Feb 25, 2021  
2009-2010 Downtown Campus Catalog 
2009-2010 Downtown Campus Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public History, MA in History

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The MA program in history offers graduate-level major and minor fields in public history. Public history is a field of study that applies historical methods to the public sphere. This graduate major does not require a concentration, but students can choose to concentrate in museum studies or historic preservation. Public history majors can minor in any subspecialty the department currently offers. Students majoring in U.S., European or global history can also minor in public history.

Admission Requirements—See History MA 

Degree Requirements

Required Introductory Course: 3 Hours

Major Courses: 18 Hours

Minor Electives: 12 Hours

Electives are made up of courses in the minor field, including readings courses, which address specific field historiographies, or research seminars.

Open Elective: 3 Hours

Students may use the open elective to explore a course outside their major or minor or to do extra course work in one of their fields.

Total: 36 Hours



Candidates may register for up to 6 hours of internships or independent study, only one of which may be at the 6000-level. Only in exceptional circumstances will students be allowed to satisfy the research seminar requirement via independent study. Any independent study at the 6000-level needs the permission of the graduate advisor. Students interested in pursuing an independent study must find a faculty member willing to oversee their work, and they should expect the workload for an independent study to equal or exceed that required for other courses at the same level. 


All history MA candidates must pass a comprehensive examination in the major and minor fields after the completion of course work and before embarking on a thesis, curriculum project or public history project.  The comprehensive exam evaluates students’ knowledge of their course work and their reading lists for their major, minor and concentration. In answering their exam questions, students are expected to construct arguments and to show mastery of the historiographies, narratives and historical content in their fields. The comprehensive exam is administered and evaluated by a committee of the major advisor, the minor advisor and an outside reader from the history faculty.


Master’s Degree Extended Research Options

The MA program in history offers a set of courses in which students can develop extended research interests. Students must select an advisor and develop a proposal for a specific research agenda in the semester before beginning work on a project.

Students majoring in public history must complete either a thesis (6 semester hours) or a project (3 semester hours).
Students who undertake their master’s program when they are already teachers can choose to construct curriculum projects relevant to their teaching practice. See the separate section below on “Opportunities for Teachers and Teachers-in-Training.”

Thesis Requirements

Students writing theses are expected to develop an original research agenda resulting in an extended paper. Students work with their major field advisor, who will help guide them through the process of research and writing.  Students are expected to take no less than two semesters (enrolled in HIST 6950) to complete their theses. Before registering for HIST 6950, students must have a thesis proposal and initial bibliography approved by their advisor. The first semester of the thesis course is organized as a seminar in which students meet regularly with a department member and other thesis writers.

A thesis is evaluated by a committee of three, including the major advisor and two other faculty members chosen by the student in consultation with the major advisor. Upon completion of the thesis, the student meets with the committee members, who ask questions about the research and conclusions which the student must defend.  In many instances, the committee will require further revisions, sometimes major in scope, before the thesis is accepted and cleared for submission to the Graduate School in fulfillment of degree requirements.

Project Requirements

In lieu of a thesis, public history majors may choose to enroll in one semester of HIST 6952 to complete a public history project. Projects, which are usually conducted in collaboration with a public history organization, can entail creating an exhibit, organizing a museum or archival collection, conducting a preservation survey, or similar activities. Students are required to prepare a paper describing the process and results of their project.


Opportunities for Teachers and Teachers-in-Training

Curriculum Projects

Licensed teachers enrolled in the history graduate program may choose to complete a curriculum development project. Students arrange curriculum development  projects with a sponsoring faculty member. Generally, students are expected to develop and submit a complete course curriculum plan for each 3-semester-hour project. Projects need to show evidence of familiarity with the relevant historiographies and primary sources. Students may apply the credits from HIST 6951 to either the major field or the minor field, depending on the project subjects.  Curriculum plans must meet minimum criteria established by the history department in the document “Advanced History Curriculum Development Projects” section.

Secondary Teacher Licensure

Students interested in becoming secondary history and social studies teachers may choose to earn both the MA in history and secondary teacher licensure. For detailed information, see the following URL:  http://thunder1.cudenver.edu/clas/history/maPlanV.html

We strongly encourage students to complete the School of Education & Human Development’s initial professional teacher education (IPTE) program before enrolling in the history MA program; the history graduate program and the IPTE program require separate admission. Students complete 36 semester hours in history and 37 semester hours in the IPTE program . For the history degree, students take 18 semester hours in their major field, 12 semester hours in their minor field and 6 semester hours in curriculum and methods course work, which apply both to the IPTE program and the MA in history:

Certificate in Historic Preservation

The history department also offers a certificate in historic preservation  in conjunction with the College of Architecture and Planning. History students pursuing the certificate should consult the Web page for this program as well as their history advisor to determine appropriate course work.


History MA 


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