Practicum experiences play an integral part of the public humanities master's degree. The required summer-long and semester-long practicums provide an opportunity for experiential learning and give students a chance to connect academic learning to the work of a public humanities organization. They also introduce students to experienced professionals who can offer mentorship and help students network with professionals in the field.
The selection of practicum sites is limited only by students' imagination, logistics, and funding. In the past years, public humanities MA students worked at these organizations during their summer and semester practicums. Students consult with the Center staff for assistance in identifying a practicum site and working with potential supervisors to shape a work plan that will provide both an educational experience for the student and useful projects for the organization. The Center has limited funds to help defray living and travel expenses associated with practicums.
Organizations that want to learn more about practicum opportunities, including the Center's expectations for institutions that sponsor students, should contact Ron Potvin, Assistant Director for Professional Programs.
Summer Practicum is required, but not credited (i.e. students do not register and do not pay for a course credit). This practicum must be completed during the summer following the first year of classes. Students are expected to work full time over the span of 8-10 weeks, totaling 300-375 hours. During this practicum, students participate in an on-line blog, sharing experiences and questions with each other and Center faculty and staff. At the start of fall semester, students present five-minute talks about five things they learned. This reflective practice allows them to connect practical learning with class work and helps shape their second year in the public humanities program. Summer practicum choices are not limited geographically and students have selected placements with organizations in New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, and Hong Kong, as well as numerous historic sites, museums, libraries, and cultural organizations throughout the United States. A satisfactory rating depends upon the quality of work performed at the sponsoring institution and other aspects of the practicum such as blogging and written or oral reports. Watch the video below to see student presentations about the latest (summer 2019) practicums. Presentation from earlier years can be viewed here.
Semester Practicum is required and can be completed during any semester; most students fulfill this requirement during their second year in the program. For the semester practicum, students register for PHUM 2025, and complete approximately 125-150 hours over the span of the semester. A satisfactory rating depends upon the quality of work performed at the sponsoring institution and other aspects of the practicum such as blogging, written reports, and participation in a practicum seminar. Because semester practicum is completed concurrently with classes, students generally arrange positions at organizations in Providence, Boston, or other sites in southern New England.