Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) is an interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree program in the field of oral history that focuses on interviewing methodologies and interpretative methods. OHMA links social sciences and humanities research across six disciplines: History, Sociology, Literature, Anthropology, Psychology and Public Health. OHMA also has practical applications in historic preservation, radio production, writing, and legal and human rights work.
OHMA trains students in how to conduct research through creating and analyzing interviews, and developing fieldwork projects to address historical and contemporary issues that require interdisciplinary investigation. The field of oral history supports research on immigration, migration, ethnicity, gender, politics, government and human rights. Students who are interested in conducting institutional and community histories will also benefit from this degree.
The program is designed for students who have a strong background and interest in social science and humanities research that is focused on living individuals, cultures and social groups. Students will be trained in field research methods, and encouraged to develop analytic skills to interpret their research from interdisciplinary perspectives. The program is co-supported by the Columbia Center for Oral History.
Social Sciences Summer
The Social Sciences Summer at Columbia University is a non-degree program providing students with an understanding of the principles and skills to design and conduct social research. It encourages students to critically evaluate the methods, strategies and data used by social scientists and provides training in analysing a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. The program is structured for highly motivated students with interest in the social sciences and the research process. Students will work closely with faculty in daily seminars. The two and a half-week program culminates with a series of presentations of group research proposals, in which students will collaborate with each other and Columbia University faculty and staff to lay the groundwork for a larger research project.
Bi-Annually, the Columbia Center for Oral History Research sponsors a Summer Institute in New York City, which brings together oral historians, scholars, activists, and others for two weeks of advanced training in the theory and practice of oral history. Participants work with world-class instructors, network with oral historians from around the world and go to exhibits in New York City. Each year we focus on a different theme.
2019 Summer Institute
Oral History from the Margins to the Center: Narrating the Politics of our Times June 17 – June 28, 2019
The 2019 Summer Institute in Oral History will focus on the challenges we face in documenting the political present when secrecy and distortions of truth threaten the most vulnerable in open societies. What role does public memory and the search for meaning play in rescuing and preserving the stories that we most need to hear? Specifically, we will explore what journalists, oral historians, advocates and scholars of the present can learn from each other, as we sharpen our skills and awareness of how to document the stories that we most need to record and disseminate.
The overarching goal of the 2019 Institute will focus on the role of oral history in opening up multiple accounts of truth and the search for meaning that otherwise may remain marginal – moving them to the center of our political discourse.