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Bachelor of Arts

Public History

On Campus

COMMUNICATING THE PAST TO SHAPE A BETTER FUTURE

With a passion for the past and a need to share history for the future, Tiffin University’s public history program goes far beyond the walls of a history classroom. Public history focuses on insight of historical events and the best ways to communicate history to the masses. Our classes focus on research, critique and various means of communication – through the written word, filmmaking and design – to ensure future generations will understand, value and learn from our history’s past.

The B.A. in Public History is an applied history program. The degree is unique in that it not only provides a depth of historical knowledge and skill sets in research, historical interpretation, exhibit production and archival management, but it also grounds you in digital technologies, as these skills are increasingly necessary in the delivery of historical stories.

The program focuses on cultural understanding in order to guide students in leading communities in historic heritage discussions, to determine what is important and worthy of conservation from a cultural perspective. To this end, our students engage in public history sites throughout Ohio in order to learn how to present the tangible artifacts and intangible attributes to characterize and identify the distinctiveness of a society, community or event. Tiffin University is centralized to many historical sites, and trips to these sites add invaluable learning experiences for our students.

As a graduate of our program, you’ll be able to pursue a broad variety of professional positions. Equipped with extensive skills in critical thinking, writing and research, along with digital media skills, you’ll be prepared to work in various applied history professions, including historical consultant, museum professional, government historian, archivist, oral historian, cultural resource manager, curator, film and media producer, historical interpreter, historic preservationist, policy adviser, local historian and community historical activist. Once you complete our curriculum, you’ll also have the opportunity to apply to a graduate history program.

Professional Public History Training

  • If you like to read, research and write, you will do well as a professional in public history.
  • In our program, you’ll learn history, but you’ll also learn to apply history through digital technology skills, such as maintaining photographic and video artifacts.
  • You’ll learn skills in photography, videography, writing and communication.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to work with local museums to gain experience in the field.

Program faculty work with local museums and historical organizations, such as the Seneca County Civil War Museum, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and others. These relationships make possible the opportunity for you to do original research as well as to engage in helping these organizations to structure more engaging and meaningful learning experiences for their public.

Throughout your program, both inside and outside the classroom, you’ll have the opportunity to develop essential skills for working in public history, such as:

  • Historical knowledge
  • Cultural and historical understanding of human behavior
  • Digital media
  • Public programming and interpretation
  • Tangible and digital archiving organization
  • Research
  • Project management
  • Storytelling
  • Oral and written communication
  • Analytical thinking
  • Critical reading
  • Critical thinking

The B.A. in Public History program is a hands-on program in which you’ll actively engage in the study of public history. Throughout all public history courses, you’ll use digital photography and videography design skills to present historical events. You’ll work with projects in these classes to create new and innovative ways of relating history to people in the general public.

You’ll have access to TU’s Digital Media Lab where you’ll apply the latest technologies to support your digital historical projects. In the Lab, you’ll work with state-of-the-art software for digital archiving and digital storytelling.

You’ll engage in original historical research through assessing and analyzing original documents and completing interviews. As historical events occur, professors engage students in current, original research, such as our recent Oral History Project focusing on communities’ attitudes toward the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.

Finally, you’ll participate in a 150-hour required internship, working with museums, historical sites or governmental agencies.

Bringing Knowledge to Practice

In the highly experiential public history program, you’ll learn by doing, as you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Engage in classroom projects, utilizing the latest digital technologies.
  • Produce classroom exhibits focused on historical interpretation.
  • Create a multimodal project on an aspect of history that can be presented to the public.
  • Complete research projects using primary and secondary source material, scholarly journals, oral histories, artifacts and photographs.
  • Work in groups to prepare and deliver oral presentations of your joint research.
  • Visit a variety of museums and historical sites.
  • Engage in volunteer hours in museums and historical sites.
  • Gain cultural perspectives working with a diverse student body and diverse public.
  • Complete digital and other public history projects, which can then be placed into your ePortfolio.
CURRICULUM
HUMANITIES CORE
  • ENG152 Technical Writing – 3 hours
  • DMD134 Introduction to Digital Media – 3 hours
  • COM324 Communicating Across Cultures – 3 hours
  • DMD230 Digital Video I – 3 hours
  • COM310 Human, Interpersonal and Small Group Communication – 3 hours
  • SAS470 Internship – 3 hours

