Certificate in Public History

Certificate in Public History

Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History

 York undergraduate students may earn a Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History concurrent with fulfillment of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree. The Cross-Disciplinary Certificate provides students with an introduction to the theory, methods, and practice of work in historical, heritage, and cultural institutions, and a critical understanding of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for public audiences.

The Certificate in Public History was launched in 2018 as a collaborative initiative between the Department of History in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Glendon College,  and the Department of Visual Art and Art History in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design.

What is Public History?

Public (or “Applied”) History describes the theory, methodologies, and practices of professional historians who work outside academic institutions in various agencies and organizations devoted to historical research, preservation, and educational programming, including museums, historic sites, archives, galleries, government and non-government organizations, and online venues. It also encompasses the ways that history is produced for and understood by public audiences in a wide range of venues including public school classrooms, television documentaries, popular history writing and family history albums. It is sustained by a large North American organization known as the National Council on Public History.

Admission Requirements

The Certificate is open to all students in good standing who have been admitted to an undergraduate program at York University. The Certificate program is intended for senior undergraduates. Students beginning this certificate must have completed 54 credits or the equivalent of university education. Students may apply for admission at the end of their second year (after completing 54 credits) or in their third or fourth years, incorporating completed credits in eligible courses.

Certificate Requirements

To qualify for the Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History, students must complete 24 credits from a list of approved courses as listed below.

Nine of those credits are mandatory.

They include:

Three credits from one of the following two courses:

  • FA/ARTH 3610 3.0 Art Institutions/Art Networks: Introduction to Museums, Galleries    and Visual Art Organizations


  • FA/ARTH 3611 3.0 Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display

Six credits from one of the following two capstone courses in Public History. Both courses include a 12-week mandatory placement in a historical, cultural or heritage institution during the Winter term:

  • AP/HIST 4840 6.00 Public History


  • GL/HIST 4310 6.0 Histoire Vivante: créer l’histoire du Grand Toronto

Students choose from a wide variety of placement projects at museums, archives, galleries, and historical organizations across the Greater Toronto Area. Each student will complete a total of 120 hours (10 hours/week for 12 weeks) at their placement site, helping to produce a public history product such as a walking tour, small case exhibition, documentary video, audio tour, or research report. Placement hours are usually flexible to accommodate student schedules.

The remaining fifteen credits must be chosen from a list of designated courses.

Designated Courses Eligible for the Certificate in Public History

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Courses in the Department of History, LAPS

AP/HIST 1040 6.0 The Presence of the Past: Commemoration, Memorials, and Popular Uses of History
AP/HIST 2150 6.0 Classical Greek and Roman Archaeology: An Introduction
AP/HIST 3356 3.0 Greeks in the World. Greek Migration and Diaspora in the 20th century
AP/HIST 3392 3.0 The Spanish Civil War
AP/HIST 3535 6.0 African Canadian History
AP/HIST 3546 6.0 History of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
AP/HIST 3622 3.0 The US Civil War in American History and Public Memory
AP/HIST 3874 3.0 Food in the Americas
AP/HIST 4850 6.0 History of Me: The Genealogy Workshop
AP/HIST 4470 6.0 War, Sex and Drink: Modern Britain in the Archives
AP/HIST 4082 6.0 Re-framing the Past: Films as History
AP/HIST 4085 6.0 Digital History
AP/HIST 4530 6.0 Development of Toronto
AP/HIST 4581 6.0 Worry and Wonder: Jewish Politics, Society and Religion in Canada.
AP/HIST 4800 6.0 The Science of Society: Social Thought in North America, 1890-1940.
AP/HIST 4840 6.0 Public History (AP/HIST 4840 6.00 or GL/HIST 4310 6.0 are mandatory)
AP/HIST 4850 6.0 History of Me: The Genealogy Seminar

