So you dig public history.  What courses should you take?

The Department of History offers a number of courses directly related to this field, including:

  • HIST 491: Practicum in Public History
  • HIST 435: Public History
  • HIST 348: Introduction to Historical Archaeology
  • HIST 341: Oral History of the Long Civil Rights Movement
  • HIST 276: The Study of History Abroad

Most study abroad experiences (especially those led by CNU faculty) include visits to museums in other countries. Such trips are strongly encouraged.

Taking courses in the Luter School of Business is critical for public history students to fully understand the management and best practices of non-profit agencies.  The following are:

  • BUSN 340: Non-Profit as Business Enterprise
  • MKTG 210: Marketing, Society, and Public Policy
  • BUSN 480: Internship in Business

Additionally, students are encouraged to take the following courses which inform about various aspects of Public History:

  • ENGL 454: Writing for Civic Engagement: Public Relations and Grants
  • ENGL 462: Community Storytelling and Documentary Studies
  • GOVT 371: Public Administration and Policy (WI)

Finally, CNU students should be aware that plans are underway for an interdisciplinary Museum Studies Minor (with, for example, art experts teaching classes about art, and chemists teaching courses about preservation techniques for historic artifacts).  As this develops, additional information will be posted along with relevant link(s) to that program’s site. Contact us for updates.

Course Descriptions


HIST 491- Practicum in Public History
Prerequisite: Junior standing and consent of the department chair.
Fall, Spring or Summer.

An internship with a regional, federal, state, local or private historical agency in which the student achieves applied experience in the field of history. The student agrees to work 140 hours/semester during the course of the semester under the direction of an agency supervisor. The student’s duties will be defined by the agency supervisor, in agreement with the student and the course instructor. Up to three credit hours earned in this course may be applied toward elective credit within the history major.

HIST 435 – Public History
Prerequisite: HIST 121 OR 122, AND 390W.
Fall or Spring.

Public historians apply historical knowledge and methods in public and private settings outside of academia. This course will explore public history and its application in areas as diverse as museum studies and historical sites interpretation, local and community history (including historical societies), archival collection (including electronic data-basing), historic preservation and oral history. Students will examine both practical and theoretical issues of public history. This course will prepare students for the increasing employment opportunities available in the public and private sectors.

HIST 348 – Introduction to Historical Archaeology
Prerequisite: HIST 200 or ENGL 223.
Fall or Spring.

An introduction to the principles and practices of historical archaeology using sites dating from 17th- and 18th- century Virginia. This course is a combination of history and archaeology.

HIST 341 – Oral History of the Long Civil Rights Movement
Prerequisite: HIST 200 or ENGL 223.
Fall or Spring.

This course takes as its focus what historians have termed “The Long Civil Rights Movement,” or the historical struggle for black freedom that very much continues today. We will take a long view of the civil rights movement by extending it from the Reconstruction era until the present day. In doing so, the course will emphasize the struggle for black freedom in Hampton Roads and will situate that story within the broader national narrative. As a service learning course, students are required to spend 20 hours over the course of the semester working with a local community organization.

HIST 276 – The Study of History Abroad

This course provides an in-depth study-abroad experience designed for both history majors and non-history majors. Traveling to such regions as Asia, Latin America, and Europe (including France, Germany, and England), students will study different cultures and people by visiting important cities, key historical sites, and major museums. Required readings, lectures and writing assignments emphasize historical context in order to provide a richer understanding of the area(s) under study. Course trips will include such topics as “Egypt in the United Kingdom” and “Germany: Through Tragedy to Triumph.” As areas of study vary on a yearly basis, this course may be repeated once for credit.

BUSN 340 – Non-Profit as Business Enterprise
Prerequisite: junior standing.

A business boot camp for students of all majors who would like to learn management, legal and financial literacy best practices applicable to the not-for-profit sector. This course examines classic and innovative models of best practices in non-profit governance, regulation, law, ethics and social welfare by applying an entrepreneurial spirit to maximize results.

MKTG 210 – Marketing, Society, and Public Policy
Prerequisite: ENGL 223.
As needed.

As a modern business practice, marketing plays a significant role in shaping society’s perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. A marketer’s tools and techniques have the potential to affect both positive and negative change within our society and culture. This class examines the ways different marketing campaigns influence individuals and social institutions. Special emphasis is placed on discerning the underlying principles that guide informed public policy decisions. Topics include at-risk market segments, public health initiatives, consumer privacy, and eco-sustainability.

BUSN 480 – Internship in Business
Prerequisite: BSBA major with at least junior standing or permission of the Office of the Director:
As needed.

This is a hands-on course supervised by faculty. Local area organizations commit themselves to participate in a learning experience with the student. Presentations to faculty, outside organizations, and students are given at the end of the term. Applications are available in the Office of the Luter School of Business Director.

ENGL 454 – Writing for Civic Engagement: Public Relations and Grants
Prerequisite: ENGL 223

This course will help students analyze the communications, public relations, and grants needs of educational, social, political, arts, and faith-based organizations that work for the public good. Students will, through partnering with businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies, learn how to use writing a a vehicle for lasting social change. This course is recommended for students interested in public relations, fund raising and business, as well as the development of successful service-learning projects across the curriculum. Partially fulfills the Writing Intensive requirement.

ENGL 462 – Community Storytelling and Documentary Studies
Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor.

A survey and intensive study of documentary work in written narrative, in photography and/or in film. Focus is on understanding the documentation’s goals and craft. Course work may include tracing historical traditions, analyzing current trends or developing creative projects.

GOVT 371 – Public Administration and Policy (WI)
Prerequisite: ENGL 223

An introduction to management in public, non-profit, and international career fields. The course concentrates upon examining resources for creating successful, high performance organizations. Primary topics of study include the role of politics in public administration, structural and human resources available for creating efficient and effective programs, communication styles and strategies, and budgeting and evaluation techniques and strategies. Partially satisfies Writing Intensive requirement.