If your goal is to immediately transition into a professional job after graduation, then Ball State’s major in public history is right for you.

Our robust internship program allows for immersive, on-the-job learning opportunities in a public-history field that closely aligns with your career ambitions. This can include private corporations, public agencies, private individual or small firms, and private nonprofit organizations. Our public history major will also prepare you for postgraduate internships (typically paid positions) and for graduate study.

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 Concentration of History Major and Anthropology Major
Read about her work to help pregnant women with opioid addiction.

Achieving Academic ExcellenceCaity Placek
Caity Placek

Caity Placek is studying human behaviors and conducting research to provide science-based solutions to ensure healthier pregnancies for women with drug habits and addictions. Learn more about her work.

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

The 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.

The internship will also prepare you for postgraduate internships (typically paid positions) and for graduate study in traditional academic history programs, public and applied history programs, and nonacademic public history training programs.

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 has tenure-track and tenured faculty who 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.

Our staff also has remarkable skills developed through post-secondary education and work experience.

Read Their Bios

You’ll gain highly demanded job skills thanks to one of our signature courses, Digital History.

You’ll learn employable skills in content-driven website design. The main goal is to present fully corroborated evidence in a user-friendly way, utilizing available programs like the Voyant word-cloud generator.

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 resources of the Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex.

Learn More about Our Libraries

Bracken Library

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

Major Requirements

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.

This major includes a required internship that provides you with real-world, hands-on experience. The internship requirement acts as preparation for entry into the workforce after graduation.

Our history major also offers a general history concentration.


Total: 39-42

  • prerequisites – 18
  • core courses and electives – 12
  • Public History internship (HIST 369) – 9-12


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 204 Introduction to Public History

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?

This degree can lead to immediate employment at museums and interpretive sites like Indiana’s Conner Prairie. With its internships at places as far afield as Washington’s Mount Vernon home and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this degree professionalizes students at the undergraduate level and has led to permanent employment with:

  • private corporations
  • public agencies
  • private individual or small firms
  • private nonprofit organizations

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 us.