MA Public History

MA Public History RHUL LogoIntroduced in September 2009, the MA in Public History offered by Royal Holloway provides a vocational qualification for history-related employment in the media, including film, television and print journalism, museums and heritage organisations. The MA is the first in the country to make a deliberate project of engaging postgraduates in the core ideas, debates and best practices in the field of public history conceived in the broadest possible sense.

The course, run over one year (two part-time) is composed of modules covering historical research, popular writing, public presentations of history and oral history. A further module allows students to pursue an independent research project, often culminating in an exhibition, piece of oral history, publishable article or radio programme.

In designing the course the needs of potential employers, such as English Heritage, the National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces, were engaged with, and the construction of the various modules drew on their insights and expertise. The course aims to produce people capable of communicating ideas about the past in a range of public spaces and media.

Located in the largest history department in the University of London, the course draws on a diversity of expertise. Teaching and research staff interests range from the ancient to the contemporary, are global in coverage and varied in the approaches taken in understanding the past. At the same time the department prides itself in being both collegiate and student-friendly.

For enquiries contact Anna Whitelock at or go to our course pages.

Gainsborough's Medieval Manor House detailPublic history draws on all the skills of a historian: original research among dusty papers, piecing together the story, placing it in the context of the past, interpreting it for the  present. But public history also makes a special effort to bring history alive for an audience, which may well combine interest with sketchy historical knowledge and barely conscious historical preconceptions or even prejudices. Many historians don’t even think about these groups. (Professor Justin Champion, initiator of the MA)

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