Museum Studies Graduate Programs focus on how to maintain and manage a museum or certain aspects of one. Museum studies programs, sometimes called “museology,” are highly interdisciplinary. Depending on the school, this could mean studying business, public leadership, or art history and collections. Students may also choose to study a specialized field like anthropology, or practice advanced archival skills. What do all these paths have in common? An unyielding passion for community, education, culture and history—not to mention the drive to share all that with others.
Choosing Graduate Programs in Museum Studies
On top of selecting a program level, degree type, and program format, you might have a few additional concerns when deciding between museum studies graduate programs. Here are some more things you might want to think about.
What does the program focus on? While not all programs may offer formal concentrations, some might. Or they might just be designed to look specifically at the needs of a certain kind of museum. Especially if you have concrete career goals in mind—for example, you want to curate exhibits in a modern art museum, or work in a museum of anthropology—it might be useful to look for programs that support those interests.
What kind of experience does the program offer? Getting hands-on experience could be a valuable opportunity, specially if you’re not already working in a museum. This could range from hands-on preservation work in the lab, to externships and internships in the field, where you could put your learning into practice and make professional connections at the same time.
Is the program associated with any nearby museums? Are any of those museums pertinent to your interests or area of focus? This could be a useful asset, whether you want to seize internship opportunities, or lean on the networking in your program to support your job hunt once you graduate.
These are only a few examples. Your specific needs might vary, so feel free to modify or add to this list while you search!
Top States for Employment for Museum Technicians and Conservators
A variety of museum studies graduate programs might be available, at different academic levels ranging from masters to doctorate. In some cases, these programs are highly specialized, reflecting a certain discipline, work area, or type of museum. If that’s not the case, a museum studies program might be partnered with a related subject area, like education, anthropology, or art history, for example. However this may not be required, but rather come down to personal preference or competitive advantage.
Alongside graduate programs in museum studies, you might also find related program, which could offer similar content. This could include museum management and museum curator degree programs. To fully understand your options, it may be best to talk to schools directly to learn about what each program entails.
Popular Schools with Museum Studies Programs – Degrees
Masters in Museum Studies programs are typically two year programs to prepare students for leadership positions. Some applicants may have a bachelors in museum studies degree as a foundation for study. Others may also seek a museum studies masters degree with another relevant degree under their belt. This could be anything from education to history to art. Masters in Museum Studies programs may focus on how to manage and develop certain types of museums or exhibits. They could also take a more business-oriented approach, developing the organizational and leadership skills to keep a museum running. Museum Studies masters programs might confer Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or MBA degrees, depending on the nature of the program. Check with individual schools to learn more about courses, degree types and requirements.
At the doctorate level, museum studies graduate programs typically award a PhD degree. Museum Studies PhD Programs tend to focus on a specific area of discipline. This could include options like art history, conservation, or archival science, to name a few examples. That’s because museum studies doctoral programs aim to hone in-depth subject-matter expertise. Most PhD museum studies programs are research focused and include a dissertation requirement. Here students conduct independent research in their area of interest in an attempt to contribute new knowledge to the field. Coursework may touch on advanced topics in museum studies, as well as research methodologies and best practices. Because programs vary and may be designed to reflect student interests, its best to speak with your preferred museum studies programs directly.
Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate Museum Studies Certificate Programs tend to be shorter than full degree programs. Less courses may be required, allowing full time students to graduate in 1-2 years. Because of this, some students may prefer to earn a certificate in museum studies to complement a degree in another discipline like art history or anthropology. Certificate museum studies programs could be offered at the masters or doctoral level. They may be broad in nature or focus on a specific discipline. Remember as you search that these and other related programs may vary from the descriptions above. You could find contrast in content, approach, or other details. You may also come across some program types that are not listed here. For more information, reach out to the museum studies graduate programs you’re considering attending.
Museum Studies Program Formats
Not sure what kind of grad program would work in your life? Museum studies or museology graduate programs could be offered in several potentially convenient formats. So whether you want the stability and resources of a physical classroom, ultimate flexibility to accommodate your hectic schedule, or maybe a little of both, you might find a museum studies program that suits your preferences.
Museum Studies Graduate Schools: Earning a graduate museum studies degree on campus could have advantages. For one, there’s the fact that you’d have access to the materials, resources, and lab spaces at your school. With a subject as interdisciplinary and hands-on as museum studies, this could be a great help. Your program and faculty might also be familiar with your community. They could have knowledge and experience of the museums in your area where you might want to work.
Online Museum Studies Programs: Online programs bring advanced museum studies education to the student, wherever they are. Students could access course materials using their compatible laptop, computer, or internet-enabled device. As such, museum studies graduate programs online could be an attractive choice for working professionals who want to learn more while still working. Online programs may also allow you to consider programs from all over the country. That might help you to search for one more closely aligned with what you want to study, without having to worry about the commute.
Hybrid Museum Studies Programs: Hybrid museum studies programs try to provide the best of both formats. That means they bring the flexibility of online study to a program anchored on a local campus and all the resources that might entail. How in particular they organize this could vary widely between programs. Because of this, make sure you are familiar with that information for whichever museum studies hybrid program you choose. Other names for hybrid programs include blended or partially online.
Each individual museum studies program may be organized a little differently. Details could depend on the school, the program level, the focus, and other contributing factors. On top of that, the way each program is scheduled, and the resources offered by that program, may also vary. For more information, follow up with your selected programs.
GradSchools.com offers 61 Museum Studies Graduate Programs & Schools