Public History Program Director
Dr. Lynn Denton
The Department of History at Texas State offers graduate students a master of arts degree in history with an emphasis in public history. This program prepares students for public history careers in historic preservation, oral history, historic site interpretation, museums and archives management.
Public history students learn to apply skills and methods to the study, documentation, preservation and management of cultural resources. Practicums and internships provide students with the opportunity to work with community members, resource managers and regulatory agency staffs on collaborative projects.
The program combines traditional historical study and training for a variety of history-related professions. The curriculum takes full advantage of established scholars in the Department of History, experienced professionals on campus and region-wide, and cooperating institutions throughout Texas.
The master of arts in history with a specialization in public history is available with a thesis or a non-thesis option. The non-thesis option requires 36 semester hours, 18 of which must be in designated public history courses. Students also take 18 hours of history courses. The thesis option requires 39 semester hours, including the general research seminar and six hours of thesis credit. All public history students must take the Practice of Public History, US Historiography, and at least three hours of internship. All students must pass a comprehensive exam before graduation.
Within a 100 mile radius of San Marcos there are more than 50 history museums, archives and historic sites. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Alamo, and Witte Museum in San Antonio; National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg; the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin History Center, Center for American History, and O. Henry House in Austin; Katherine Ann Porter House in Kyle; Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State; Wittliff Collections at Texas State.
The National Park Service operates several parks in the vicinity. And a statewide system of historic and recreational parks, some built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, are managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. Many state parks and historic sites are within easy driving distance of San Marcos.
Nearby, students can study the landscapes of Texas' early Hispanic and German settlers, as well as those of the state's ranching heritage. San Marcos' own Aquarena Springs alone provides an opportunity to study heritage tourism, environmental history and community history.
In Austin, the state capital, numerous public agencies are charged with historic preservation, cultural resource management, and archives and collections management of resources for the entire state. They include the Texas State Archives and Library, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, State Preservation Board, and Texas Historical Commission.
On the Texas State campus students can take courses and engage in public history projects with the Center for Texas Music History, work with papers of Texas writers at the Wittliff Collections, or study heritage tourism and environmental history at the Texas Rivers Center, located on campus at the headwaters of the spring-fed San Marcos River.
Master of Arts Degree with specialization in Public History
36 hours of graduate history, or 30 hours of graduate history with an optional six hour cognate in a discipline approved by the director of graduate studies and the director of the Public History Program.
3 hours United States historiography 
3 hours The Practice of Public History 
3 hours Internship 
3 hours Public History Project  (if possible)
9 - 12 hours of elective public history courses
9 - 15 hours of United States history seminars
6 hours outside cognate (optional, on approval, as indicated above)
Written or oral comprehensive examination
Master of Arts Degree with specialization in Public History (thesis option)
39 hours of graduate level history, or
33 hours of graduate level history with an optional six hour cognate in a discipline outside of history approved by the director of graduate studies and the director of the Public History Program.
3 hours - United States historiography 
3 hours - The Practice of Public History 
3 hours - Internship 
3 hours - Public History Project  (if offered)
3 hours – General Research Seminar
6 hours – Thesis Credit
9-12 hours of Elective public history courses
9 hours of United States history seminars
6 hours (optional) outside cognate
Comprehensive examination (thesis defense and public history oral exam)
Public History Courses
Normally, the program requires 18 hours in public history, including 15 hours of course work and three hours of internship. Available courses include:
* The Practice of Public History
* Local and Community History
* The Practice of Museum Studies
* Historic Preservation
* Cultural Resource Management
* Topics in Public History (Topics vary: archives and records management, documentary film, historical editing, and oral history)
* Archival Management
* Oral History
* Heritage Management
* Material Culture
* Management & Administration in Historical Organizations
* Documentary Media
Traditional History Courses
The remaining 18 hours include course work in American history. Three hours in historiography are required, and the other 15 hours may be selected from a variety of courses. Among them are topics in 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century American history. These include women's history, African American history, Texas history, history of the American west, military history, cultural history and history of Mexico.
A student may opt to have a six-hour outside minor apply to 18 hours required in traditional history courses.
In lieu of a thesis, students will author or contribute project reports for their portfolios. Students may, however, choose to write a thesis after consultation with the director of Graduate Studies and the director of the Public History Program.
The degree program concludes with an oral comprehensive exam.