Certificate in Public History

Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History

York undergraduate students may earn a Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History concurrent with fulfillment of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree. The Cross-Disciplinary Certificate provides students with an introduction to the theory, methods, and practice of work in historical, heritage, and cultural institutions, and a critical understanding of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for public audiences.

The Certificate in Public History was launched in 2018 as a collaborative initiative between the Department of History in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Glendon College,  and the Department of Visual Art and Art History in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design.

What is Public History?

Public (or “Applied”) History describes the theory, methodologies, and practices of professional historians who work outside academic institutions in various agencies and organizations devoted to historical research, preservation, and educational programming, including museums, historic sites, archives, galleries, government and non-government organizations, and online venues. It also encompasses the ways that history is produced for and understood by public audiences in a wide range of venues including public school classrooms, television documentaries, popular history writing and family history albums. It is sustained by a large North American organization known as the National Council on Public History.

 

Admission Requirements

The Certificate is open to all students in good standing who have been admitted to an undergraduate program at York University. The Certificate program is intended for senior undergraduates. Students beginning this certificate must have completed 54 credits or the equivalent of university education. Students may apply for admission at the end of their second year (after completing 54 credits) or in their third or fourth years, incorporating completed credits in eligible courses.

Certificate Requirements

To qualify for the Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History, students must complete 24 credits from a list of approved courses as listed below.

Nine of those credits are mandatory.

They include:

Three credits from one of the following two courses:

  • FA/ARTH 3610 3.0 Art Institutions/Art Networks: Introduction to Museums, Galleries and Visual Art Organizations

OR

  • FA/ARTH 3611 3.0 Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display

Six credits from one of the following two capstone courses in Public History. Both courses include a 12-week mandatory placement in a historical, cultural or heritage institution during the Winter term:

  • AP/HIST 4840 6.00 Public History

OR

  • GL/HIST 4310 6.0 Histoire Vivante: créer l’histoire du Grand Toronto

Students choose from a wide variety of placement projects at museums, archives, galleries, and historical organizations across the Greater Toronto Area. Each student will complete a total of 120 hours (10 hours/week for 12 weeks) at their placement site, helping to produce a public history product such as a walking tour, small case exhibition, documentary video, audio tour, or research report. Placement hours are usually flexible to accommodate student schedules.

The remaining fifteen credits must be chosen from a list of designated courses.

 

Graduating with a Certificate

Except where otherwise stated, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 5.00 is required to satisfy certificate requirements. Students must also submit an application to graduate from a certificate program. Applications should be obtained from and filed with the unit administering the certificate program (LA&PS History, Glendon History, or AMPD Visual Art/Art History). Transcript notation that the requirements for a certificate have been completed will be made once the Registrar’s Office has received notice from the unit administering the program. Certificates will not be conferred until candidates have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program if they are simultaneously enrolled in a degree and a certificate program. A certificate cannot be obtained retroactively.

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Public History?

Students who complete the cross-disciplinary Certificate in Public History will gain a critical understanding of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for larger, non-academic audiences. Through the required 12-week placement, they will develop skills suitable for employment in public-history and related settings.

The Certificate will also serve as a useful stepping-stone for students considering graduate work in Public History, Museum Studies, Arts and Cultural Management, and Library, Archives, and Information Studies.

How to Apply

To apply, complete the application form and required letter of application. Applicants must receive confirmation of acceptance in the Certificate before they can enroll.

For additional information, contact Professor Jennifer Bonnell at bonnellj@yorku.ca or the Department of History, York University, 416-736-5123, lapshist@yorku.ca.