Graduate Catalog 2021-2022

Public History (Advanced Certificate)

Program Coordinator: 

Professor Susan Smith Peter

Marchi Hall (2N), Room 204

Telephone: 718.928.3290



Public historians bring history to general audiences outside of academia. Working in museums, archives, archeological sites, media organizations, corporations, government bodies, community groups, and many other places, public historians undertake wide-ranging professional activities that include museum curating, oral interviewing, archival collection, documentary making, and historical preservation.

This Advanced Certificate Program prepares graduate students for successful and rewarding careers in public history. Students enrolled in the program improve their academic expertise, enhance their historical knowledge, and learn professional skills and methods. Additionally, they gain invaluable practical experience working at one of the many cultural institutions, museums, archives, and historic sites in New York City.

The curriculum for the Public History Certificate consists of five 4-credit courses. It is designed for persons who want to commence or advance a career in public history and who already possess a BA degree in History or a related subject. The certificate can be taken by itself or in conjunction with the MA in History degree at CSI; students seeking to obtain the MA and Public History certificate simultaneously need to complete 36 credits in total.

Public History Advanced Certificate Admission Requirements

Students currently enrolled in the MA program in History at CSI are eligible to complete the Advanced Certificate in Public History alongside their MA studies. Students not enrolled in the MA program in History at CSI may apply for admission to complete the Public History Certificate by itself or simultaneously with the MA in History. Applicants for the Advanced Certificate in Public History should consult the timetable for admission for the MA program in History. 

Materials required for applications and standards of admission are listed below:

  1. Satisfactory completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 in the history major or related field. Students not meeting this requirement may be evaluated after an interview with the program coordinator and/or the admissions committee.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from professors under whom the applicant has studied or from other persons who can comment directly on the applicant’s potential as a graduate student and scholar.
  3. A current resume detailing all relevant past and present professional employment, experience, memberships, and related service.
  4. A cover letter not to exceed one typed page describing the applicant’s relevant experience as well as the reason and motivation for applying for the Certificate.
  5. An academic or professional writing sample (such as an academic paper, professional report, exhibition or grant proposal) of up to 25 pages.

In certain cases, exceptions to admission requirements (such as the minimum GPA) can be granted by the History Department MA Committee, which functions as the Admissions Committee for the program.

Public History Advanced Certificate Requirements

The Public History Advanced Certificate consists of 20 graduate credits at the 700-level, with all graduate courses designated at four credits. Students must complete five courses.

Required Courses

HST 701Historical Method


HST 718Seminar in Public History


HST 719Public History Practicum/Internship



Two Specialist Courses in Public History


Students seeking to complete the History MA and the Public History Advanced Certificate programs simultaneously can apply HST 701 to both the certificate and the MA in History. In addition, they can use the combination of HST 718 and HST 719 as a substitute for HST 796 (the MA portfolio course) and the oral defense. The two specialist public history courses count as electives toward the MA but do not meet any of the four field requirements. For example, HST 715 (History of New York) could be counted either as a field course in U.S. History for the MA degree, or a specialist course in public history, but not as both at the same time. Overall, then, students can graduate with both the History MA and the Public History Advanced Certificate by completing a total of 36 credits or nine courses—the five courses for the certificate listed above plus four content courses (covering four of the MA Program’s five areas of concentration).

Students who complete the 20-credit Public History Certificate by itself may subsequently apply for the History MA program. If admitted, they can attain the MA degree by completing four additional 700-level content courses that cover four of the MA Program’s five areas of concentration.

Total Credit Hours: 20