Your next steps...
Our Master's degree in Public History will prepare you for a career in the field of History and Public Heritage or for further study in History at doctoral level.
- This degree will prepare you for a career in the field of cultural heritage or for further study at doctoral level
- Students will be taught by experts in the field of Public History, working at the centre for History and Public Pasts
- The programme includes sessions taught by the Public History Team at the National Archives
Why study Public History?
Most people's sense of the past comes from public history, through film and television, fiction, museums, heritage sites and memory work.
This Public History postgraduate degree looks at the kinds of pasts that are produced in these popular forms. It examines how they are made and the ways in which they are consumed and understood.
As part of your Public History degree you'll be able to gain practical experience of working in a cultural heritage site, museum, gallery or archive.
Our Public History Master’s degree will help to prepare you for a career in public history and related fields, as well as giving you the research skills you need to pursue further postgraduate study in History. It will also show you why the uses we make of the past are not just matters of academic interest.
Why St Mary's?
This is the only degree in the UK that is taught, in part, at The National Archives, which is a leading national and international site not just for archiving government documents, but also for engaging with the past in other ways.
You will attend workshops at The National Archives, delivered by their highly experienced staff and drawing on their wealth of original materials.
Our Public History degree is taught on our South-West London campus, meaning we can offer you excellent opportunities for field visits, and unrivalled links for volunteering and work experience with Hampton Court Palace, Strawberry Hill House, Turner's House, Sir John Soane Museum and Orleans House Gallery. This means that if you decide to take a professional attachment as part of your degree, we can arrange a placement that is relevant to your interests and career aims.
The Public History degree is taught by historians with a strong record of publication and high-quality teaching.
Our graduates have gone on to work in archives and heritage sites, as well as undertaking doctoral-level study postgraduate study in History.
What will you study on our Public History degree?
As a student on our Public History Master’s you will follow a bespoke curriculum that is designed to combine high-level academic skills with the applied work that will set you up for success as a Public Historian.
In the first semester, the course begins with the question, ‘What is Public History?’, with students exploring the diverse contexts (museums, public heritage, monuments, commemorations, and archives) in which Public History takes place. You will also consider the different historical methods and sources (Historical testimony, Oral History, the study of Public and Collective Memory) that inform the study and practice of Public History.
In semester two you will study the role of narrative and storytelling in different forms of Public History, from museums to historical fiction and film, as well as the different ways in which Public History and Heritage sites interpret and present the past.
For your final project you can either take a professional attachment with a partner organisation, or complete a Public History dissertation. Taking a professional attachment will give you the chance to develop practical skills and knowledge. A dissertation will enable you to explore in-depth knowledge of an area of Public History as well as practicing advanced research skills in History.
We've put together a bespoke virtual open day for anyone interested in studying Public History at St Mary's.
This webinar is a great opportunity to hear from the academic teaching staff about what you'll study on the degree.
Dr Mark Donnelly
Advanced Lecturer - History