Degree Requirements

Master of Arts in Public History

Non-thesis Track MA

At the completion of coursework, students will be required to submit a Public History Portfolio and complete an oral examination based on the materials in the portfolio. In consultation with the Director or Associate Director of Public History, the student will indicate a major area of study from one of the following: United States, European, or Latin American history.

COURSE WORK: Thirty-six (36) hours of credit in graduate-level (6000) courses are required, including the following:

  • History 6381 (introductory course) (3 credits)
  • Public History Courses (12 credits) – to be drawn from 6382 Research in Public History (may repeat when topics vary); 6383 Special Topics in Public History (may repeat when topics vary); 6384 Oral History; Related non-history courses with the approval of the Director or Associate Director.
  • Twelve (12) credits of course work in the student’s major field.
  • Public History Internships (9 hours) – must consist of a combination of external and internal internships, in consultation with the Director or Associate Director. Internships consist of supervised work experience in Public History, ordinarily in a private business, government agency, museum, community organization, or historical society usually in the Houston-Galveston metropolitan region. Each internship must be approved and supervised by the Director or Associate Director.
  • Public History Portfolio and Oral Examination. Students in the non-thesis track will be required to prepare a portfolio over the course of their study. The portfolio will consist of:
    • Two (2) Sample syllabi (for a general public history introductory course and specialized course).
    • An extensive bibliography of public history readings completed over the course of study.
    • Samples of all projects completed during the course of study (articles, internship work, exhibits, etc.).

A committee of three faculty will conduct an oral examination based on the three components of the portfolio. (If a student’s defense is not considered satisfactory, he/she may repeat the examination only once.) The committee will designate the student’s achievement by awarding one of three grades: Pass with Distinction, Pass, or Fail. 

Thesis Track MA

COURSE WORK: Thirty (30) semester hours of credit is required, including the following courses:

  • History 6381 (introductory course) (3 credits)
  • Public History Courses (9 credits) – to be drawn from 6382 Research in Public History (may repeat when topics vary); 6383 Special Topics in Public History (may repeat when topics vary); 6384 Oral History; Related non-history courses with the approval of the Director or Associate Director.
  • Nine (9) semester hours of course work in a major field. (United States, European, or Latin American History) In consultation with the Director of the Center for Public History, the student will select an appropriate set of courses in the major field.
  • Public History Internships (9 hours) – must consist of a combination of external and internal internships, in consultation with the Director or Associate Director.
  • History 6399: Master's Thesis (6 credits)
    The thesis committee will conduct an oral examination in defense of the thesis after the student has completed the final draft. A CPH-affiliated faculty member must chair the thesis committee. In the event that the student's major area is outside the field of expertise of CPH faculty, the committee must be co-chaired by a CPH-affiliate to ensure that the thesis topic has a clearly identified public history focus from its inception.
  • Foreign language requirement: Before a student can be approved for degree candidacy, he or she must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language relevant to the major area. Course credit in a foreign language does not count toward the hours required to complete the degree.

    A quantitative option may be substituted for the foreign language requirement. After consultation with the Director of CPH, the student may petition the Graduate Director, and if approved, must complete two (2) courses from a list of courses approved by the department with grades of B or better.

    Note: With the permission of the Graduate Director, each student may enroll in not more than six (6) hours of special problems courses. The Graduate Director also may approve up to six (6) hours of course work in another department.