Thesis & Class Projects

As a part of the thesis requirement, public history concentration students develop public-facing projects on their research topics. To help prepare for this, students in the Introduction to Public History course conclude the semester by creating smaller-scale projects based on research topics they have worked on over the course of the semester. Although the following are all digital examples, students can choose among a variety of potential project types for their thesis projects.



Class Projects:

A community-based public history course will be offered at least once during the two-year MA cycle. In these courses, students work collaboratively on a public history project for a local institution. The projects and the skills developed in these courses are great additions to students’ resumes. Here are some types of courses that have been offered along with the skill-development emphasized in each one. 

  • Slavery and Its Legacies Digital Tour (2020)
Working in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston, students created a master list of important sites relating to the history of slavery and its legacies in Charleston from assigned secondary sources. Each student then conducted extensive primary research on five sites and  wrote essays on each of these properties (extant and non-extant) for a series of tours. These peer-reviewed essays are available through the college’s Curatescape site:
  • McLeod Plantation Cemetery Project (2018)

This partnership with McCleod Plantation Historic Site enabled students to learn how to conduct genealogical research, specifically on persons buried in the on-site cemetery to identify living descendants. This was a critically important step in the site’s effort to develop a preservation plan for the cemetery. With weekly readings from the fields of history, archeology, anthropology, and folklore on regional African American history and culture, students learned how to situate the genealogical research in the larger historical context. Here are some articles that explain more about the McLeod Plantation Historic Site Cemetery Project.

  • Morris Street Business District Digital Exhibit (2016)

This was the first community-partner class, which was a collaboration with the Preservation Society of Charleston. In it, students conducted property research along Cannon Street in downtown Charleston to contribute to the Morris Street Business District project for the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative ( In addition to learning property-research skills in local archives, students were introduced to the theory and practice of place-based history through secondary readings.