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Public History Graduate Degree

Coordinator, Public History Program
Dr. Peter Dedek
Office: TMH 206
Phone: 512.245.3042

Any requests for advising appointments should be emailed to Dr. Dedek.  Please allow up to two business days for a response.

People on the rocks.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.

Area Resources

Public History Graduate Program PhotoWithin a 100 mile radius of San Marcos there are more than 50 history museums, archives and historic sites. The 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, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Austin History Center, Center for American History, and Neill-Cochran House in Austin; Center for the Study of the Southwest, Center for Texas Music History and Wittliff Collections at Texas State.

The National Park Service operates several parks in the vicinity. 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. Resources for immigration, labor, and urban history are also easily accessible. On campus we partner with the Center for Archaeological Studies, Center for the Study of the Southwest, Center for Texas Music History, University Archives, and The Wittliff Collections

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, General Land Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Transportation, State Preservation Board, and Texas Historical Commission.

Master of Arts Degree with specialization in Public History (thesis option)

See the Graduate Degree Information page on the History Department website for more information.

Master of Arts Degree with specialization in Public History

See the Graduate Degree Information page on the History Department website for more information.

Public History Courses
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
  • Archival Management
  • Oral History
  • Material Culture
  • Management & Administration in Historical Organizations

History Courses
Available courses include:

  • Topics in 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century American History
  • Women's History
  • The Progressive Era
  • African American History
  • Texas History
  • History of the American West
  • Cold War
  • Military History
  • Cultural History
  • History of Mexico