Public History Program


The graduate program in public history at the University at Albany, State University of New York, is designed to train professional historians for work outside the conventional academic settings. Graduates receive a Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Public History, or a Certificate of Advanced Study in Public History. Depending on their concentration, students will be prepared for employment with historical societies, museums, archives, and similar agencies, or with agencies involved in public policy planning.

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Program Director
Professor Gerald Zahavi
Office SS 060R
Phone: 518-442-5427

Master of Arts with a Concentration in Public History

This is a 36-credit program, divided as follows:

    21 credits
    History academic courses, including at least one readings course (His 603, 621, and 630 recommended), and at least one research seminar, or approved equivalent.  

    9 credits
    His 501 (Introduction to Public History) and two other professional courses.

    6 credits -
    His 798A (Public History Internship)

    Satisfactory completion of a major field examination in Local or Regional History or one of the other History M.A. fields as advised.

Public History Master of Arts Degree with Certificate in Advanced Study in Public History

Students enrolled in this program will be required to make their M.A. concentration public history and to take courses and an internship appropriate to one of the three areas of emphasis: Historical Agency Studies, Historical Records Administration, History and Public Policy.

  1. History content, reading, and seminar courses (25 credits): History courses, ad advised, including HIS 621 or HIS 630 or a reading course from any of the other M.A. concentrations as advised, and a research seminar or a thesis (HIS 699).

  2. Professional courses (15 credits): His 501 and 12 credits chosen from among the following: His 503 (required of students emphasizing Historical Agency Studies), 504, 505, 506, 507 (required of students emphasizing History and Public Policy), 508, ISP 501, 611, 646, 650,655, 656 (with consent of director of the program), Pad 500.

  3. Satisfactory completion of a major field examination in Local and Regional History or one of the other M.A. fields as advised.

  4. His 798A, B Internship in Public History (12 credits).

  5. His 797 Directed Reading in Public History (2 credits).

Gainful Employment Program Disclosure

    Course Offerings and Internships


    History Courses of Special Interest

    History Courses of Special Interest
    His 519 - History of American Architecture
    His 520 - Technology in the Industrial World
    His 535 - Topics in Local and Regional History
    His 590 - Quantitative Methods in History
    His 603 - Readings in U.S. and Comparative Public History
    His 621 - Readings in Local and Regional History
    His 622 - Seminar in Local and Regional History
    His 630 - Readings in Public Policy
    His 631 - Seminar in Public Policy
    These courses may be augmented with studies in American Intellectual History, History of Women in Modern Society, Readings in Colonial and Revolutionary History, and Readings in 19th and 20th century U.S. History. Please see Graduate Bulletin for further listings.


    History and Media Courses
    His 595 – History of American Documentary Media
    His 602 - Readings in Visual Media and Culture
    His 604 - Readings and Practicum in Oral/Aural History
    His 605 – Readings in the History and Theory of Historical Documentary Filmmaking
    His 606 - Readings and Practicum in Digital History and Hypermedia
    His 607 – Seminar and Practicum in History and Media
    Please see concentration website for more information.

    Public History Concentration Courses

    His 501 - Introduction to Public History
    His 503 - Introduction to Historical Agency Management and Practice
    His 504 - Curatorial Practices for Historical Agencies
    His 505 - Interpretation of Historic Sites & Artifacts
    His 507 - History and Public Policy
    Isp 501 - History of Books and Printing
    Isp 611 - Information Systems and Technology


    Isp 646 - Records Management
    Isp 650 - U.S. Government Information Sources
    Isp 655 - Rare Books
    Isp 656 - Archives and Manuscripts
    Pad 500 - Introduction to Public Administration

    The Internship

    The internship experience is a central part of the Public History Program. Public History interns have worked at the following sites:

    Albany County Hall of Records
    Albany Institute of History and Art
    Canterbury Shaker Village
    Crailo State Historic Site
    Edison National Historic Site
    Farmers' Museum, New York State
    Historical Association Federation of Historical Services
    Historic Hudson Valley
    The Irish American Heritage Museum
    Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
    Mount Lebanon Shaker Village
    New York Parks and Conservation Association
    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
    New York State Division of the Budget
    New York State Museum
    New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
    New York State Temporary Commission on the Restoration of the Capitol
    New York State United Teachers
    Pickering Beach Museum
    Rockefeller Archive Center
    Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site
    Sagamore, Historic Adirondack Great Camp
    Saratoga National Historical Park
    Schenectady City School District: Arts in Education Office
    Schenectady Urban Cultural Park
    Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site
    Senate House State Historic Site
    Shaker Heritage Society
    Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission
    State University of New York Central Administration
    The Trustees of Reservations (Massachusetts)
    United Technologies Corporation
    United University Professions
    University at Albany Oral History Program
    Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
    Watervliet Arsenal Museum

    The University at Albany

    The University is the senior campus of the State University of New York and is one of four university centers in the 64 member SUNY system. Founded in 1844 as the State's first school for the training of teachers, Albany today is a modern university with 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in eight degree granting schools and colleges offering more than 100 academic programs from the bachelors degree through the doctorate.

    A major source for research are the University libraries, which contain more than one million volumes and extensive periodical holdings. The University's location in the State capital affords ready access to the New York State Library, containing over three million items, and to the New York State Archives, containing more than twenty-five thousand cubic feet of records.

    The Capital Region

    Located in the nation's largest governmental center outside of Washington, D.C., the University at Albany is in an excellent position to offer a program in public history.

    The Albany area is the home of major state agencies such as the State Archives, State Museum and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Capital Region also contains many public and private museums, historical societies and archives, as well as fifteen other colleges and universities. The richness and diversity permits a wide choice of internship possibilities, as well as providing a pool of specialized experts to supplement the regular staff of the Department of History.