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Public History Certificate

Undergraduate Certificate Program in Public History

 Public history is history at work in the world


 Rutgers History Department’s 5 Course/15-Credit Certificate in Public History guides students in thinking critically about the public presentation of history, while training them in the skills necessary to pursue careers as public history professionals.

The History Department offers several courses for undergraduate students to explore the field of public history. Rutgers’ public history certificate program trains students to think critically about the public presentation of history and culture. Students will develop tangible skills that enable them to pursue graduate study in a number of fields as well as professional work at historic and cultural sites. Classroom and fieldwork combine to deliver both theoretical understanding of memory and history and practical experience in historic preservation, community documentation, museums, and cultural program development.

If you are passionate about history and desire to share your knowledge with others then public history makes a wise career choice. The numerous and varied applications of public history encompass historical sites and historical archeology; archival collections and museum artifacts; historical society collections; federal and state level park service, landmark preservation, and government and private sector document preservation. A properly trained public historian possesses personal and professional assets which help a person negotiate an impressive array of career choices and callings.

To gain a real-life perspective on working in public history, undergraduate students will pursue an internship as the capstone experience of the certificate. Internships are available in a wide range of history organizations.  New Jersey boasts a rich network of museums, archives, historical societies, documentary filmmakers, and historic preservation agencies, as well as one of the top public research universities in the nation.

Most of the certificate courses can also simultaneously count toward the History major. To be awarded the Certificate in Public History, students must pass all of their certificate courses with a grade of C or higher and submit the declaration form in the semester prior to completion of the program and degree.

To register for the Certificate, please email the program coordinator to state your interest. If you have completed the courses for the certificate and would like to submit your grades for full recognition, please submit the form below by March 15 for Spring Semester graduations and by October 15 for Fall Semester graduations.

Link to application form pdf here (33 KB) .

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the public history program and opportunities, contact the Program Coordinator.

Dr. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan
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Department of History
213C Van Dyck Hall


Required Courses


  1. History Workshop - 506:299 (offered each semester)
  2. Public History: Theory, Method, and Practice - 506:301 (offered each Spring)
  3. Introduction to Oral History - 506:302 and/or a class in the Digital Humanities (offered each Spring)
  4. One approved elective (see list below)
  5. Public History Internship - 506:451 (offered each semester)

  pdf Fall 2017 Courses (558 KB)

  pdf Spring 2018 Courses (641 KB)


Declaring the Certificate


  pdf Download the declaration form (33 KB)

To be eligible for the Certificate students must submit the declaration form for the program. The certificate does not need to be completed before you submit the application. You can submit it at any point and estimate when you will take the courses. However, since there are many electives to choose from, the application needs to include the exact elective you plan to apply toward the Certificate. The Public History Certificate will be added to your transcript during your last semester at Rutgers so please be sure to note your graduation month and year on the application.

To learn more about the field of public history, visit the website of the profession’s largest organization: the National Council for Public History


  pdf Printer Friendly Public History Certificate Information (113 KB)


Selected Approved Electives


American Studies
050:281 Architecture and Cultural Change on Old Queens Campus
050:284 American Studies Media Culture Project
050:291 Jerseyana: New Jersey as a Culture
050:300 Museums, Monuments, and American Culture


070:208 Survey of Historical Archaeology
070:333 Colonial Archaeology
070:393 Cultural Resource Management


Art History
082:430 Cultural Heritage Preservation
082:300 History of Modern Crafts and Design
082:441 Topics in Historic Preservation
082:444 Studies in Architectural Preservation
082:445 Studies in the Art & Architecture of New Jersey
082:391 Nineteenth Century Architecture & Society in the US


351:314 Documentary Filmmaking for Writers


Environmental Resources
11:372:322 Surveying and Mapping
11:372:409 New Jersey Planning Practice


01:450:331 New Jersey
01:450:321 Geographic Information Systems


Landscape Architecture
11:550:330 History of Landscape Architecture
11:550:430 Advanced Landscape History Seminar


01:512:310 New Jersey History
01:508:321 African Cultural History
01:506:391 Any CHAPS (Cultural Heritage or Preservation Studies)


Additional elective options may be available from semester to semester. If you are interested in a relevant public history or public humanities-oriented course, you can submit a petition to the program coordinator to have that course counted toward the certificate.

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