Program Introduction

Queen's University Belfast has been teaching Public History since 2012. In 2017 we launched a stand-alone Masters in Public History and have an intake of about 20 students each year from all around the world, including Australia, China, and many parts of Europe, with our largest intake coming from the US. History at Queen’s is ranked in the top 150 History School worldwide (QS world rankings 2017). Students have the opportunity to continue independent study in our PhD programme.

Belfast offers a unique opportunity to engage with issues surrounding contested histories, national narratives, public memory, commemoration, cultural heritage, tourism and community history in a very real and meaningful way.

Degrees Offered

  • M.A. in Public History
  • Ph.D. in History

Program Strengths

  • Archival Practices
  • Film/Video
  • Local/Community History
  • Museum Studies
  • Oral History
  • Other

Credit Hour Requirements


How Many Students are Admitted Annually



MAs produced last year


Full-time Program Staff/Faculty

Professor Olwen Purdue (Director). Difficult public histories; history of poverty, welfare and instiutions

Dr Leonie Hannan (Internship co-ordinator). Museums; material culture; eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland

Professor Sean O’Connell. Oral history; working-class history; deindustrialisation

Dr Niamh Cullen. The public history of fascist Europe; gender; modern Italy

Dr Hiroki Shin. Museums and sustainability; public history of the environment; history of nuclear energy

Deadline To Apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis

Internship Requirements

Each student has a guaranteed work placement with a cultural institution or heritage organisation. Students have the opportunity to chose from a wide range of existing partnerships or can arrange their own internship with the approval of the course director.

The internship module is double-weighted so is worth 400 credit hours over 30 days in the spring semester. Students are not paid, but all travel expenses are covered.

Assessment is by a portfolio of work, a poster prepared for an exhibition, and a blog post.

Places Where Students Have Interned During the Past 3 Years

Job Placement Assistance

The program provides academic and career support and advice from faculty and program directors. It also provides the opportunity to network with practitioners through practitioner workshops, field trips and seminars.

Job Placement Percentage Within One Year


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

  • Chicago Art Institute
  • Great Place North Belfast
  • National Museums NI
  • Northern Ireland Museum Council
  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives Library
  • Public Record Office, NI
  • Ulster Television