Pennsylvania Museum Studies Graduate Programs & Schools

Museum Studies Graduate Programs focus, at the most basic level, on how to maintain and run a museum or certain aspects of one. Museum studies (sometimes called ...

“museology”) programs are highly interdisciplinary. Depending on the program, this could mean looking at business and public leadership and organizational skills. Or it could mean focusing on art history and collections. It could mean becoming an expert in a specialized field like anthropology, or practicing advanced archival skills.

Or all of the above! 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. 

Graduate Programs in Museum Studies

Types of Museum Studies Graduate Programs

A variety of museum studies graduate programs might be available, at different academic levels ranging from masters to doctorate. In some cases, these programs might be highly specialized, reflecting a certain discipline, work area, or type of museum. If that’s not the case, some might choose to tailor their education themselves by pairing museum studies with another related subject area, like education, anthropology, or art history, for example. The latter option may not be required, but rather might come down to personal preference or competitive advantage.

Alongside museum studies programs, you might find other related program names, which could offer similar content. This could include museum management and museum curator degree programs.

Generally, museum studies programs might fall into three basic categories. Each of these may appeal to current or aspiring museologists in different ways.

  1. Masters in Museum Studies: Some students may have a bachelors in museum studies as a foundation for study. Others may also seek a masters with another relevant degree under their belt. This could be anything from education to history to art. 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. Programs might confer Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), or even MBA degrees, depending on the nature of the program.
  2. Museum Studies PhD Programs: PhD programs in museum studies may 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 in that particular discipline within a museum.
  3. Graduate Museum Studies Certificate Programs: Certificate programs tend to be shorter than degrees, with respect to the amount of courses required. Because of this, some students may prefer to earn a certificate in museum studies to complement another discipline like art history or anthropology. Certificate programs could be offered at the masters or doctoral level.

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 programs you’re considering attending.

Museum Studies Graduate Programs Formats

Not sure what kind of 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 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. Which, especially for a subject as interdisciplinary and hands-on as museum studies, could 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 Graduate Programs: These 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, these could be an attractive choice for working professionals who want to learn more and earn a degree 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 Graduate Programs: Hybrid museum studies programs try and 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 graduate 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.

Choosing Museum Studies Graduate Programs

On top of selecting a program level, degree type, and program format, you might have a few additional concerns when finding one that works for you. Here are a few 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? Especially if you’re not already working in a museum, getting hands-on experience could be a valuable opportunity. 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!

Search for Museum Studies Graduate Programs Today

If you’re ready to start searching for your potential best museum studies graduate programs, let GradSchools.com help. If you already know a little about what you want—for example, the degree type or program format—use the menu on this page to select those options. Then read more about those programs and the sponsored listings that match your search.

When you find some colleges with museum studies you think you might want to look into, click on the name to read a little more. Then get in touch with them to set up a visit, or even start your application!