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Public History, M.A.

College of Arts and Sciences

Prepare to make history come alive for the public by joining one of the nation’s strongest public history programs ― one that offers full funding to most students.

In this program, you gain valuable work experience while studying public history. Our graduates are making an impact in archives and libraries, museums, historic preservation agencies, historic sites, documentary editing projects, state and national parks, consulting firms and academia.

Program Highlights

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    Distinguished Program

    Study in a history department consistently ranked in the South and nationally by the National Research Council.

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    Recognized Research

    Benefit from a program that received a Robert Kelley Memorial Award and three student awards from the National Council on Public History.

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    Authentic Experiences

    Do hands-on research with one of our partner organizations locally, nationally or abroad.

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    Historic Location

    Live, work and study in a place with a deep connection to its past as an epicenter of the African American experience.

What You’ll Study

Public history students learn through experience, with extensive time committed to an internship, a portfolio of original research and a thesis. Students may take courses focused on historic preservation or museums, along with public history more broadly. Students should demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language (in most cases).

Building Skills

Gain the professional and personal intelligence it takes to have a successful career.

  • Project Management

    Organizing and overseeing tasks to achieve specific goals


    Gathering and analyzing information to increase knowledge or solve problems


    Foster learning by conveying knowledge, skills and concepts to students

  • Writing

    Creating professional written content for inclusion in scholarly journal articles, books and reports

    Cultural Awareness

    Learning about and respecting diverse cultures and beliefs

    Critical Thinking

    Analyzing and evaluating information to make informed decisions or judgments

Using your degree

Make your college experience the foundation for a successful future.

Potential Careers

  • Archivist
  • Historic Preservationist
  • Museum Director
  • Documentarian
  • Professor
  • Writer

Workplace Settings

  • Preservation and Archives
  • State and National Parks
  • Publishing
  • Media
  • Education
  • Museums and Galleries

As a public historian, I feel motivated to research the unsung heroes in my own Columbia community. I had the opportunity to attend the spring break civil rights tour, which has encouraged me to have more pride in South Carolina's history.

Eboni Belton
Portrait of Eboni Belton

Is USC Right For You?

There are many reasons we could be your ideal university. There's the award-winning academics, the globally modeled student life, and abundance of study abroad and experiential learning options. Take a closer look at what USC could mean for you.

Degree content is provided for informational purposes only. The Academic Bulletin is the source of record for all degree information.