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Explore the master of arts in history - public history graduate program at UW-Eau Claire

UW-Eau Claire's master of arts in history - public history program prepares students for a wide range of career options by familiarizing them with museum work, historic preservation, archives and other public history subfields. The program is designed so graduate students can prepare themselves in an area of expertise that best meets their interests and needs. Areas of expertise may be defined by broad themes, topics, chronology or geography.

Many of the courses throughout the program are chosen by you, giving you the ability to personalize your degree and align it with your career goals. Choose from a variety of history courses, including those related to American history, American Indian history, public history, modern military history, comparative world cultures and women’s history.

Students are able to further customize their experience at UW-Eau Claire by choosing between three program options: 1) a 30-credit thesis option; 2) a 30-credit thesis and practicum option; or 3) a 33-credit non-thesis option. All three paths are rooted in experiential education, providing countless opportunities to connect with local organizations, secure internships and get involved in the growing field. They also include incredible support and guidance from faculty mentors and advisors, who will work with you directly in planning and designing your degree. 

Whether your goal is to work for a government agency as a researcher or analyst, curate museums, preserve historical sites or become an executive at a historical society, our supportive, expert faculty — combined with a rigorous, experiential curriculum — will prepare you well for a successful and rewarding career. 

Public history graduate student Shane Carlson

UWEC public history team creating Chippewa Valley COVID-19 archive

Public history graduate student Shane Carlson is among many Blugolds working to ensure that the voices of people in the Chippewa Valley will be among those heard when future generations study COVID-19’s impact on the world. As part of a public history seminar class, the students are interviewing people from the campus and community about their experiences living through the pandemic. 

“There will be plenty of information available on the responses of world leaders, elected officials, corporations and the media," Shane said. "But who is going to tell the story of the local distillery that shifted toward producing hand sanitizer to help meet the needs of their communities? Who is going to tell the story of our community’s incarcerated, some of whom fall asleep each night terrified that one sick inmate will quickly turn into 90 sick inmates and less access to treatment? All those voices deserve to be heard because they tell a powerful story."

The oral histories they record and the artifacts they document make up the Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Archive, which will be a source for scholars and others in the future. Their work also will become part of national archive projects.

Graduate scholarships, assistantships, fellowships and grants

There are a number of scholarships, assistantships, fellowships and grants available to our graduate students, including those pursuing their master of arts in history - public history. For example, in addition to helping students gain access to loans for graduate education, the history department has offered various graduate assistantships, which include stipends and the responsibility to work up to 20 hours per week for the department, as well as graduate fellowships, worth $1,000 per year with no work requirement. Private research assistance employment, usually for department faculty members who have external research grants, may also be available.

Learn more about which scholarships and resources are available to you by checking out our scholarships page.

To apply for a graduate assistantship, fellowship or the Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP), please also complete the online Graduate Assistantship/Fellowship/AOP Application. Applications completed by March 1 will receive priority consideration for assistantships, fellowships and AOP grants. Applications completed thereafter will continue to be considered on a rolling basis.

Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire

Working to make your education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible. To get this process started, please contact our staff at Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. 

Learn more about our financial aid process at UWEC.

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Quick facts

  • Program length: two years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • Credits: 30 (with thesis), 30 (with thesis and practicum) or 33 (no thesis)
  • Cost per credit: $522
  • Students will earn a Master of Arts (MA) degree. 

Master of arts in history - public history highlights

Beneficial, on-campus facilities. While pursuing your master of arts in history - public history, you'll have direct access to the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Division of Public History and Historic Preservation, which houses its Northern Field Services Office in the history department. The Field Services program provides programming and assistance to history and preservation organizations statewide and regularly collaborates with the public history program to coordinate internships and other opportunities.

Strong community partnerships. The public history program also works closely with UW-Eau Claire's Special Collections and Archives, which regularly hosts interns. The archives area is home to one of a network of 14 Area Research Centers (ARCs), which the Wisconsin Historical Society and UW System administer cooperatively, providing students access to the resources of the society as well as the other 13 ARCs.

Real-world experience. A required internship in public history gives you both course credit and firsthand experience in the field. Working under supervised assignment at either a museum, archive site, historical site or other agency, you'll learn what it's like working as a public historian. Projects within the internship will also give you the opportunity to apply research skills and knowledge of history to help solve community problems.

Exceptional faculty. UW-Eau Claire is known for its top-notch faculty, including those you'll learn from while working toward your degree. In fact, two of our history professors have been recipients of Wisconsin Professor of the Year awards. The history department also was a recent recipient of the University of Wisconsin Regents Teaching Excellence Award for Academic Departments and Programs.

What jobs can you get with a history - public history master's degree from UWEC?

UW-Eau Claire's public history master's program is designed to provide training and experience in the career fields in which public history practitioners work. This includes positions in historic preservation, historic sites and museums. And thanks to the broad training and real-world experience students get, our graduates have no trouble finding jobs upon graduation. 

Master of arts in history - public history curriculum

Those pursuing their master of arts in history - public history at UWEC will choose between three program options: a 30-credit program including a thesis, a 30-credit program including a thesis and a practicum, and a 33-credit, non-thesis program. 

While pursuing your degree, you can expect close supervision and guidance from a faculty mentor. A counseling and advising system has also been devised with the intention of providing each student with a personalized program encompassing both breadth and depth. Your advisor will work with you directly to design a plan that will allow for the completion of program requirements in the most efficient way possible while studying the topics that most interest you.

No matter your path, curriculum throughout all three programs will teach you to appreciate the historical method of searching for truth, make judgments about concrete issues and exercise careful analysis along the way. Graduates leave able to gather, analyze and present material, and understand the complexity of human history and historical developments.

Classes may include:

Learn more about the history - public history master's degree in the UWEC course catalog.

Application information

To apply to the MA in history program, please submit:

Application deadlines and information

Applications for the fall semester are due by March 1. Applications for the spring semester are due by Jan. 1. Applications are accepted until seats are filled.

Note: The department admits the best-qualified applicants from a pool each year depending on available space in the program and its assessment of a student’s potential for graduate work. Students normally are admitted from this pool for the fall semester and should have completed their applications by March 1. Students may occasionally be admitted for spring semester or the summer session if their qualifications and space in the program permit.

Please send materials to:

Graduate Admissions
UW-Eau Claire
Schofield Hall 111
Eau Claire WI 54702-4004

Applying for graduate assistantships, fellowships or the AOP

To apply for a graduate assistantship, fellowship or the Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP), please also complete the online Graduate Assistantship/Fellowship/AOP Application. Applications completed by March 1 will receive priority consideration for assistantships, fellowships and AOP grants. Applications completed thereafter will continue to be considered on a rolling basis.

Admission requirements

It is also strongly recommended that a student have completed two years of foreign language study at the college level.

The department may consider the admission of a student whose GPA and/or other qualifications do not meet all those specified above where there is convincing evidence that the student is capable of performing satisfactory graduate work in the department.

For more information, please contact:
John Mann

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