Go to USC home page USC Logo {USC:College Of Arts And Sciences: Department Of History}
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES | HISTORY DEPARTMENT HOME | SITEMAP

CHAIR AND ADMINISTRATION

FACULTY PROFILES

INFORMATION FOR FACULTY

NEWS ARCHIVE

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM

GRADUATE PROGRAM

PUBLIC HISTORY PROGRAM

USC-WARWICK EXCHANGE

MODEL EDITIONS
PARTNERSHIP


PUBLIC HISTORY LINKS

INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

INFORMATION FOR INCOMING STUDENTS

INFORMATION FOR CURRENT STUDENTS

INFORMATION FOR ALUMNI

FIELDS OF STUDY

FIELD SCHOOLS

JOINT PROGRAMS

JOB PLACEMENTS

FACULTY

PROGRAM NEWS

STAY IN TOUCH
USC  THIS SITE
PUBLIC HISTORY ---- Museums and Material Culture
Our museum studies graduates compete successfully in the national job market for employment in museums and historic sites. They can be found in such institutions as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Monticello, the Atlanta History Center, the McKissick Museum, and sites and regional offices of the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Program in Brief. Here is a brief summary of our requirements for both admission and graduation. Admission decisions are made each spring. Applicants for graduate training are expected to have completed either an undergraduate history major or 18 hours of undergraduate courses in history beyond the survey level. Without this, you must show evidence of equivalent competency (for example, by successful completion of one or more graduate courses in history at another university). You must also meet the grade-point and GRE-score requirements of the university's Graduate School. The Public History degree requires students to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours, 21 in their field of choice. The remaining 15 hours consist of courses in American history. These comprise each student's minor field. Comprehensive exams in the major and minor field are required, and you must pass a reading and translation examination in one foreign language. Students also complete theses, works of original research, to receive their degrees.

Special Opportunities in Museum Studies. There are many special opportunities for museum studies training here at the University of South Carolina. Students in the museums track generally choose to complete the Certificate in Museum Management offered through the "McKissick Museum" here on campus. We enjoy close cooperation with this program and have structured our requirements so that its courses also apply toward our Master of Arts. The Certificate in Museum Management curriculum provides training in professional museum standards and practices; periodic special offerings introduce students to concentrated study in such areas as museum education and exhibition development.



Many students also take advantage of our innovative field courses. The Charleston Preservation Field School is an intensive course in historic preservation and museum studies that is based in city of Charleston. An international perspective on museums, archives, and heritage conservation is offered by our Comparative Public History course in England. Students may also participate in the annual Summer Institute of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts at Old Salem, Inc., Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This course offers students the opportunity to study the material life of the southeastern United States prior to 1820.

            We enjoy strong working relationships with our region's museum community, including such local institutions as the South Carolina State Museum, the Columbia Museum of Art, the university's McKissick Museum, and the Historic Columbia Foundation, which operates four historic house museums. Students may also do internships or develop thesis projects through the historic sites administered by the state's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the National Trust property Drayton Hall, the Charleston Museum, and others in the state and region. Our students routinely attend the annual meetings of the South Carolina Federation of Museums and the Southeastern Museums Conference, and we are able to partially support their attendance at professional meetings through a designated travel endowment.

            Material Culture Studies. Another strength of the museum studies concentration is its emphasis on material culture studies. I offer both an introductory reading seminar and a special topics course; special-interest tutorials are available by arrangement. The Department of Anthropology offers seminars on African-American folklife and material culture and the archaeology of African-American life, while the Department of Art has electives in American architecture and decorative arts. Students in the museums track are encouraged to develop theses with a material-culture emphasis. There is no shortage of interesting, original topics waiting to be studied using the collections of the region's museums and the built environment, historic landscapes, and cultural artifacts in the field. Our students are often involved in the McKissick's ground-breaking exhibitions of Southern folk material culture. Participation in the Summer Institute at MESDA also offers excellent hands-on training using one of the finest collections in the United States.

            Applying to the Graduate School of the University of South Carolina. Your completed application, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examination General Test scores must be received at the Graduate School by 5 January. By this date, you should also send your one-page Statement of Purpose and writing sample directly to the Department of History.

             While I cannot make promises, the Department of History recognizes that access to aid often makes the difference in the decision whether or not to attend graduate school. Students who are accepted by and choose to attend the Public History Program almost always receive financial aid. This is usually either a teaching assistantship in the Department of History or a professional assistantship in a local museum or other not-for-profit. Both of these assistantships also provide significant reduction in graduate tuition. Many other part-time employment opportunities at museums and libraries are also available.

Need More Information? If you have other questions, please contact Mary Alice Spoone, our Graduate Secretary, at 803-777-4492 (e-mail spoone@sc.edu) or me at 803-777-9786 (e-mail katherine.grier@sc.edu). Questions for the Graduate School can be directed to 803-777-4243.

 

Katherine C. Grier
Assistant Professor
Public History Program

RETURN TO TOP
USC LINKS: DIRECTORY MAP EVENTS VIP
SITE INFORMATION