This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. 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.

Degree requirements for History, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in public history

Note: The history major requires students to take one course (three credits) from at least four of the following seven geographic specialties: 1) history of the United States, 2) history of Europe 3) history of Africa 4) history of Asia 5) history of Latin America 6) history of the Middle East and 7) history of the Caribbean. This geographic distribution requirement may be satisfied by any course taken for HIST credit, at any level.

Course Title Hours
General education
Select 30 credits of general education courses in consultation with an adviser.30
Major requirements
• Major core requirements
HIST 300Introduction to Historical Study3
• Additional major requirements
Historical survey courses (100-level HIST)12
• Concentration requirements
HIST 323Introduction to Public History3
HIST 422Studies in Public History: ____3
HIST 493Internship3
• Major electives
Upper-level HIST (301-499, except 490 or 493) 112
Ancillary requirements
HUMS 202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Experiential fine arts 21-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-6
Open electives
Select any course.44-52
Total Hours120

One of these courses must have the “public history” attribute.


Course offered by the School of the Arts

The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 120.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
UNIV 101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
Experiential fine arts 1-3
General education courses 6
Historical survey (100-level HIST) 3
 Term Hours: 14-16
Spring semester
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
General education courses 9
Historical survey (100-level HIST) 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
UNIV 200 Advanced Focused Inquiry: Literacies, Research and Communication (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
Foreign language 101 3
General education course 3
Historical survey (100-level HIST) 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
HIST 300 Introduction to Historical Study (must achieve a minimum grade of C) 3
Foreign language 102 3
General education course 3
Historical survey (100-level HIST) 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
HIST 323 Introduction to Public History 3
Open electives 9
Upper-level HIST (301-499) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
HIST 422 Studies in Public History: ____ 3
Open electives 9
Upper-level HIST (301-499) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
Open electives 9
Upper-level HIST (301-499) 6
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
HIST 493 Internship 3
Open electives 12
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120-122

The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 120.