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Capital Campus

Public History Program

For over 20 years, the Capital Campus Public History Program at Sacramento State has been training public historians for rewarding careers in archives, cultural resources management, museum interpretation, and historic preservation.  We offer a two-year course of study leading to the Master of Arts in History with a concentration in Public History. This program requires completion of 36 units of coursework, including 9 units of supervised professional internship.

The program provides an integrated professional curriculum that includes specialized project and internship experience in one of several concentrations: archives and manuscripts, oral history, museum studies, historic preservation, business history, and general public history research and analysis. Students pursue a common course of study, gain professional experience through a series of internships, and complete a master's project or thesis within their area of program specialization.

In order to provide our students with the highest level of both practical experience and theoretical background, our professional seminars (Hist 282 series) are taught by experienced professionals. When possible, our professional seminars are also team taught so that students gain a wider perspective of the topic under study.

Students in the program enroll in three semesters of internship. Internships generally require 8-12 hours per week per semester of on-site work. Most internships are paid. Students have held internships at the: California State Archives; Office of Historic Preservation; California State Railroad Museum; JRP Historical Consulting Services; Business History Group; and California State Museum Services among other organizations. Most students find that their Thesis Project develops out of their internship experience. Students in the CSUS program have researched and written a wide variety of Thesis Projects: Sample projects.

Students typically enter the M.A. program in the fall semester and take many of the same classes together over the course of their studies. This creates a strong sense of community among the students and faculty. If you are interested in the program and would like to speak with a current student or recent alumni, please e-mail your request to Professor Ettinger at

Monday, February 1, 2016 is the application deadline for admission to the program in Fall 2016.


This year the graduate office is piloting a new digital admission process.  After applying online through CSU Mentor you will receive a letter to your new Saclink email account instructing you to submit all supplemental documents required by the department digitally at this site.  For the History Department, the supplemental documents that should be uploaded electronically are explained in detail below and include transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. 

Because we do not want our admissions schedule to be held up by any possible glitches with this digital submission system during the pilot year, the History Department is requiring that all applicants ALSO submit all supplemental materials in hard copy to the department office by the listed deadline. 

Application Instructions for the CSUS M.A. Program:

Admission to the Public History Master's Program requires:

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • an undergraduate major in History, OR a minimum of 27 semester units in History, or a closely related field, approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Fifteen of the units must be upper division and include one seminar from the HIST 192 series (or equivalent) and one seminar from HIST 197 series (or equivalent); and
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units attempted and a minimum 3.25 GPA in History courses.

 The application to the Public History Master’s Program requires:

  • a statement of purpose
  • two letters of recommendation
  • official transcripts
  • a writing sample

SPECIAL NOTE:  Sacramento State's Office of Graduate Studies requires you to submit an online application (AVAILABLE HERE) and to submit official transcripts as part of your application to our program.  But please note that the History Department’s Graduate Program requires that applicants submit paper copies of all materials listed above to the History Department office as well, by the application deadline.  For the department application only, unofficial transcripts will be accepted.  Paper copies of all application materials should be addressed to the Graduate Secretary, Department of History, CSUS, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA  95819-6059.

Application Instructions for the Joint PhD Program:

We also offer a joint doctorate in Public Historical Studies with UC Santa Barbara. The doctoral degree specifically prepares individuals for a career in academia with an emphasis in public history. For information on the joint Ph.D program, visit the UCSB Public History website or contact Professor Chris Castaneda at For application materials, please contact:

Rhiannon Parisse
Public Historical Studies Program
Department of History
Division of Humanities and Fine Arts
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
805-893-2224 (phone)

UCSB Public History website