MA students in Temple's public history track choose from a variety of advanced graduate courses in American history accompanied by specialized public history courses including Managing History, The Historian & Society, and Studies in American Material Culture. All students are encouraged to acquire real-world experience through a host of internships available throughout the Philadelphia area. Students seeking to become archive professionals may take a three course sequence, including a supervised practicum, which culminates in archival certification.
Historical Knowledge and Method (9 semester hours)
Introduction to the U.S. (8101) Introduction to study of American history at the graduate level. Examines major interpretations and schools of thought. Political, social, and diplomatic history including republicanism, the Jacksonian revolution, slavery, social mobility in the U.S., the rise of America as a world power, the cold war, and the development of labor.
Historical Methods (8714) This seminar is an introduction to the practice of professional history and to historical methodologies. One of the main purposes of the seminar is to familiarize its participants with the methodological and historiographical evolution of professional history. How has the approach of historians to their craft changed in the last century? What assumptions informed the decisions they have made about how to study the past? In short, we study methodology because it is a way of approaching the questions that are central to historical scholarship: How do we know what has happened? How do we decide what matters? How do we best study the past? Whose version of history is authoritative.
Research and Writing Seminar in American History (9200, 9201, 9203, 9204, 9205, 9206, or 9209) Students engage in original research in a selected field and prepare an article-length paper; students also explore various research techniques and gain experience in writing and editing for publication.
Public History Themes and Issues (6 semester hours)
Managing History (8152) This course explores the practical considerations and theoretical issues concerning the management/ownership of the interpretation, preservation, and presentation of history for public consumption. Emphasis is placed on public management policies and methods of private ownership of critical historical issues, including, but not limited to, museum exhibits, historical preservation policies and practices, governance of historical societies and museums, publication practices, historical documentaries (aural and visual), and other elements related to the dissemination of historical interpretations, common historical knowledge, and public memory. This course asks: Who manages American history and American memory? Who Owns History? Who is empowered to tell the story and how did they gain that power? What role does the historian play in the formulation and preservation of public memory?
Public History Elective In addition to “Managing History,” all concentrators must complete a second Public History course offered by the History Department such as but not limited to “Studies in American Material Culture” (8151).
Primary Field (6 semester hours and 3 internship hours)
All concentrators, in consultation with the Public History coordinator, must design a three-course sequence leading to mastery of a particular Public History skill, method, or issue relevant to the student's particular career path. Primary fields may focus on any number of topics, including but not limited to, historic site management, digital history and new media, and urban planning. The sequence must include 3 hours of study while engaged in an internship with a local Public Historical site or organization. Internship credit will be awarded through enrollment in “The Historian and Society” (8713). Students are encouraged to seek out relevant course opportunities among a variety of Temple University departments and programs toward creating an interdisciplinary experience.
The History Department currently offers one very successful course sequence in Archival Knowledge (coordinated and taught by Martin Levitt at and in conjunction with the American Philosophical Society) that satisfies the primary field requirement and can serve as a model for developing additional fields:
Archives and Manuscripts (8153) An introduction to the theoretical and applied aspects of historical records management. Taught in cooperation with local archives and historical societies.
Research in Archives and Manuscripts (9153) Second course of Archives sequence. Students, individually directed by the instructor, will undertake an in-depth research project. Investigations will concern some aspect of an operation or administration of archival institutions, or the care and preservation of records of historical significance.
Practicum in Archives and Manuscripts (9187) Students who have taken History 8153 work for 12 hours per week at a local public or institutional archive or historical society which meets their own particular interest. Basic work in the standard professional archival operations with specific projects agreed upon between the student, the instructor, and the repository.
Thesis Research and Writing (2 semester hours)
Master's Thesis (9996) A course for students who are working on their master theses.