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Public History MA, PGDip, PGCert

Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Arts / Culture / Heritage Administration History

Course type


Course Summary

Our Master's degree in Public History will prepare you for a career in the field of History and Public Heritage or for further study at doctoral level.

Why study Public History?

Most people's sense of the past comes from public history, through film and television, fiction, museums, heritage sites and memory work.

This course looks at the kinds of pasts that are produced in these popular forms. It examines how they are made and the ways in which they are consumed and understood.

As part of your study you'll be able to gain practical experience of working in a cultural heritage site, museum, gallery or archive.

The degree will help to prepare you for a career in public history related fields. It will also show you why the uses we make of the past are not just matters of academic interest.

Why St Mary's?

This is the only degree in the UK that is taught, in part, at The National Archives, which is a leading national and international site not just for archiving government documents, but also for engaging with the past in other ways. Students will also achieve exit awards PgDip and PgCert.

You will attend workshops at The National Archives, delivered by their highly experienced staff and drawing on their wealth of original materials.

Assessment methods

You will write essays, produce project work, critique different types of source material, and learn to create work using a variety of digital tools.

You will also design and deliver presentations about your work. In order to complete the MA, you will produce an extended, independent research project. This will either be a project based on your work placement or a text-based piece of academic research.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates from the course have found work in archives and the course is designed to help students find careers in fields such as heritage, education and the media. It will contribute to the professional development of people who are already employed in these sectors. It will also provide a critical and methodological platform for students who wish to progress to doctoral level research.

One of our MA Public History students, Catharine Williams, undertook a work placement at the National Archives and has recently published a blog about conscientious objectors in Twickenham in the First World War on their website.

Different course options

Full time | St Mary's University, Twickenham | 1 year | 14-SEP-20

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



This core module will examine the production and function of public histories, using case studies drawn from a range of local, national and transnational spaces. You will investigate the relationships between public history and topics such as memory, archives, identities, nostalgia, heritage, power, and nation-building. We will pay attention to the most popular forms of history produced by the wider public - family, local, military and house.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

To qualify for entry students should normally have a (2:2) second-class degree or relevant experience. The degree must be from a UK or overseas university, or the equivalent. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area will also be considered.