Public History


School of Humanities and Social Science

School Dean

Christopher J. Frost, Ph.D.


Public History

Program Director

Lindsey Passenger Wieck, Ph.D.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Admissions is granted to those with high promise for success in graduate study and a strong interest in public history. These interests may include (but are not limited to) digital history, heritage tourism, documentary filmmaking, historical GIS, and museums & archives. Admission decisions take into account previous schooling and/or employment, letters of recommendation, and interest in the field. All applicants will submit official transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a resume, in addition to completing the application that includes short answer questions about applicants' interest in public history.

HS 6301. Introduction to Public History. 3 Semester Hours.

This introduction to Public History will examine the historiographical and methodological underpinnings of the field and teach strategies for meeting the challenges of presenting historical narrative and interpretation in public settings. This course will introduce students to a variety of fields and contexts in which public historians work, and orient students to larger program goals that will culminate in an internship, capstone project, and professional preparation. Required first semester.

HS 6399. Directed Readings. 3 Semester Hours.

This course is an opportunity for the student to explore an area of history of their particular interest with a professor who specializes in the area of choice. To be arranged with consent of professor and Graduate Director.

HS 7300. Topics in Public History. 3 Semester Hours.

Although the specific focus of this course will change with each offering, this course provides students the opportunity to study specific topics and methodologies in public and digital history.

HS 7301. Public History Methods (Conceptualizing Capstone Project). 3 Semester Hours.

This course offers an extended focus on the methods of Public History, building on the conceptual knowledge gained in the Introduction to Public History course. Students will learn strategies for and practice using techniques including, but not limited to, oral history, museums/archives, and digital publishing. Students will also learn about concepts important across public history fields including grant writing, communication and publicity, and education and accessibility. In this course, students will work toward creating a proposal for a capstone project to be completed alongside or as part of their internship. Required before internship.

HS 7310. Public History in the Digital Age. 3 Semester Hours.

Students will learn to use digital media and computational analysis to further historical practice, presentation, analysis and research primarily for online audiences. Students will use technologies including blogs and social media, online publishing platforms, and mapping tools to create and share historical content with public audiences.

HS 7311. Heritage Tourism. 3 Semester Hours.

Students will learn to promote community historical and cultural traditions in ways that aid and advance preservation as well as economic development. Applicable settings include local government and other public institutions and venues, private businesses, community centers, and even religious institutions. Students will learn methods of discovering and uncovering unique elements of a community’s history and culture and collaborating with political and business leaders and cultural workers to highlight and advance these for a community’s overall benefit.

HS 7312. History and Museums. 3 Semester Hours.

Students will learn the art of historical presentation in museum settings. Presenting history in public exhibitions requires research in primary and secondary sources, critical thinking and interpretation, and concise presentations using traditional exhibit panels, material culture, digital formats, and creative curatorial skills. The course also explores the importance of incorporating diverse voices as well as accounting for community interests and sensitivities in museum exhibits.

HS 7313. Documentary Filmmaking. 3 Semester Hours.

Students will learn to present history through film and video, which involves combining primary textual sources, filmed oral interviews clips, oral narration, and other relevant material into historical narratives and interpretations. This includes applying conventional historiography and historical method into this practice.

HS 7314. Archives Organization and Management. 3 Semester Hours.

Students will learn aspects of identifying, classifying, storing, securing, retrieving, and tracking archival materials of historical significance. Students will practice techniques including cataloguing and sorting materials and creating digital archives.

HS 7340. North American History. 3 Semester Hours.

In this seminar course, students will learn about broader historical themes in U.S. History that will help them contextualize and narrate history in a variety of public history settings. Students will learn broad historical trends in the nation’s history from the 17th century through the present.

HS 7341. Hispanic San Antonio. 3 Semester Hours.

In this readings seminar course, students will learn about Hispanic history of San Antonio. This course will prepare students especially to work in public history fields in this city and region by helping students understand and contextualize the types of materials and histories they would be working with in public history institutions within the region.

HS 7342. American Military History and Public Memory. 3 Semester Hours.

This course examines the history of the American military from the formation of the Continental Army in 1775 to the present day. Students will study the major armed conflicts in US history, and they will also explore how the United States’ military history has been preserved and presented in the public sphere. Students will learn about competing interpretations of important historical events and about how such historical debates influence the popular historical narrative.

HS 7343. United States in World History. 3 Semester Hours.

This course interprets the history of the United States within a global context from the end of the Revolutionary War to present day. Topics include the United States’ rise as a superpower, the legacies of its policies on Latin America and the world, and the impact of major global developments on the United States. This course presupposes a basic knowledge of United States history.

HS 7344. World Histories. 3 Semester Hours.

This course examines the rationales and methodologies for studying history on global and regional scales. Becoming familiar with these approaches will enable students to not only conduct comparative analyses of historical developments across the globe but also interpret their interconnectedness. This course presupposes a basic knowledge of world history.

HS 8301. Internship in Public History. 3 Semester Hours.

The internship course will typically be offered in the Fall semester, but students have the option of completing the internship component of the course in the summer, and completing the capstone components during the fall. Students will complete a minimum of 120 hours of work in a public history setting. Students will report both to the faculty internship coordinator and to a site supervisor. Students can combine their capstone project with their internship with internship coordinator approval. Prerequisite: HS 6301 and HS 7301.

HS 8311. Latin American Cultural History. 3 Semester Hours.

A readings seminar that considers Latin American History from the perspective of philosophy, intellectual currents, religion, literature, and the arts. In considering some or all of the above fields of study, the question of central concern will be what constitutes a Latin American identity or world view. What is unique about the Latin American experience?.

HS 8325. Topics in the History of Mexico. 3 Semester Hours.

A reading and research seminar focusing on Mexico from the arrival the Spanish to the present. Topics may include the Conquest, the establishment of New Spain, the Independence Movement, national development in the nineteenth century, the Revolution of 1910, the rise of nationalism, emergence of the social welfare state in the twentieth century, one-party rule, and industrialization. Of particular emphasis will be the forces that brought change in Mexican society during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

HS 8340. History of the United States-Latin American Relations. 3 Semester Hours.

A readings and research seminar that traces the relationships between Latin America and the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course examines historical developments that have helped define the political, economic, and cultural interactions between the two regions, beginning with United States western expansionism during the first half of the nineteenth century and concluding with relations in the 1990s.

HS 8350. Topics of Social History in Latin America (same as IR 8350). 3 Semester Hours.