Program Requirements

The MA program combines a core curriculum with a wide range of elective classes offered at Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).  The curriculum allows students to

  • gain a thorough understanding of the history, theory, and methods of the public humanities
  • explore a variety of subjects in the arts and humanities, and
  • develop practical skills needed for public humanities work: to develop exhibits and websites, care for museum artifacts, conduct oral history interviews, undertake historic preservation projects, facilitate public engagement and partnerships, and create and manage cultural programs.

A completion of the MA program requires twelve courses and a summer practicum, for students entering in September 2015 and after.  Full-time MA students typically complete the degree in two years, four semesters of three courses each, and a summer internship.  With permission, students may accelerate to three semesters (four courses each semester) and a summer practicum.  Part-time students may take 1-2 courses per semester.


  • AMST2650: Introduction to Public Humanities
  • AMST2540: Methods in Public Humanities
  • AMST2680: Semester Practicum
  • Upper level seminar in American Studies (generally at the 2000 level)
  • 8 elective courses
  • A summer practicum which is required but uncredited

Elective courses can be selected from 1000 to 2000 level courses offered at Brown and graduate courses at RISD.  Graduate level courses at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences can also count for credit.  The disciplinary field or departments are not limited.  Students should aim at a balance of practice, theory, and content and between seminars and lecture classes.  Students receive significant advising on their course choices.

For more information about the public humanities curriculum and requirements, see the  Graduate Student Program Handbook.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program in the American Studies department may elect to receive an M.A. in public humanities en route to the doctorate.  This entails completion of AMST2540: Methods in Public Humanities, AMST2650: Introduction to Public Humanities, a summer practicum, and an examination field in some area of the public humanities.  For further information, Ph.D. students should refer to the American Studies department graduate handbook.  

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