Public History

The Public History program provides students with an M.A. degree in history with a public history specialization. The Public History track within the UWF Department of History trains students in the various aspects of public, or applied, history. Public history is basically the study of history outside the academic setting.

Program Description

Students learn about the numerous ways in which public historians think and operate as professionals. Beginning with an introductory seminar, students then develop both traditional and public history skills and techniques. Students work in two or more areas of public history specialization including community history, museology and museum studies, policy history, environmental history and/or media history. Coursework is offered through both the history department and through other university departments and programs. Additionally, the program provides both the students and the university with an invaluable association with various government agencies, businesses, museums, historical organizations and individuals in and around the Pensacola area. To facilitate the learning of various skills and research techniques, students participate in a six-credit internship with an appropriate agency or organization. As an additional non-thesis option, students complete and defend an extensive report on their internship experience. The combination of traditional and applied skills with the practical application of public history in the field provides students with the resources to secure employment following graduation.

Established in 1976 as a specific form of historical education and practice, public history programs are relatively new in nature. Although more than 50 programs currently exist in the United States, there are no other public history programs in the Florida Panhandle or surrounding states. In framing this program, the areas of concentration represent the strengths of the Department of History and university faculty, as well as the abundant variety of resources and operations in the region. Because of the skills of the faculty and the opportunities in the area, the University of West Florida has quickly become the cornerstone of public history training for students throughout the region and the nation.

Areas of Specialization

Community History Specialization emphasizes community, oral, local, and regional history including cultural and social history of ethnic, agricultural, federal, and military communities. Electives provided by courses offered within the department.

Museology and Museum Studies Specialization emphasizes Museology including exhibit conception, interpretation, design and construction, museum administration, working with missions, budgets, collections, and boards. Electives provided by courses offered within the department and with the departments of Art History. Policy History Specialization emphasizes policy history including question framing, material assessment, applying models, working with contracts and deadlines, and identifying/adapting multi-disciplinary perspectives. Electives provided by courses offered within the department and with the department of Public Administration and Management.

Environmental History Specialization emphasizes environmental history including preparing evaluating environmental impact studies, conducting property ownership/use searches, addressing regional environmental issues, and working with environmental agencies and organizations. Electives provided by courses offered within the department and with the departments of Environmental Studies and Public Administration.

Film and Media History Specialization emphasizes media history and interpretation including work and interaction within the film, television, and radio industries. Courses offered in conjunction with the departments of Journalism and Communications as well as with WUWF Campus Radio and Pensacola Junior College PBS Television.

Articulation with Other Departments/Colleges

In establishing this Public History track at the M.A. level, the Department of History has articulated with many departments on campus, gaining support for the program and identifying courses that are appropriate for public history students to take. We have identified courses in Art History, Public Administration, Archaeology, Communication Arts, Business and Environmental Studies

Related Pages

Catalog Description and Requirements

History-ALP (Academic Learning Plan)

Program Contact

For more information, please contact the program director Dr. Patrick Moore at or Mrs. Gabi Grosse at