The Practicum Project (AMST 857/ANTH 857/HIST 811/INST 728I) is an independent research and creative project designed to allow students to work with UMD faculty and professionals in the field on a project that relates to the student’s interests. Projects vary, but might include researching artifacts, interpreting historic sites/tours, designing or critiquing exhibitions (or parts of them), evaluating visitor experiences, developing educational programming, recommending best practices, among many other topics. The practicum project generally consists of three components: the practicum product or deliverable, research summary, and a short reflection essay. The product might be a walking tour script for an historic landscape with an accompanying 15-page essay summarizing the primary and secondary source research that informed the route of the script and the tour stops. Frequently the product and research are combined into an extended paper. For example, when a student studies an artifact or collection and reports their research to a curator.
Students develop and carry out the practicum project using collections or resources at a host organization on or off-campus, such as the Performing Arts Library, SCUA, MITH, or the Driskell Center on campus, a Smithsonian museum, The Phillips Collection, the Greenbelt Museum, the Library of Congress, or one of the historic sites supervised by Prince George’s County Parks & Recreation. While MSMC maintains a database of locations and opportunities, students may find an entity or professional to work with on their own.
We have deliberately designed the practicum project to offer a flexible range of options and opportunities. We encourage students to choose a project that interests them, supports work they are doing for their degree program, and/or enhances their career credentials. Alumni have found the flexibility of the practicum project valuable and recommend that students regard topic selection as an opportunity. Many alumni include their practicum projects in the portfolio of materials they share with potential employers.
Over the course of the practicum project, students work with an MSMC faculty project advisor as well as an advisor or supervisor from a host site.
We have created a guide to help you through the Practicum process. Please download a copy here.
As part of this new process, you will create a Practicum Project Plan that will be approved by your Practicum Project advisor and your Site Supervisor before you begin. Please find an example Practicum Project Plan here.
Previous students have shared their practicum products to give current and prospective students greater insight into the final product. Please note that all of these examples were completed before the new guidelines were launched in 2022. They may be longer or more elaborate than newer projects. Please view other alumni practicum project titles here.
- Ennis Barbery
- Cultural Landscapes of Greenbelt: Telling Stories of Community and Division in a Local Museum
- Leah Bush
- Beyond Representation: Performance Ethnography and the Research and Presentation of Cultures at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
- Sarah Hartge
- Access, History, and Engagement at Community Museums: A Practicum at the Sandy Spring Museum
- Wanda Hernández
- Archiving Undocumented Central Americans: A Series of Considerations for Archival Actors
- Emily Moore
- Newberry College: A Case Study on Native Mascots
- Jennifer Wachtel
- The Preservation Archives at the University of Maryland: A Case Study in Archival Outreach