Courses in Visual Art and Art History, AMPD

FA/ARTH 2800B/3800B (6.0) Rome: Open City / Roma: città aperta
FA/ARTH 3345 Visual Culture in Modern Asia
FA/ARTH 3400 3.0 Cabinets of Curiosities: Collecting, Display, Systems of Knowledge
FA/ARTH 3610 3.0 Art Institutions/Art Networks: Introduction to Museums, Galleries and Visual Art Organizations (FA/ARTH 3610 3.0 or FA/ARTH 3611 3.0  are mandatory)
FA/ARTH 3611 3.0  Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display
FA/ARTH 3650 Art in Crisis
FA/ARTH 3680 3.0 Jewish Museums, Identity, and Public Memory
FA/ARTH 3680N Art Politics and Society
FA/ARTH 3680E 1960s Art in the USA and Europe
FA/ARTH 3710 6.0 Memory and Place
FA/ARTH 4310 3.0 Art Criticism: Principles and Practice
FA/ARTH 4340 3.0 Monumentality and Community in Modern Asia
FA/ARTH 4400 3.0 The Sensorium
FA/ARTH 4610 3.0 Senses in Art
FA/ARTH 4631: Nazi-Art Crime, Theft, Recovery, and Restitution
FA/ARTH 4640A 3.0 Art, History, and the Archive
FA/ARTH 4720F 3.0 Canadian Architecture, 1800-1870
FA/ARTH 4720G 3.0 Canadian Architecture, 1870-1900
FA/ARTH 4800I 3.0 Art of the Arctic
FA/ARTH 4800J Photography in Contemporary Art

Courses in the Department of Humanities, LAPS

HUMA 4156 6.0/3.0 Culture in Objects: The Humanities and Material Culture

Courses in the Department of Social Science, LAPS

SOSC 3115M 3.0  Special Topics in Health & Society: Mental Health Practice

Courses in the Department of History, Glendon College

GL/HIST 3242 3.0 (EN) Memory and public history
GL/HIST 3242 3.0 (FR) Mémoire et histoire publique
GL/HIST 3425 6.0 (EN) Food: A Social and Cultural Journey
GL/HIST/HUMA 3601 3.0 (FR) Cinéma et photographie en histoire du 20e siècle
GL/HIST 3700 3.0 (EN) World War I
GL/HIST 4310 6.0 (FR): Histoire vivante (AP/HIST 4840 6.00 or GL/HIST 4310 6.0 are mandatory)

Courses in the Drama Studies Programme, Glendon College

GL/DRST 3210 3.0 (EN) Theatre Performance Outdoor
GL/DRST 3633 3.0 (EN) Indigenous Drama and Theatre

Courses in the Department of Hispanic Studies, Glendon College

GL/SP 4701 3.0 (SP) Hispanic Cultural Heritage and its Interactions in the GTA

Graduating with a Certificate

Except where otherwise stated, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 5.00 is required to satisfy certificate requirements. Student must also submit an application to graduate from a certificate program. Applications should be obtained from and filed with the unit administering the certificate program (LA&PS History, Glendon History, or AMPD Visual Art/Art History)Transcript notation that the requirements for a certificate have been completed will be made once the Registrar’s Office has received notice from the unit administering the program. Certificates will not be conferred until candidates have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program if they are simultaneously enrolled in a degree and a certificate program. A certificate cannot be obtained retroactively.

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Public History?

Students who complete the cross-disciplinary Certificate in Public History will gain a critical understanding of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for larger, non-academic audiences. Through the required 12-week placement, they will develop skills suitable for employment in public-history and related settings.

The Certificate will also serve as a useful stepping-stone for students considering graduate work in Public History, Museum Studies, Arts and Cultural Management, and Library, Archives, and Information Studies.

Download the Checklist

Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History Checklist

How to Apply

To apply, complete the application form and required letter of application. Applicants must receive confirmation of acceptance in the Certificate before they can enroll.

How to Graduate

To Apply to Graduate with the Certificate please complete this form and submit to your Public History Coordinator as noted on the website.

For additional information, contact Professor Anna Hudson at ahudson@yorku.ca or the Department of Visual Art and Art History, York University,416-736-5187, vaah@yorku.ca.