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School of Humanities

Public History Certificate

Graduate Certificate Program in Public History

The Graduate Certificate in Public History is designed for those interested in being trained for careers in public history, including museums, libraries, and historical societies.  Coursework will expose students to the methods and materials of public history and prepare them for a future in public history positions. 

The program requires eighteen hours of study, including an internship component for the development of hands-on skills and on-the-job experience.


Students in the program have participated in internships at several public history sites:


USM Graduate Student Internship at Vicksburg National Military ParkProgram Requirements: Total 18 hours

I. Foundations of Public History (2 required courses, 6 hours)
  • HIS 605   Presenting Heritage I
  • HIS 785   Oral History Seminar
II. Required Internship (3 hours)
  •  HIS 695   Internship in Public History
III. Content Courses (Pick 3 courses, 9 hours). 

No more than six (6) credit hours can come from any one discipline, other than History

  • ANT 534   Historical Archaeology
  • ANT 537   Heritage Resources and Public Policy
  • ED 665     Economic Development and Tourism
  • HIS 606    Presenting Heritage II
  • HIS 710    Philosophy and Methods of History
  • LIS 605    Library Management
  • LIS 646    Introduction to Archival Theory and Practice
  • LIS 647    Introduction to Archival Organization
  • LIS 649    Preservation of Documentary Materials
  • MC 620    Public Relations Theory
  • MC 621    Public Relations Campaigns
  • MCJ 521   Public Relations
  • NPS 506   Nonprofit Resource Development and Fundraising
  • NPS 507   Nonprofit Board and Volunteer Development
  • NPS 605   Nonprofits and Social Change
  • PS 574     The Politics of Taxing and Spending

*Up to 3 hours of additional internship (beyond the required internship) may be used to help fulfill the “Content Courses” requirement.

  • HIS 695   Internship in Public History
  • HIS 696   Internship in Applied Historical Research
IV.  Final Comprehensive Exam
  • Students will have to successfully complete a final examination which assesses all of their coursework and internship experiences.

*Graduate students seeking a degree in history may be able to count up to six hours of credit from this program towards their degree.  Ph.D. students may use the Public History Certificate as their research tool.

**Successful completion of the program requires a final GPA of at least 3.0


Courses:Archivist at Work


HIS 605.  Presenting Heritage I. 3 hrs.  This course is a seminar on public history, folklore, and anthropology.  It emphasizes theories and methods of public presentation to prepare students for public sector employment.

HIS 785.  Oral History Seminar. 3 hrs.  This course trains students in one of the most widely employed methods used by public historians.

HIS 695.  Internship in Public History. 3 hrs.  Students participate in a supervised internship in a private, state, or federal facility dedicated to public history.


ANT 534.  Historical Archaeology. 3 hrs.  This course is designed to teach students the questions and techniques used on archaeological sites dating from the fifteenth to the early twentieth century.

ANT 537.  Heritage Resources and Public Policy. 3 hrs.  Students will learn the history and present state of public policy issues related to archaeological and historic resources and their role in the planning process.

ED 665.  Economic Development and Tourism. 3 hrs. This course helps students study the relationship between tourism and economic development.  It focuses on methods for attracting tourism, hospitality, and gaming businesses as target sectors for economic development and includes a study of ecotourism and the gaming industry.

HIS 606.  Presenting Heritage II. 3 hrs.  This course is the second of a two-part seminar (with HIS 605) on public history, folklore, and anthropology, emphasizing the development and management of public humanities programming.

HIS 696.  Internship in Applied Historical Research. 3 hrs. Students participate in a supervised internship in a private, state, or federal institution with an emphasis on administrative materials.

HIS 710.  Philosophy and Methods of History. 3 hrs.  This course introduces students to the nature and methods of historical study, including research and bibliographic techniques and data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

LIS 605 - Library Management.  3 hrs.  A special fee is charged for this course.  Analysis of administrative theory and principles of management in libraries.

LIS 646 - Introduction to Archival Theory and Practice.  3 hrs.  A special fee is charged for this course.  Prerequisite(s): LIS 501 and LIS 505.  An introduction to the basic concepts and theory related to the acquisition, processing, organization, and preservation of archival materials and special collections.

LIS 647.  Introduction to Archival Organization. 3 hrs.  Students will learn the basics of handling materials of archival significance and the development of the archives-library relationship.

LIS 649.  Preservation of Documentary Materials.3 hrs. This course is designed to teach students the care and preservation of documentary materials in their various formats, including techniques for conservation, preservation, and restoration.

MC 620.  Public Relations Theory. 3 hrs.  Prerequisite:  Undergraduate study of public relations or communication, or permission of instructor.  The course explores the theories of excellent communication and public relations management appropriate for grounding the work with internal and external publics of organization.

MC 621.  Public Relations Campaigns. 3 hrs.  Prerequisite:  MC 620 or permission of instructor.  Students examine the issues affecting design and implementation of persuasive public communication campaigns for business organizations, nonprofit organizations, political or issue campaigns.

MCJ 521.  Public Relations. 3 hrs.  This course is designed to introduce students to the professional practice of public relations, emphasizing its function and process, publics, tools and media of communications, and professional ethics.

NPS 506 - Nonprofit Resource Development and Fundraising.  3 hrs.  Examines how nonprofits develop resources through a variety of fundraising and grantmaking activities.

NPS 507.  Nonprofit Board and Volunteer Development.  3 Hrs.  This course will focus on the role of governing boards and voluntary participants in nonprofit organizations.

NPS 605.  Nonprofits and Social Change. 3 hrs.  This course focuses on the role of nonprofit organizations in meeting the needs of American society.

PS 574.  The Politics of Taxing and Spending. 3 hrs.  This course is divided into two areas, budgeting models and their politics.  It considers such issues as taxing and fiscal policies.


USM Graduate Student Internship at McCain Archives-Special Collections DivisionAdmission Requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree with some background in History
  • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • The TOEFL for all applicants for whom English is not their native language
  • Current immunization records as required by the state Institutes of Higher Learning



  • Complete the Application for Admission to the Graduate School.  CLICK HERE for instructions and links.
    • Submit your non-refundable application fee of $60. CLICK HERE for instructions and a link.
    • Submit transcripts and immunization records. CLICK HERE for instructions and links.


If you have further questions, please contact History's Director of Graduate Studies Dr. Kyle Zelner at Kyle.ZelnerFREEMississippi or 601-266-6196.

For more information on Public History, see the National Council on Public History or the American Association for State and Local History.




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