Graduate Certificate


Graduate students pursuing a degree in any program at UW-Madison are invited to obtain a Certificate in the Public Humanities. The Certificate is not a stand-alone program. Students who wish to receive the Graduate Certificate in Public Humanities must take a core course, Inter-LS 700: “Public Humanities: Theories, Methods, Cases,” offered each year, and develop a coherent, thematic sequence of three additional courses selected in consultation with a faculty advisor. All students also are required to undertake a capstone project.

Thematic Sequence

Upon applying to the program, students will submit a list of proposed courses that fulfill the program’s 12-credit requirement, along with a narrative summary of the relation of these courses to the thematic sequence, and an initial plan for the capstone project. While students may develop their own course of study, the following thematic sequences might be followed:

  1. Engaging Communities: Community-engaged research; institutional structures; community building; communication, and non-profit administration. The focus may be global, local, or cross-regional, and could incorporate histories of inequality, social movements, health and environment, and other forms of social justice.

  2. Understanding Public Cultures: The range of public cultures studied through the theory and history of institutions (such as museums and libraries); publication; the public intellectual; public art; and the public sphere.

  3. Translating the Humanities for New Audiences: Practical skills for translating methods and concepts from the humanities for new audiences, including administration; curation; urban development; education; public and private sector organization; digital media; production; design; organization of knowledge, etc.

Capstone Options

The certificate’s capstone can either be a student-designed special project in the Center for the Humanities’ HEX program, or the production of a portfolio of work reflecting a practice or practices in the public humanities.

  • Students who choose to pursue a project-based capstone must do so as a part of the Center’s Public Humanities Exchange (HEX) program. The HEX program supports student-led projects in the Madison community that translate humanities research for audiences outside of the university. HEX projects are typically affiliated with a host such as a community center, museum, or other nonprofit organization, which the student must identify and work with to design the project. The HEX program has a rigorous application and selection process, and Certificate students will be in competition with applicants from the graduate student body at large for positions in the program. In order to fulfill this capstone requirement the student must submit a final report.

  • Students may also fulfill the capstone requirement via a portfolio of work that reflects a practice within the public humanities. The portfolio can include a public history project; popular writing (e.g., a selection of op-eds or “professional” blog posts); development of a website, podcast series, film, radio program, etc. The student will be required to obtain approval from the Certificate Director prior to initiating a portfolio project .

Rules and Requirements

There are no formal prerequisites for matriculation into the graduate certificate program in terms of coursework. However, only those students with B.A. or B.S. degrees from accredited colleges or universities who are currently enrolled graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are permitted to enter the graduate certificate program. Special students and undergraduates are ineligible to receive the certificate. The graduate certificate will be awarded to master’s students upon completion of the coursework even if that coursework is completed prior to graduation.

Public Humanities Graduate Certificate Application