics courses (3 credits):
- HUM/RLCL 5584: Topics in Public Humanities
- ART 5584: Topics in Material Culture
- An additional two electives (6 credits), subject to approval by an advisor.
ART/HUM/RLCL 5904: Project and Report
The 6-credit Project and Report has two parts: 1) a 3-credit practicum/internship experience (180 hours) in such places as historical societies, humanities foundations, cultural planning agencies, heritage or cultural tourism, museums, historic preservation offices, or community arts programs; 2) a 3-credit conceptual written report and reflection. The Project and Report is intended to develop valuable career skills.
*A thesis option is sometimes chosen by students who plan to apply to doctoral programs and prefer a more conventional final scholarly document.
Students in the M.A. in Material Culture and Public Humanities can draw upon a variety of facilities, listed below, that will enrich their education.
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