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. Students who are accepted into both programs may also choose to combine the History M.A. with the M.S. in Information Science

M.A. candidate Andrea Nero at Olana State Historic Site
Currently, the graduate program in history also offers an M.A. in History with a concentration in History & Media. Effective Fall 2015, this concentrations will be streamlined into a single track M.A. concentration in Public History. See below for details.

Depending on the concentration chosen, students will be prepared for employment with historical societies, museums, archives, and similar agencies; with agencies involved in public policy planning, or with organizations that rely on digital technologies and traditional and new media in their efforts to research, preserve, and communicate about the past.

  • For information about the Public History internship experience, click here.
  • For information about Public History and History & Media courses, click here

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The Capital Region

Located in Albany, New York and within short travel distance of New York City and Boston, the graduate program is part of a rich regional network of research and internship possibilities. On campus, the University libraries provide access to more than 2.5 million volumes and have remarkably vast and original Special Collections. 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 Albany area is the home of major state agencies such as the State Archives, the State Museum and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. It also has many public and private museums, historical societies and archives, and 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 public history curriculum and internship possibilities.

To learn more about applying, see: 

To learn more about the Program, contact:

Professor Susan Gauss, Ph.D. 
Graduate Director, Dept. of History
Office SS145E
Phone: 518-442-5345  
                   Professor Gerald Zahavi, Ph.D. 
Director, Public History Program
Office SS 060R 
Phone: 518-442-5427


NOTE: See below for program streamline, effective Fall 2015.

History Master of Arts with a Concentration in Public History (current)

Program of Study (36 credits, 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.

History Master of Arts with a Concentration in History & Media (current)

Program of Study (36 credits, divided as follows)

Coursework in History: 28 credits (minimum). This should include:

  • Two courses from HIS 602, 604, 605, 606, and 610 (or approved equivalents)
  • At least one thematic or geographically-focused reading seminar (select from HIS 626, 628, 630, 639, 642)
  • At least one thematic or geographically-focused research seminar (select from HIS 629, 631, 634, 640, 643, 670)
  • HIS 607 (offered in the spring; recommended for your second semester in the program)
  • HIS 698 (History and Media Master’s Project) OR HIS 699 (Master’s Thesis) (Students should begin planning their thesis at the start of their second year, and generally will do the bulk of the work during their final semester in the program. It may build on work completed in previous courses, such as HIS 607.

Master’s Project or Master’s Thesis

  • His 698 History and Media Masters Project (2-6): This course provides MA students concentrating in History and Media an opportunity to plan, conduct research, and produce a substantial media project reflecting their area of expertise and interest. Faculty have individual class numbers for HIS 698: Permission of Supervising Instructor Required.
  • His 699 Master's Thesis in History (2-6): Independent research leading to an acceptable thesis for a master's degree. Prerequisite: Consent of department chair.

Supporting Coursework: 0-8 credits (as advised)

Foreign Language Requirement: M.A. candidates writing Master's theses or working on media projects on non-U.S. topics are required to demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language appropriate to the student's major field. This requirement can be fulfilled by an examination in the Department, by an examination administered by a language department with approval of the History Department, or by satisfactory completion of a graduate level language course that has been approved by the History Department. 




Effective Fall 2015: History Master of Arts with a Concentration in Public History 

Program of Study (36 credits, divided as follows)

GROUP A:  Academic Content Courses (18-21 credits)

Geographic and thematic courses in history, including at least one readings course and one research seminar.

GROUP B:  Public History Concentration Courses (9-12 credits)

HIS 501 - Introduction to Public History (required)
HIS 503 - Introduction to Historical Agency Management and Practice 
HIS 504 - Curatorial Practices for Historical Agencies
HIS 505 - Interpretation of Historic Sites & Artifacts
HIS 506 - History Museums
HIS 508 - Material Culture Studies
HIS 509 - Introduction to Historic Preservation
HIS 594 - Practicum in Oral/Aural History
HIS 596 - Practicum in Digital History
HIS 597 - Practicum in Historical Documentary Filmmaking
HIS 598 - Practicum in Historical Narrative


HIS 798A


Satisfactory completion of a major field examination covering academic and public history course content.



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

Program of Study (54 credits, divided as follows)

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

The Employment Disclosure statement regarding the Certificate in Advanced Study in Public History is available at: Gedt.html