Program Introduction

Established in 2001, the M.A. Program in Public History at American University admits 15-20 students each year. The program offers an MA in History, with a concentration in Public History and core and elective courses taught by full-time faculty and Public Historians In Residence from local institutions like the National Museum of American History. Over 200 students have graduated from the program, which works closely with public history organizations in Washington D.C. and elsewhere

Degrees Offered

  • B.A. in History
  • M.A. in History with a Certificate or Concentration in Public History
  • Ph.D. in History with a Certificate or Concentration in Public History

Program Strengths

  • Digital Media
  • Historical Administration
  • Local/Community History
  • Material Culture
  • Museum Studies
  • Oral History
  • Other

Credit Hour Requirements


How Many Students are Admitted Annually


MAs produced last year


Financial Aid Available

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of merit-based partial tuition remission. The Program partners with local organizations to offer 4-6 competitive fellowships, available to enrolled first and second year students. More information can be found on the Program's webpage.

Deadline To Apply

1 February

Internship Requirements

In consultation with faculty students arrange their own internships often at local institutions with which the Program has longstanding connection. Students are required to take 3 internship credits but can take up to 6. Whether the internship is paid depends on the host institution.

Places Where Students Have Interned During the Past 3 Years

  • House Museums and Historic Sites: Mount Vernon, President Lincoln’s Cottage, Dumbarton House, Heurich House, Tudor Place, Mary Mcleod Bethune House, Clara Barton House, Sewell-Belmont House.
  • Historical Societies: DC History Center, the Maryland Historical Society, the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, the White House Historical Association, and the Society of the Cincinnati.
  • Historic Preservation Offices and Non-Profits: The National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Landmarks Program (NPS), and the Historic American Buildings Record and Historic American Engineering Record.
  • Libraries and Archives: including the American University Archive, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
  • History Museums: Smithsonian Museums, including: National Museum of American History, National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of the American Indian, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Gardens, Anacostia Community Museum, the National Postal Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. Also, the National Building Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Newseum.

Job Placement Assistance

The Public History program hosts networking events with program alumni, public history professionals in the region, and current students. The program offers workshops in securing federal jobs, grant writing, and preparing contract proposals. Students also get assistance from the AU Career Center.

Employers Who Have Hired Graduates from this Program within the Past Five Years

  • National Museum of American History
  • National Park Service
  • Lincoln’s Cottage
  • Smithsonian Gardens
  • Mt. Vernon
  • National Building Museum
  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Smithsonian Archives
  • White House Historical Association
  • National Public Radio
  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • National Coalition for History
  • History Associates, Inc.
  • National Library of Medicine
  • National Geographic
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Greensboro Historical Museum, NC
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, GA
  • Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum, MA
  • Puppet Museum, Atlanta, GA