Total18 hours 

PUBLIC HISTORY MAJOR
  • HIS122 Research and Writing for History – 3 hours
  • HIS114 Public History I – 3 hours
  • HIS231 Creating a Nation: The United States through the Civil War (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS242 The United States, 1865-1945: Consolidation, Industrialization and the Rise to Global Leadership (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS267 The Challenges of Global Leadership: The United States after 1945 (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS214 Public History II – 3 hours
  • HIS303 Civilizations Emerge and Develop (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS323 The Emerging West, Exploration, Colonization, and Commerce (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS314 Public History III – 3 hours
  • HIS410 The Inter-Connected World: Globalization In a Post-Colonial World (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS425 Historiography (w) – 3 hours
  • HIS475 Practicing Public History – 3 hours

Total36 hours

This is a sample course sequence to illustrate course offerings for this major. Consult the official Academic Bulletin for detailed registration and advising information.

SAMPLE COURSES

Research and Writing for History (HIS122) – This class is designed to develop the research and communication skills common to the history profession. Each student will complete a variety of research projects using primary and secondary source material, scholarly journals, oral histories, artifacts and photographs. The advantages and shortcomings of online research will be presented. Students will also learn how to work successfully in groups to prepare and deliver an oral presentation of their joint research. This is a writing intensive course.

Communicating Across Cultures (COM324) – Introduction to the study of cultural and intercultural theory and behavior, discussion of various culturally specific patterns of communication. This is a writing intensive course

Historiography (HIS425) – This capstone course investigates how the study of history has evolved, with a special emphasis placed on competing historical theories. Using samples of historical writing from representative historians over time, students will seek to understand the role of objectivity and the temptations of manipulating the past to influence the future. In addition, they will learn how technology has influenced the profession. Material studied will include European as well as American historical thought and practice. This is a writing intensive course.

Dawn of Humankind: Civilizations Emerge and Develop (HIS303) – This course explores the birth and diffusion of world civilizations from the dawn of recorded history to 1350 CE. First, the course will begin by examining the development of early civilizations and then will follow their developments into the classical age by exploring the Mediterranean societies of Greece and Rome, the Indian subcontinent, China, and the Persian Empire. Finally, the course will conclude with the establishment of post-classical empires and the expansion of world religions. Over time, technology and human enterprise led to regular encounters between distant societies. This course highlights the ways these interactions came to shape the modern world. This is a writing intensive course.

FORMAT

On Campus – Offered in a 15-week semester format with start dates in January and August

Graduates of the B.A. in Public History can pursue a broad variety of professional positions – not just in public history, but in professions ranging from media communication to teaching to community leadership. In 2016, the number of jobs in public history field totaled 31,000, but the job outlook in 2016-2026 is set to increase by 13%, or 4,200 jobs, which is faster than average.

CAREERS
  • Archivists
  • Community Historical Activists
  • Cultural Resource Managers
  • Curators
  • Film and Media Producers
  • Government Historians
  • Graduate School
  • Historical Consultants
  • Historical Interpreters
  • Historic Preservationists
  • Local Historians
  • Museum Professionals
  • Oral Historians
  • Policy Advisers

Program Requirements

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“There is always going to be a little doubt in any person’s mind when it comes to new things. But for me, I think proving people, who said I couldn’t do it, wrong is my biggest motivation. There’s really nothing that seems impossible to me anymore. The world is constantly changing and I feel like I am much more capable of adapting to those changes now compared to when I was walking on to TU’s campus for the first time.”

Alexandra Tozzie
Class of 2018
Louisville, Colorado
To truly stand out, we must not feel compelled to fit in.