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Program Details

Bachelor of Arts in History with an Emphasis in Public History

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

What Is Public History?

Public history is a scholarly discipline that focuses on putting historical lessons and insights to work in modern times. The purpose of the public historian is to communicate findings about the past to the public in a way that is both meaningful and inspiring. One of the major tasks of public historians is to curate, preserve and interpret historic artifacts and documents. If you have a passion for the past, Grand Canyon University invites you to apply for the Bachelor of Arts in History with an Emphasis in Public History degree program.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the public history degree empowers students to translate their passion for history into purposeful work that benefits the community. Through focused coursework that is broad in scope but in-depth in nature, students gain an appreciation for historical trends and applied history. Students examine key topics in history, historic preservation and heritage tourism.

Why Earn Your Public History Bachelor of Arts Degree at GCU?

GCU is a modern university that embraces flexibility and accessibility in higher education. Students benefit from the dynamic and supportive learning community as they work to define their path in life and strengthen their values. The public history BA program offers the opportunity to take courses online. Study anywhere at any time to advance your career qualifications. A total of 120 credits are required for graduation. Most online courses are eight weeks in length.

During the program, public history students will take these core classes:

  • Material Culture and Museums
  • Historic Preservation
  • Community History
  • Historical Research and Applied Methods
  • Public History Seminar
  • Historical Administration

Public history students work through a research-, reading- and writing-intensive curriculum that prepares them to excel as communicators. Other skills and qualities that transfer well to a broad range of career paths include cultural knowledge and sensitivity, critical reasoning and investigative skills. Additional core competencies for the public history degree program include the following:

  • Applied history techniques to translate the study of artifacts to the creation of museum exhibits and educational initiatives
  • Techniques, sources and methods for collecting and presenting history at the local level
  • Archives and records management, historical interpretation, cultural tourism and oral history
  • Current practices in the management of historic sites, structures and neighborhoods

Prepare for Different Roles with a BA Degree in Public History

Graduates with a bachelor of arts in public history degree may be qualified to pursue opportunities in museums, archives and academic and research libraries. Historical societies and organizations may also hire public historians. Graduates may pursue work in publishing companies or nonprofit organizations, or they might work on historic site interpretation and preservation initiatives. There are media projects that may also be of interest to public historians, such as history-related documentaries.

The skills and foundational knowledge acquired from a BA program in public history may transfer well to many other fields, including law and human services. Some public historians find work in local, state or federal government agencies. There is also the possibility of enrolling in graduate school to further career qualifications. Public historians with a graduate degree may pursue teaching opportunities in academia.

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Total Program Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
Online: 8 weeks [More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $470 per credit [More Info]

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
48 credits
Open Elective Credits:
32-38 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.


Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course surveys global civilizations from Africa and the Americas to Eurasia as an overview of the principal cultural, political, and economic themes that shaped world civilization.

Course Description

This writing intensive course focuses on research methods used in historical research and writing, and application of theories and methodologies to the analysis of historical materials. Emphasis is placed on research, writing, and critical thinking in historical contexts.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the principal political, economic, and cultural themes and constitutional developments that shaped the United States from the Colonial period into the 20th Century.

Course Description

This course introduces the study of history as a scholarly discipline, emphasizing significant historians, subdisciplines of the field, and the foundational methodological and theoretical tools of historians.

Course Description

This course examines the techniques, sources, and methods of collecting and presenting history at the local level. Emphasis is placed on how communities create memory and historical records, and their uses for students, educators, researchers, and communities.

Course Description

This writing intensive course examines the political, economic, and social aspects of selected wars and revolutions. It provides a comparative study of social conflicts with an emphasis on the patterns of individual and collective action, violence, and social changes.

Course Description

This course provides a broad introduction to the field of material culture and museum studies. Students use techniques of applied history to learn from objects and study the way museums create exhibits, conserve artifacts, and teach history through material culture.

Course Description

This course provides a survey of historic preservation and cultural resource management. Topics covered include the field's history; methods, and practices through the methods of applied history in environmental law and conservation; and current practices in management of historic sites, structures, and neighborhoods.

Course Description

This course examines the principal social, political, economic, and global events that have shaped the American experience during the Cold War era.

Course Description

This course covers various topics in public history, which may include archives and records management, historical interpretation, cultural tourism, oral history, and other fields/applications of history in public spheres.

Course Description

This course examines the political, social, economic, and cultural history of the Southwest Borderlands region, focusing on topics related to the American West, Native Americans, frontier/colonial theory, environment, and Chicana/o history.

Course Description

This course provides a broad overview of careers for administrators of museums, historical societies, archives, special collection libraries, and other cultural resource agencies. The course explores the role of an administrator as the head of an organization or as a mid-level manager. Issues that are unique to public or nonprofit agencies that collect, preserve, and share cultural resources are also explored. Prerequisite: HIS-337 or HIS-347.

Program Locations

GCU Campus Student

Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

Program Domains

Online and Evening program disclosures (4 years) On-campus program disclosures (4 years)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.

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