Admission to the Public History field is administered through the History department's graduate program, and with the same requirements as a "regular" MA: normally, a four year Honours BA with a concentration in History and a minimum B+ average in the last two years of undergraduate courses. Competitive applicants will have considerable work at the fourth year level or an undergraduate thesis which includes significant use of primary and/or archival sources.

There are four differences in applying to Public History compared to the regular stream. Your application's Statement of Intent should explain your academic and professional public history interests, what you hope to get out of the degree, your career aspirations, and why Western's program will help you achieve them. We are also interested in hearing about your research experience to demonstrate competence using primary and/or archival sources. Many of our successful applicants have had prior public history experience in museums, libraries, archives, or national parks, or completed coursework or projects in public history.  Please tell us about such experience by submitting a 2-3 page resume. We are also interested in leadership experiences that might be outside of history. A third letter from a Public History employer is strongly encouraged, however, you must provide two letters from academic references. If possible, letters from instructors of smaller, senior level history courses are advised. We also ask for a writing sample which, if possible, should be from a fourth year history class.

If you wish to complete a research-based cognate paper in the fall term following the summer internship, please also submit an additional Research Statement including your research questions, potential primary sources, relevant historiography,  a brief bibliography, and the name of the potential cognate supervisor.

The field is capped at 12 students a year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Director before submitting their application in order to make applications as competitive as possible.

We highly recommend you visit the department, talk to other faculty, and meet current students and alumni; to do so, please contact Prof. Mike Dove, Director, at, to make an appointment. We also have an open house every year. Please contact Kara Brown at for upcoming open houses.

Application Resources

The National Council on Public History's PHNavigator: How to Choose and Thrive in a Public History Program contains useful advice on how to choose a graduate program. For ideas on how experience in the field can strengthen your application, see this NCPH blog post by Trevor Jones, Director of Museum Collections and Exhibitions at the Kentucky Historical Society. For advice on the Statement of Intent, see this NCPH post.