The phrase "public history" refers tothe pursuit of historical understanding and interpretation
in the public realm. Public historians work in a wide rangeof professional settings
with public audiences of all ages. Places of employment for public historians include
archives, museums, historic preservation organizations, historic sites, private cultural
resource consulting firms, and historical agencies at all levels of government.
MTSU was among the first American universities to embrace the study of public history when it initiated the Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Historic Preservation in 1976. As the study of public history became established in graduate education nationwide, the Department of History expanded the program to include Museum Studies, Cultural Resources Management, and Archival Management and Administration. As a result of these changes, the Tennessee Board of Regents changed the official title of the degree in 1991 to a M.A. in History with an emphasis in Public History. Recognizing that only a handful of universities offer doctoral training in the field, MTSU initiated the Ph.D. in Public History in 2005 - the first doctoral program to declare public history as the major field of study.
The Public History Program at MTSU is grounded in the discipline of history. Students receive an education that carefully balances academic historical methods and scholarship, the intellectual foundations and nature of public history, and professional development in at least one of the four concentrations. Our goal is to graduate students who are grounded in the basic research, writing, and analytical skills of the discipline; who identify with the professional aims of public history; and who are prepared for life-long learning in professional practice.