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Public History Studies

students compare notes outside a historic house

San Marcos offers a rich locale for public history practice with more than 50 history museums, archives, preservation organizations, and historic sites within a 100-mile radius, including The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, the San Antonio Missions, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and the Texas State Library and Archives.

The program provides practicing public historians and history educators with the opportunity to advance their skills and knowledge.

This certificate program requires 15 hours to complete.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Peter Dedek
Taylor-Murphy History (TMH), Room 206

“In my work as an education outreach specialist, the certificate program has influenced the ways I develop resources for a larger audience. It increased my awareness of the importance of community and a greater appreciation that all voices matter.”

—Buck Cole, Certificate Recipient ’12, Texas General Land Office

Course Work

Students are required to complete 15 hours of public history courses including the foundation course of the public history program. Students must complete 12 hours in other public history courses, choosing from course topics such as oral history, cultural resource management, museum studies, historic preservation practice, archival management, and local and community history. The certificate culminates with a presentation of a final portfolio of work. Public history courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working professionals.

Courtyard inside Taylor-Murphy Hall

Students gain practical skills and knowledge through Center for Texas Public History projects while partnerships and interdisciplinary cooperative agreements provide additional resources that enhance each student’s experience.

Program Mission

The mission of the History Department is to shape exceptional scholars and broaden historical horizons by offering a rigorous program for students who are passionate about history and furthering their education. Small classes and close mentoring with top research faculty mean a personalized graduate experience and access to a close-knit community of scholars. Hands-on learning immerses students in historiographical debates, tightens analytical and writing skills, and develops research abilities. The department is committed to the highest levels of academic excellence and to providing top-quality mentoring and training for its students.

Visit program website ›

Related Program

Program Faculty

The History Department boasts an impressive faculty known for their varied research projects and professional expertise. The curriculum takes full advantage of established scholars and practicing professionals in the fields of historic preservation, oral history, local and community history, historic site interpretation, cultural resource management, and museum and archival management. Faculty present their research at national and international conferences and publish books, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles in top venues in their field.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Individuals who may benefit from professional training in the field include:

  • volunteer historians and preservationists, particularly members of historical societies and directors and docents at museums
  • public officials, including historical commission members and urban planners
  • educators, including elementary, middle school, and high school teachers
  • administrators who want to learn how to employ public history in their teaching and curriculum development

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I No Admission No Admission
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $20 nonrefundable application fee
  • $60 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.5 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in all completed graduate course work (if applicable)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • brief statement of speaking and reading foreign language competencies
  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose
  • two letters of recommendation

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.