Why American?

Three Public History students stand in front of the Humanities Truck

At American University, students study the best practices of public history both inside and outside the classroom. As part of the MA in Public History, or as an outside field for the PhD, students learn to work collaboratively, Engaging the Community as they pursue meaningful historical research and projects alongside our faculty and community partners. Read more below about what makes American’s program unique.

Work Experience

American University's public history program is designed to give students vital hands-on experience in the field. Through internships and classroom-based practicum projects, students learn to collaborate with local communities, public institutions, and each other. Learning through practice, students develop versatile skill sets and outstanding resumes. Take a look at a few of the projects completed by our students.

Distinguished Partners

AU's program affords students opportunities to work alongside professionals at the nation's premier federal and non-profit institutions, from the National Park Service to the Smithsonian. In addition to forging lasting bonds with the program's faculty and with each other, students develop professional relationships that extend beyond the mere application of coursework and theory. See a list of our many partners.

Faculty Support

The Department of History at American University has a deep commitment to public service and to mentoring its graduate students. Students learn from experienced scholars whose work encompasses the academy and the public. With the close support and guidance of faculty, students acquire the tools necessary to succeed in a dynamic field. Meet our faculty.

Intuitive Curriculum

The flexibility of AU's public history program encourages students to follow their passions. With the help of faculty mentors, students have the freedom to develop a unique set of skills and expertise, pursuing internships and classwork in the fields of their choice. Meet some of the program's alumni and learn about their experiences at AU.

Public History Practicum students hold a Humanities Truck event in Shepherd Park

Training in Research and Analysis

In addition to understanding the best practices in public history, students cultivate a deep knowledge of their chosen historical field, learning how professional historians conduct scholarly analysis. Students complete AU's program with a record of original research and command of historiographical literature.


The public history program at AU works to foster asense of community and collegiality among its graduate students, faculty, alumni and program partners. Both inside and outside the classroom, students develop friendships that provide support and a lasting professional network beyond their time in the program. Browse through some of our student photos and recollections and connect with the community on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


The opportunities available at AU through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area offers students the opportunity to pursue coursework at a number of nearby universities. Along with their required courses here at AU, students can choose to take elective courses or courses that count towards other requirements. Learn about the consortium system and its requirements.

Girlhood (It's complicated)

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Amplifies Role of Girls in History During 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

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Three women in 1950s housedresses: blue, red, green.

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