Public History Certificate:


Public History at the undergraduate can be an important asset to any Bachelor of Arts degree. History majors and students studying in related disciplines are encouraged to consider the certificate, and its emphasis on research skills and public engagement, as a compliment their primary degree program. 

Exhibit at the 2015 Iowa State Fair

Description of Certificate

The Public History Certificate consists of 15 units of credit hours: an introductory course, two internships (one a project-based experience and one individual experience), and two additional courses that train students in a key methodology associated with Public History, such as:

  • Oral History
  • Museum Studies
  • Material Culture
  • Visual Culture (Art History)
  • Spatial Analysis (Geography)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Digital Culture and Production (Interactive Digital Studies)
  • Cultural Resource Management (outdoor recreation, tourism, and sustainability) a
  • Nonprofit Management

Students begin their public history work the first semester of their junior year.


  • HIST 4010 Applying History: The Public Alternative (Fall semester)
  • HIST 4030 Internship in Historical Studies (Project-Based Experience - Spring semester)
  • HIST 4030 Internship in Historical Studies (Individual Experience - Summer or Fall semester)
  • Related Methodological Course(s) (Variable)

Methodological courses include:

  • Introduction to Museum Studies (Fall semester)
  • Oral History (Spring semester)
  • Material Culture (Spring semester)
  • Other history courses that specifically introduce students to a field of study, such as environmental history, women's history, African-American history, etc.
  • Courses in other departments that teach related methodologies such as visual culture, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis, digital culture and production, cultural resource management (outdoor recreation and tourism), and nonprofit management.

Expanding the Certificate

Public history students should consider expanding their certificate to a Minor in History. The minor is 18 credit hours, which is 3 beyond the required certificate hours.