American Studies, Public Humanities Track, M.A.

The biggest issues facing us today have deep historical roots. Solving them requires understanding cultural, linguistic, racial, gender, class, sexuality and other differences. The public humanities--connecting the qualitative study of the human experience to diverse publics--provides the scholarly knowledge base and the skills to work with communities across difference.

In practice, this work takes many forms: An oral historian interviewing an elderly woman about her memories of the Civil Rights Movement. A curator meeting with local residents to get their input on a new exhibition. A community engagement manager developing online social networks. A community organizer leading a historic walking tour.

This 30-credit curriculum is designed to prepare students to become the next generation of leaders in public history, the public humanities, and nonprofit organizations. Given a deep grounding in the history, theory and methods of American Studies and the public humanities, students will work with local and state organizations on public projects, adding praxis to their theory. Required non-profit management courses (and workshops) will train students in essential management skills.

Beyond content knowledge, the Public Humanities MA would emphasize four core skills in students.

• Communication—ability to communicate to a variety of audiences using media appropriate for reaching those audiences;

• Collaboration—ability to work productively with others to complete tasks and to facilitate conversation amongst interests;

• Digital literacy—ability to critically evaluate digital technologies and be able to use specific technologies to engage the public;

• Self-direction—ability to master new information and skills independently.

Public Humanities Track Graduation Requirements:

Year 1:

  • Introduction to American Studies (3 cr)
  • Public Humanities or Public History course (3 cr)
  • Introduction to Nonprofit Management (3 cr)
  • Additional Nonprofit Management course (e.g. Introduction to Nonprofit Budgeting, Grant Writing and Grant Management, Fundraising, chosen in consultation with advisor) (3 cr)
  • Project-based elective (e.g. Introduction to Digital Public Humanities, Murals, Street Art and Graffiti: Power and Public Art in Contemporary Urban America, Oral History class, chosen in consultation with advisor) (3 cr)

Year 2:

  • Electives (content or method specific) (6 cr)
  • Internship (3 cr)

Capstone Project (6 cr)


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