Ball State has provided me with a fulfilling present and a promising future. It is very empowering to see real results from my hard work, and I’m amazed how every semester provides something new and engaging to work on.

Gwyneth Harris
Public History and Anthropology Major
Read about her work to help pregnant women with opioid addiction.

Do you want to bring history to the public in meaningful ways such as in museums, archives, historical societies, historical markers, and nonprofit or governmental organizations? 

Do you enjoy learning about and sharing history through podcasting, blogging, and social media? 

Or perhaps you want to combine your history degree with another public-facing major such as Legal Studies, TCOM, Business, Theatre, Architecture, NREM, Geography, Journalism, or Marketing to name a few.

If you answered YES! To any of these questions, a Public History major may be right for you.

What It’s Like to Major in Public History at Ball State

Our flexible public history internship program allows students to complete their internship requirement in one of three ways:

  • 2.1. Three, 3-credit hour internship chunks
  • 2.2. One, 3-credit hour and one, 6-credit hour internship chunk
  • 2.3. One, 9-credit hour internship

This required internship will help you gain valuable experience while providing a service to employers. The internship program is essential to your understanding of public history.

Possible internship opportunities include:

  • historical associations and societies
  • oral history projects
  • museums and halls of fame
  • entrepreneurial history firms
  • genealogical services
  • preservation and restoration agencies
  • archives and libraries
  • publishers of history books and journals
  • documentary film and audio production companies

Learn More about Our Internship Program

The Department of History includes several faculty members who are currently working on Public History projects in which you can get involved. These include James Connoly, Emily Johnson, Jennifer DeSilva, Ron Morris, and Public History Program Director, Wendy Soltz.

These faculty publish frequently, earn grants and awards and are interviewed by the BBC, The New York Times, NPR, and other leading media outlets. Our faculty’s international reputation enhances the value of letters of recommendation written for students and contributes to Ball State’s reputation.

Read Their Bios

Grounded in sound historical research methods, the field of public history also employs several additional historical methodologies including oral history and digital history. By the time you graduate, you will have experience in these methodologies as well as opportunities to write for and communicate with a public audience.  

As a student, you can do research with us the day you set foot at Ball State.

Bracken Library has more than 2.3 million volumes of books, musical scores, archival records, and other information for you to search.

Plus, you will have access to the state-of-the-art technology and amazing primary resources held in the University's Archives and Special Collections and Digital Media Repository, GIS Research and Map Collection, and the Andrew Seager Archives of the Built Environment. 

Learn More about Our Libraries

You’ll have the opportunity to work with original sources and records such as:

  • the Sir Norman Angell Papers
  • the Stoeckel Archives (records of Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana)
  • the collection at the Center for Middletown Studies
Bracken Library

Public History students can take advantage of wonderful public history resources on campus such as the Archives and Special Collections and the David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA), within the city of Muncie such as Minnetrista and the Delaware County Historical Society, and regionally such as Conner Prairie, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Fort Wayne History Center, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum sites, Wabash County Historical Society, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Indiana Landmarks, and many (many) more.

Major Requirements

To learn more about Public History and our program, watch this 4-minute video (Soltz PHP Pitch Video.mov ) from Public History Program Director, Wendy Soltz.

Completing this program will earn you either a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) in history with a concentration in public history. You must complete two years of a foreign language to earn the BA.

Credits

Total: 42

  • prerequisites –21
  • core courses and electives – 12
  • Public History internship (HIST 369) – 9

Courses

A few of the classes you will take include:

  • HIST 151-152 World Civilization 1-2
  • HIST 200 Introduction to History Methods
  • HIST 201 American History, 1492-1876
  • HIST 202 U.S. History, 1877 to Present
  • HIST 240 Introduction to Public History
  • HIST 368 Public History Careers and Internship Preparation

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Public History?

 

No one can answer this question better than our alumni! Watch this video to hear directly from them. Our alumni have become museum curators, archivists, oral historians, cultural resource managers, government historians and policy advisors, film and digital media producers, historical interpreters, local historians, and historic preservationists.

Paying for Your Education

Ready to Apply?

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying for admission is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or, if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact the Director of the Public History Program, Wendy Soltz