About the Certificate Program

Graduate Certificate in Public Humanities 

Public Humanities at Yale trains graduate students by expanding academic discourse beyond the confines of the classroom, academic publishing, and the academic conference circuit. By cultivating a dialogue with specialists in non-academic areas, students earning a Certificate in Public Humanities are prepared for public intellectual work such as museum and gallery installation, documentary film and photography, and oral/community history. Our mission is to expand the concept of “audience” by building bridges to a wide range of local and regional institutions and their respective publics.

Public Humanities at Yale represents an interdisciplinary certificate that is open to graduate students pursuing the Ph.D., a professional school degree, or a master’s degree in any department, with the approval of their director of graduate studies (DGS). Requirements for the certificate must be completed by the time that the student’s dissertation (or equivalent program requirement) is filed.

The mission of Public Humanities is fivefold:

1.    To offer students an expanded curriculum in the methods, practices, and skill sets associated with the Public Humanities.

2.    To cultivate and articulate best practices for collaborative and creative scholarly work.

3.    To create new venues for intellectual work, both within Yale and across the city and the region.

4.    To create new venues for non-academic expertise within Yale, and thus,

5.    To create new conversations and to cultivate new relationships with contiguous institutions throughout the region (museums, libraries, archives, galleries, media outlets, historical societies, performance troupes, etc.) and with non-academic individuals who have much to offer in an academic setting (artists, photographers, curators, broadcast journalists, filmmakers, writers, etc.).

Distinct areas of focus within Public Humanities at Yale include Museums and Collections, Documentary Studies, Digital Humanities, Space and Place, History and the Public, Arts Research, and Public Writing.

Requirements of the Certificate Program

1.    Introduction to Public Humanities, PHUM 903 / AMST 903.

2.    Methods and Theory. Students complete for a grade at least one course selected from preapproved courses offered across the University that include topical specializations such as public memory, documentary studies, documentary film, ethnography, material culture, architecture, research-based performance, art history, public history, public writing, etc. As needed, this requirement can also be fulfilled in an independent study course with one of the affiliated faculty members and with the approval of the DGS or assistant DGS.

3.    Practicum (PHUM 904 / AMST 904). In addition to course work, public humanities students are required to complete a one-term internship with one of our partnered affiliates (to be approved by the Public Humanities DGS or assistant DGS) for practical experience in the field. Potential internships include in-house opportunities at the Beinecke Library, Sterling Memorial Library, or one of Yale’s museums, or work at a regional or national institution such as a media outlet, museum, or historical society. In lieu of the internship, students may choose to complete a “micro-credential.” Micro-credentials are structured as workshop series (3–5 daylong meetings over the course of a year) rather than as term courses, and include revolving offerings in topics such as oral history, collections and curation, writing for exhibits, podcast production, website design, scriptwriting from the archive, or grant writing for public intellectual work.

4.    Public Humanities Capstone Project (PHUM 905 / AMST 905). The course work and practicum/micro-credential will lead to a significant project to be approved by the DGS or assistant DGS (an exhibition, documentary, research paper, etc.) and to be presented in a public forum on its completion.

5.    Teaching Component. The final requisite for the certificate is a one-term teaching component. This assignment may be fulfilled by co-teaching one of our current public humanities courses, such as Introduction to Public Humanities, Introduction to Documentary Studies, the Documentary Film Workshop, or Introduction to Digital Humanities; or by teaching a special Digital Humanities or Public Humanities section for an existing course (e.g., The History of Right Now); or by fulfilling duties needed by education curators of the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Art Gallery, Peabody Museum, Beinecke Library, or Schwarzman Center.