History, MA (Public History)

Master of Arts Degree in History with an Emphasis in Public History

University of Nebraska at Kearney

  • Fully Online
  • 36
  • $315.00
  • $504.00

Program Overview

The online Master of Arts in History with an emphasis in Public History degree program is designed to instruct students about the creation and distribution of history for the public.

Students choose the online History, MA (Public History Emphasis) program because:

  • Thesis and non-thesis options.
  • They gain knowledge of how to use digital tools and resources for historical research.
  • Low professor/student ratios, credentialed faculty.
  • Extensive course offerings in the areas of historic preservation, public history methods, and digital history.
  • Flexibility in degree completion to accommodate busy schedules. (no residency requirement).
  • A flexible, fully online program.
  • Specialized courses taught by credentialed faculty.

The courses prepare students for a variety of careers from graduate and law schools to public history and secondary teaching to business and industry. Many faculty members have won awards that recognize the high quality of their scholarship, teaching and service.

Career Outlook: The Master of Arts in History with an emphasis in public history prepares students for a multitude of careers such as in state, county and local institutions museums, libraries, historic sites and any industry requiring the preservation or curation of historical artifacts or information. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for Curators and Museum Technicians and Conservators is projected to grow 20% in the U.S. by 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Potential career paths include:

  • Archivist
  • Curator
  • Historical Interpreter
  • Historical Preservationist or Conservationist
  • Historical Consultant
  • Museum Director
  • Government Historian
  • Oral Historian

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A Bachelor's degree

    Including completion of at least 18 semester hours in history.

  2. 3.25 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. 2 letters of recommendation

  4. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  5. Evidence of the writing and analytical skills necessary for graduate level coursework.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

  • Complete and submit the online application for admission
  • Pay the $45 non-refundable application fee

Courses You’ll Take

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
HIST 801America Interpreted3
An introductory (required) graduate readings course in American historiography. The class examines the leading schools of historical opinion from the founding of American society through the modern era.
HIST 803Historical Methods3
This required course will introduce graduate students to the history profession and to the tools and methods used by historians.
HIST 868PDigital History3
This course explores the use of digital tools and sources in historical research and the sharing of historical information with public and scholarly audiences.
HIST 875Internship in History1 - 9
This course emphasizes the professional development of the student in the area of the student's professional interest. The grade will be recorded as credit/no credit.
HIST 894Introduction to Thesis3
A required course for graduate students pursuing the thesis option. Prepares students to conduct primary research, construct historical arguments, identify historiographical patterns, and begin the writing process.

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
HIST 838Issues in Public History3
This graduate course examines contemporary issues and practices in the field of public history. The format of this course will vary depending on the topic, instructor, and the needs of the students. May be repeated with each new offering.
HIST 848Readings in American History3
A variable themed graduate level course. Topics in American history will include both key issues and periods in history as well as historiographical disputes. May be repeated for credit. Some examples of course topics are: Age of Jackson, American Borderlands, American Constitutional History, American Religion, American West, American Women's History, Civil Rights, Civil War, Cold War, Colonial America, Great Depression, Hispanics in America, Historical Preservation, Indians & Empires, Modern West, Native American History, Nebraska History, Plains Indians, Popular Music, Popular Culture, Public History, Reconstruction, Revolutionary Origins, Sports History, U.S. Latin American Relations, World War II, etc.
HIST 864Public History Seminar3
This course introduces graduate students to the theory and practice of public history. A growing body of scholarship on public history has emerged over the past few decades, seeking to develop a better understanding of the underlying principles of the field and the challenges of doing history in public. This class will expose students to both foundational as well as new scholarship on public history, explore several key issues facing the practice of public history today, and offer hands-on, practical experience through the preparation of a grant proposal and the completion of a real-world public history project.
HIST 865Public History Methods3
This course introduces graduate students to the practice and methodologies of local and community history research. Students will be exposed to key readings and issues in local history scholarship, gain a strong understanding of the characteristics of quality local and community history, and become extensively familiar with the kinds of primary sources used to explore and interpret history at the local level. The course will culminate in a substantial project that results in the production of a real-world product for a community partner.
HIST 866Museums & Material Culture3
This course introduces graduate students to the major themes, debates, and issues in museums and material culture studies. Students will be exposed to key readings and issues in museum studies and material culture scholarship, gain a strong understanding of the history of museums and their evolving role among diverse groups of public audiences, and explore the principles and methods behind the use of material culture in a variety of public history settings. The course will culminate in a major artifact analysis assignment and a substantial project that results in the production of a real-world product for a community partner.
HIST 867Historic Preservation3
This graduate course introduces students to the major themes, debates, and issues in the dynamic field of historic preservation. Students will read several significant works on the history of historic preservation in the United States, the power of history and historic places to shape communities and a sense of place, relevant historic preservation laws and practices, and the many challenges facing historic preservationists in the twenty-first century. Guided by these readings, students will also conduct original research into a historic property and prepare a National Register nomination.
HIST 897Public History Project3 - 6
This course serves as an alternative to the traditional thesis requirement and is designed as an opportunity for graduate-level public history students to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in public history practice. Students pursuing this option will be required to develop, complete, and defend a substantial, original public history project. Exact details will vary and should be developed in consultation with the student's advisor. Students may take this course for 3-6 credits per semester.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

About Faculty

University of Nebraska online courses are taught by expert faculty who embody the qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience. Students learn from faculty with a variety of backgrounds, many of whom are published researchers in their fields. NU faculty who teach online do so in a way that optimizes learning within the online modality and because technology enables students to access education they may otherwise may not be able to pursue.

Application Deadlines
  • Fall SemesterJul 10
  • Spring SemesterNov 10
  • Summer SemesterApr 10