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Public History MA

This innovative course develops the core attributes of today’s public historian through a flexible toolkit that includes research and communication skills, cultural competency and empathy.

You are currently viewing course information for entry year:

Start date(s):

  • September 2024
PG virtual open day. Wednesday 15 May, 13:00-18:00 (BST). Book your spot


At Newcastle, you’ll be taught by an international team of experts from Australia, the US and the UK. Our guest lecturers are leading practitioners in our local and global networks.

You’ll develop the core skills to become a successful public historian. These include project planning, collaborative ways of working, and flexible communication skills. You'll gain a solid grounding in key theoretical and analytical frameworks, as well as public practices.

You’ll spend a third of your time working on a guided public history project. This could involve working alongside practitioners in the popular history field. This may include:

  • freelance public historians
  • cultural organisations
  • charities
  • archivists
  • publishers
  • TV and radio producers

This MA Public History is for you if you want to:

  • shape public understanding of the past
  • think globally about history
  • learn how the past impacts on the present

You'll be suitable if you're:

  • a History graduate wishing to further develop your skills ahead of a career in the history industry
  • a graduate of a related subject with a keen interest in building knowledge and practical skills in public history
  • currently working or volunteering in the history industry and wishing to further develop your skills to enhance your career


Important information

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What you'll learn

You’ll gain high-level understanding of the ways public historians approach history. You’ll learn from leading international public historians about how their work intervenes in contemporary debates and policy. You’ll also gain practical skills in designing and carrying out public history projects.

Your first semester of our MA Public History will be spent building a strong foundation in research methods. We'll also introduce you to key concepts in global public history, project planning skills, and digital skills.

Your second semester will focus on engaging with diverse audiences. A week-long study school at Eastertime will introduce you to industry contacts from the North East and beyond. Through this you’ll gain important experiences of working collaboratively with institutions and communities. You’ll also develop advanced skills in oral history research and presentation.

Finally, you’ll design an original public history project, supported by a practitioner-mentor and academic supervisor. You’ll demonstrate your ability to undertake independent research, work collaboratively with partners and deliver project outcomes.


You will study modules on this course. A module is a unit of a course with its own approved aims and outcomes and assessment methods.

How you'll learn

Your development

You’ll have flexibility to tailor your work to areas that interest you most. As such, you’ll develop a deep knowledge of your chosen area(s).

During the course you’ll also develop a wide range of transferable skills, whilst being guided by expert academics and industry mentors. These include professional, research and practical skills.

Professional skills

  • collaboration and group working
  • presentation skills
  • problem solving
  • written and verbal communication

Research skills

  • accessing and interpreting archival material
  • critical thinking
  • data collection, analysis and presentation
  • identifying primary and secondary historical sources
  • oral history research skills

Practical skills

  • digital skills including Adobe Creative Suite
  • planning and managing a project, from initiation through to delivery

Your future

We’ll support you to develop the core attributes of a historian with the empathy, cultural competency, collaboration and communication skills of a public historian.

As such, you’ll be well-equipped to respond to the opportunities of the changing, diversifying, and growing history-industry sector.

Industry links

We have strong links with local, national and international public history organisations and practitioners. You’ll benefit from learning and networking opportunities with our partners who include freelance professionals, media historians and others who engage with a wide range of audiences in presenting history to the public.


This course would be valuable preparation for a range of employment including:

  • roles within cultural projects and the cultural sector
  • public facing history roles e.g. broadcasting, film or journalism
  • roles within history and heritage organisations

Further study

This course would also provide a solid foundation for further study. Industry facing and practice-based PhDs, such as the Northern Bridge Collaborative Doctoral Awards, may be of interest.

Our Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Quality and ranking

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body


You’ll have access to hot-desk facilities within the Armstrong Building, home to the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. You’ll also be supplied with access to Adobe Creative Suite and some basic audio equipment for the duration of your course.

If you choose to undertake audio public history analysis and/or production as part of your coursework, you’ll also have access to facilities within our Oral History Hub.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2024 entry (per year)

What you're paying for

Tuition fees include the costs of:

  • matriculation
  • registration
  • tuition (or supervision)
  • library access
  • examination
  • re-examination
  • graduation

Find out more about:

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Entry requirements

The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Download our admissions policy (PDF: 201KB)
Other policies related to admissions

Credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can allow you to convert existing relevant university-level knowledge, skills and experience into credits towards a qualification. Find out more about the RPL policy which may apply to this course

How to apply

Using the application portal

The application portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.

You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.

If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the application portal.

Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.

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Open days and events

You'll have a number of opportunities to meet us throughout the year including:

  • campus tours
  • on-campus open days
  • virtual open days
  • webinars

Find out about how you can visit Newcastle in person and virtually

Overseas events

We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.

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Get in touch

Questions about this course?

If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:

Sandra Fletcher
Postgraduate Secretary
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7966


For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.

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