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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History

Public History Program

Historians with an Edge

Give yourself an edge in the job market by studying public history at the University of South Carolina. Earn a Master of Arts degree in Public History or select public history as one field of study in the Ph.D. program.

Why South Carolina? We’ve been teaching public history for over 35 years and we know how to train students for great jobs in museums, historic sites, and historic preservation. Explore this website to learn why there’s a future in public history at the University of South Carolina.

One of the oldest programs in the country. Established in 1975, the program has an alumni network that extends nationally. Over 200 alums now work in a variety of institutions, agencies, and companies, large and small. The curriculum of the program has evolved over the last four decades from a generalist course of study into a set of specialized concentrations and has provided a model for guiding the development of other public history programs in the United States.

Opportunities for intensive study. The interdisciplinary curriculum is supported by the resources and faculty expertise of a major research university (with 30,000 students) and the cultural institutions of a state capital, which permit students to participate in two certificate programs: the “Certificate in Museum Management” and the “Certificate in Historical Archaeology & Cultural Resource Management.”  A designated faculty member for each of our two concentrations supervises Coursework, internships, advising, and job placement: museum studies and historic preservation.

Winner of the Robert Kelley Memorial Award. The University of South Carolina is the only public history program in the country to win this prestigious award, given by the National Council on Public History. USC received the award in 2002 to recognize its “distinguished and outstanding achievements in public history.”

Winner of three Student Project Awards from the National Council on Public History. The National Council on Public History awarded its Student Project Award for the year 2008 to the Public History student who helped to establish a gay and lesbian oral history collection at the University of South Carolina.  In 2005, the Student Project Award was given to USC to mark the achievement of the three Public History students who completed the Richmond Railway Station study, a plan for the adaptive use of a train station in the North of England.  The Student Project Award went to six USC Public History students in 2000 for the Kiplin Hall Conservation Plan, a management plan written for a 300-year-old English country estate, site of the South Carolina field school in the United Kingdom. No other public history program has won three NCPH Student Project Awards.