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Public History

The Public History Program of the Department of History administers the certificate program in collaboration with allied faculty from departments across campus. Committee members are:

Madeline Blais, Professor of Journalism
David Glassberg, Professor of History
Mark Hamin, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
Laetitia LaFollette, Associate Professor of Art History
Marla Miller, Associate Professor of History and Certificate Program Director
Jon Olsen, Assistant Professor of History
Max Page, Associate Professor of Architecture and Design
Robert Paynter, Professor of Anthropology/Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies
David Toomey, Assistant Professor of English
James Young, Professor of English and Judaic Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Public History is an interdisciplinary program open to students enrolled in an M.A. or Ph.D. program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Public history is an inherently multidisciplinary field that requires students to develop broad training across a range of university departments. The certificate enables students to develop and demonstrate depth of study in the many ways history and heritage shape contemporary life. Certificate students from across campus come together in seminars and field service projects that harness the strength of collaboration across disciplines as they undertake substantive study of public history theory and principles. The program prepares students to engage in the methods and concerns associated with their chosen area of practice and to cultivate professional skills and networks.

Admission to the certificate program is contingent upon prior acceptance to the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts Amherst into a graduate degree-granting program.


The program consists of the following requirements:
1. HISTORY 659 Public History graduate seminar.

2. Two courses in a defined area of public history practice, e.g., archives management*, community and oral history, cultural resource management, digital history/new media, museum studies, and writing for popular audiences; students may also design their own program, with the consent of their certificate adviser. At least one of these courses must be outside the student’s home department.

Some sample tracks:

Museum Studies
HISTORY 662 Museum and Historic Site Interpretation and ART-HIST 634 History of Decorative Arts, ART-HIST 782 Museum Studies or ANTHRO 597AE New Approaches to Public Commemorations and Social Memory

Historic Preservation
LANDARCH 609 Studio X –Historic Preservation and ART 597V American Urbanism or ART-HIST 642 19th-Century Architecture; or LANDARCH 544 History and Theory and HISTORY 697U/797U Landscape and Memory

Writing for Popular Audiences
HISTORY 691W Writing History and JOURNAL 497M Art of the Profile

New Media

HISTORY 693B Digital History

Cultural Resource Management
ANTHRO 525 Archaeology and Law and HISTORY 662 Museum and Historic Site Interpretation or LANDARCH 597B Cultural Landscapes

3. 300 hours (6 credits) of internship experience. Internships may be paid or unpaid, but must conform to the policies set forth at . Students may complete this requirement at a single site, or divide the time between two separate sites.

For further information, contact Associate Professor Marla Miller, Public History Program, Herter Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, tel.: (413) 545-1330 fax: (413) 545-1500; website:

*The Archival Management track is available through courses at Simmons College, offered on the campus of Mount Holyoke College. See