Public History Program Description

Students at Stevenson University who wish to concentrate their studies in history should choose the university’s public history major, part of the Department of Humanities and Public History at the University. Stevenson’s public history major is one of the nation’s few four-year undergraduate majors in the field. A public history major offers its students everything that a history major offers, plus so much more. It provides students the breadth of a traditional history major, focusing on American history, combined with the opportunity to study and practice the public presentation of history through specialized coursework and internships. Stevenson’s public history major is distinctive because of its strong liberal arts context which gives its graduates a broad perspective on their course of study. Students of public history master a body of knowledge about the past, and they also gain the ability to analyze, interpret, and evaluate historical evidence; to apply historical perspective to contemporary issues; and to respect diverse cultural traditions and values, all with the goal of conveying historical understanding to members of the general public.

The two primary objectives of the public history program are 1) to lay a solid foundation in general historical knowledge and methodology focused on the United States as part of an undergraduate liberal arts education and 2) to offer public history majors the specialized knowledge, skills, and real-world experience in internships and upper-level public history courses to make a career in public history or a related field a reality. Public history majors can pursue a number of different careers following graduation, such as teaching, museum administration, journalism, film making, law, historical archeology, and government service.

The History Forum (non-credit HIST 100), a frequent gathering of all public history majors and faculty, sponsors special speakers and arranges other enrichment activities to enhance these two primary objectives of the major. Public history majors are required to attend mandatory History Forum meetings. In addition, students who are new to the public history major (traditional university freshmen, transfer students, and students who are declaring a public history major for the first time) are required to complete a special section of the non-credit First Year Seminar that is designed just for new public history majors and focuses on strategies for promoting success in the major.

Students interested in majoring in public history should contact the humanities and public history department chairperson.

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