Admission to the Public History program is administered through the History department's graduate program, and with the same requirements as a "regular" M.A.: 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.
There are three 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. 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 in the application. 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.
If you wish to complete a research-based cognate paper in the fall term following the summer internship, please also submit a Research Statement including your research questions, potential primary sources, relevant historiography, a brief bibliography, and the name of the potential cognate supervisor.
The program 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 recommend you visit the program, talk to other faculty, and meet current students; to do so, please contact Prof. Michelle Hamilton, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Prof. Mike Dove, Director 2018/2019, at email@example.com, to make an appointment.
Former president of the National Council on Public History Robert Weyeneth has written a four part thoughtful piece on factors to consider when applying to public history programs and entering the field. NCPH's new PHNavigator: How to Choose and Thrive in a Public History Program also contains useful advice. For ideas on how experience in the field can help you apply to graduate programs, see this NCPH blog post by Trevor Jones, Director of Museum Collections and Exhibitions at the Kentucky Historical Society.