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Public history is a vibrant and diverse career field that we encourage Cal State East Bay students to consider. We draw upon the National Council on Public History to help us define public history. According to this leading professional organization, "public history describes the many and diverse ways in which history is put to work in the world. In this sense, it is history that is applied to real-world issues."
Cal State East Bay History majors are especially primed to think about this field, given the abundant public history opportunities in the Bay Area and California, and our region's remarkable interest in local, national, and global histories. The marks of the past are everywhere around us in the Bay Area, and public historians help to preserve, interpret, and narrate the complex histories surrounding us and shaping our lives.
Public historians hold many different professional titles, including:
- historical consultants
- museum professionals
- government historians
- oral historians
- cultural resource managers
- film and media producers
- historical interpreters
- historic preservationists
- policy advisers
- local historians
- community activists
You can peruse currently advertised positions in the field of public history here.
The BA in History from Cal State East Bay is an excellent preparation for the public history career field, because we strive to embed many applied history activities into our curriculum, and directly into many of our 4-unit classes especially. Our major degree has an applied history class requirement.
We also offer the Certificate in Public History, which provides a notation on your transcripts, indicating specialized preparation for this career field. This notation and experience will be valuable in advanced degree, job, and internship applications.
The certificate requires 22 units of coursework, from the following areas:
Public History Core (19 units):
- HIST 201 - Introduction to History Units: 4
- HIST 402 - Introduction to Public History Units: 4
- HIST 403 - Introduction to Digital Historical Methods Units: 4
- HIST 410 - Internship in History Units: 3
- HIST 471 - History of the East Bay: Community Research and Engagement Units: 3 ; Breadth Area: GE-UD-D
Practical Skills Applications Course (3 units):
Other courses may fulfill this "practical application" requirement with permission of an advisor in the History Department.
- ART 101 - Photography I Units: 3 ; Breadth Area: GE-C1
- ART 102 - 2D Processes Units: 3 ; Breadth Area: GE-C1
- ART 103 - 3D Processes Units: 3 ; Breadth Area: GE-C1
- ART 152 - Web Design I: Foundations Units: 3
- COMM 260 - Documentary Film Studies Units: 3 ; Breadth Area: GE-C2
- COMM 335 - Visual and Multimedia Storytelling I Units: 2
- COMM 369 - Documentary History and Theory Abroad Units: 4 ; Breadth Area: GE-UD-C
- ENVT 320 - Environmental Resource Analysis Units: 4
- GEOL 460 - Geographic Information Systems for Earth and Environmental Sciences Units: 4
Please speak with your regular History Department advisor about completing the Public History Certificate.
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