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Certificate in Public History

You may earn a Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History concurrent with fulfilling your bachelor degree requirements. This certificate introduces you to the theory, methods and practices in historical, heritage and cultural institutions. It also provides a critical explanation of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for public audiences.

What is Public History

Public history describes the theory, methodologies and practices of professional historians working outside academia. It also encompasses the ways in which history is produced for and understood by public audiences.

What can you do with this certificate?

You will gain a critical understanding of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for non-academic audiences. The work placement will give you marketable skills. In addition, the certificate can be a stepping stone toward graduate work in public history, museum studies, arts and cultural management, and library, archives and information studies.

Admission & Certificate Requirements

The certificate is open to all York undergrads in good standing. Students must have completed 54 credits to start the certificate.

Certificate requirements include 24 credits at least 18 of which must be at the 2000-level or above, including 6 credits at the 3000- or 4000-level, from a list of approved courses as listed below. Nine of these credits are mandatory.

They include:

Three credits from one of the following two courses:

  • FA/ARTH 3610 3.0 Art Institutions/Art Networks: Introduction to Museums, Galleries and Visual Art Organizations
  • FA/ARTH 3611 3.0 Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display

Six credits from one of the following two capstone courses in Public History. Both courses include a 12-week mandatory placement in a historical, cultural or heritage institution during the Winter term:

  • AP/HIST 4840 6.00 Public History
  • GL/HIST 4310 6.0 Histoire Vivante: créer l’histoire du Grand Toronto

Students choose from a wide variety of placement projects at museums, archives, galleries and historical organizations across the Greater Toronto Area. Each student will complete a total of 120 hours (10 hours/week for 12 weeks) at their placement site, helping to produce a public history product such as a walking tour, small case exhibition, documentary video, audio tour or research report. Placement hours are usually flexible to accommodate student schedules.

The remaining fifteen credits must be chosen from a list of designated courses.

How to Apply

To apply, complete the application form and required letter of application. Applicants must receive confirmation of acceptance in the Certificate before they can enrol.

Graduating with a Certificate

Except where otherwise stated, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 5.00 is required to satisfy certificate requirements. Students must also submit an application to graduate from a certificate program. Applications should be obtained from and filed with the unit administering the certificate program (LA&PS History, Glendon History, or AMPD Visual Art/Art History). Transcript notation that the requirements for a certificate have been completed will be made once the Registrar’s Office has received notice from the unit administering the program. Certificates will not be conferred until candidates have successfully completed an undergraduate degree program if they are simultaneously enrolled in a degree and a certificate program. A certificate cannot be obtained retroactively.

Please see the Registrar's Office website for more details about Graduating with a Certificate. Students who expect to receive a certificate must complete and submit an Application to Graduate with a Certificate to the below individuals/departments:

  • Glendon Students - Contact Professor Audrey Pyée at
  • AMPD Students - Office of Advising and Integrated Student Services at 
  • LA&PS Students (and students from other Faculties not listed above) - Contact the Department of History (LA&PS) at


For additional information, contact Professor Jennifer Bonnell at or the Department of History, York University,