The term public history refers to the theory and practice of a variety of history-related pursuits that occur outside the university setting. It is a growing field in the discipline of history—more than 100 U.S. universities and colleges offer courses in public history. In addition to their academic applications, courses in public history prepare students for a wide range of career options after college graduation, including work in historic preservation, museums, archives, cultural resource management, contract history, and other occupations in both the private sector and for government agencies.
The history department at UW-EC has long been involved in local and regional public history, but degree offerings in the field are relatively new. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire History Department offers a Public History Emphasis for undergraduate majors and a Graduate Certificate in Public History for graduate students.
Undergraduate Emphasis in Public History
Public history has been a growing field during the last few decades, and many history departments across the country have recently developed graduate programs in the field. Undergraduate degree offerings in public history, however, are much less common. The undergraduate Emphasis in Public History at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been designed to introduce students to a variety of career options open to history majors.
Curriculum for the undergraduate Emphasis in Public History includes:
- History 386: Introduction to Public History
- History 486: Seminar in Public History
- History 498: Public History Internship
- Students pursuing an Emphasis in Public History are required to target their 488-489 capstone projects at a public audience in addition to its academic one.
Graduate Certificate in Public History
The Graduate Certificates Program in History at UW-EC is designed to offer flexibility based upon the specific needs or interests of graduate students. Graduate certificates emphasize specialization and depth of knowledge in a specific area on interest. The program is intended for individuals who would like to expand their competence and knowledge in a particular area of history. The Graduate Certificate in Public History prepares students for graduate school or a wide range of career options by familiarizing students with the theory and practice of public history pursuits and also by providing hands-on experience through internships and other opportunities. Students admitted to the MA Program in history and special students may acquire the fifteen-credit Graduate Certificate in Public History.
Curriculum for the Graduate Certificate in Public History:
- History 586: Introduction to Public History
- History 686: Seminar in Public History
- History 711: Readings in US History (6 credits)
- History 790: Public History Internship
- Students pursuing Graduate Certification in Public History are also required to write an additional essay on that topic for their comprehensive exams.
WHS Field Services Office
The Wisconsin Historical Society’s Field Services program serves groups and individuals interested in preserving Wisconsin’s history and heritage. It aids local history and historic preservation organizations throughout the state by providing assistance and technical information, on-site visits, and training programs. The northern field services office is located on the campus of UW-Eau Claire within the Department of History and collaborates with the public history program to offer unique internship and seminar programs to UW-Eau Claire students.