Public History

Public history is any form of historical engagement that moves beyond the traditional classroom and scholarly publication, including monuments, museums, oral history, historical preservation, walking tours, as well as historically-engaged performance and documentary film. The Public History minor provides students opportunities to think critically about diverse modes of historical learning and storytelling and the many ways historical knowledge circulates in public life: Whose histories are privileged and silenced? What strategies can we use to uncover and share knowledge of the past? How does history shape experiences of identity and community? And how can public and community-engaged history help us to better understand society and politics today? Courses in the Public History minor also emphasize applied forms of historical engagement—archival research, community-based oral history projects, and curation. 


Students must take at least 5 courses from a list of courses that count, totaling at least 15 credits, including:

  • At least 1 course from the list of core courses (lecture classes intended to introduce students to a wide range of public history forms, methods, and questions).
  • At least 2 courses from the list of history courses (courses in or cross-listed with history). Core courses can count towards the two-history course requirement.

All classes must be taken for letter grades, unless classes are only offered as S/U. First-year writing seminars do not count for the minor. Only one class counted for the Public History minor may be counted for the student’s major or an additional minor.  Transfer, advanced placement, or study abroad credits are not eligible.

Please complete the online application or pick up a paper application on the fourth floor of McGraw Hall and submit to Judy Yonkin, 450 McGraw Hall.

Students may petition the Public History minor committee to have a course that does not appear on the list count towards the minor. To learn more about the petition process, visit the PHI website