This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2023-2024 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The history curriculum exposes students to a multidimensional analysis of the human past. The concentration in public history draws on faculty expertise and the wealth of historical resources available in the Richmond area to engage such analyses with audiences outside the classroom. Public history is exemplified by the work of archivists, museum curators, historical guides, historic preservationists, editors, publishers and digital media specialists, all of whom rely upon a blend of practical, hands-on experience and substantive academic training. Ongoing public controversies about the past and its representations show the liveliness and importance of this field. This course of study provides students an ideal preparation for a wide range of careers and further professional study, and it constitutes an indispensable basis for active citizenship.

The Bachelor of Arts in History with a concentration in public history requires a minimum of 120 credits, with a minimum of 36 of those credits in history. Students must complete HIST 300 with a minimum grade of C prior to enrolling in more than six credits of 300- or 400-level history courses. Students must also complete HIST 323, HIST 422 and at least one other upper-division course bearing the “public history” attribute. Meanwhile, students can also take advantage of a wide range of courses with thematic, topical, national or chronological emphases. Finally, students are required to complete a capstone internship (HIST 493) with an organization connected to the public history field which fosters related skills. Students should consult with their advisers each semester to design a program that meets these requirements and suits their interests and career objectives.

Student learning outcomes

History core outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. Library and research skills. Students should be able to locate information independently and evaluate its utility for their research purposes.

  2. Critical reading skills. Students should be able to engage a wide variety of written texts and glean useful information from them.

  3. Critical thinking about sources of information. Students should be able to evaluate the quality and utility of sources used to understand the past, keeping in mind their context and purpose.

  4. Critical thinking about logical inferences. Students should be able to make useful connections among sources of information about history and be able to propose causal relationships based on discrete pieces of information.

  5. Formulation of persuasive analysis. Students should be able to use both historical sources and logical inferences to make convincing arguments about the past.

  6. Writing skills. Students should be able to write clearly, accurately, persuasively and elegantly about the past and to employ the research apparatus normative to historical writing.

  7. Other information presentation skills. Students should be able to present information and arguments about the past in other formats, such as oral presentations, museum exhibits, archival guides, web-based presentations, etc.

  8. Interpersonal and project management skills. Students should be able to carry out the stages of any project or assignment in an organized, proactive manner, showing independence, timeliness, professional ethics, problem-solving skills, teamwork and collaboration, integrative learning and the transfer of skills, self-assessment, and good judgment in seeking support or resources.

Public history concentration-specific outcomes

  1. Public history skills. Students should be able to develop history projects for and/or with public audiences, using both the methods and the professional ethics specific to the practice of public history.