Museum Studies Certificate


Are you curious about how museums are organized and operate, how they care for and interpret their collections, how they serve their audiences, and what issues they face in satisfying their diverse responsibilities?

Are you interested in a career in museum work? Or would you like to increase your potential for advancement in the field of museum work?

Do you have at least a bachelor's degree that would be strengthened by additional training in the field of museum studies?

If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program is for you.

This graduate certificate explores fundamental aspects of museum work.

It can provide you with the skills and knowledge that are the basis for many aspects of museum work, including: museum management, collection care and maintenance, and exhibition and educational program development.

It is an integrated program of study combining classroom instruction with an internship opportunity for direct on-the-job experiences.

Twelve credit hours of study are required. Students should expect to complete the certificate over a one- to two-year period. The certificate program may be pursued as a stand-alone program or may be earned in conjunction with existing graduate degree programs.

Certificate Program Curriculum

The curriculum of this multidisciplinary certificate program is designed to supply students with a balance of the practical and theoretical information needed to work in the museum world.

It consists of four classes:  one (1) internship + any three (3) courses from the available electives.


Required Course:

ARTH6013 - Professional Museum Internship

This course, a required one for the completion of the Museum Studies Certificate Program, is available for credit in Art History. It entails the students' 120-hour placement at a museum in which they gain practical experience in museum or gallery operations, geared toward career goals of individual students. Placement is arranged through certificate program director, with supervision and evaluation by student, museum supervisor, and program director. Readings and work-related activities will be more advanced for graduate students and less advanced for undergraduate students completing the internship.


Elective Courses:

ARTH6004 - Collection Management: Registration and Conservation

This class offers in-depth examination of principles and practices of managing collections in museums, including: accessioning, de-accessioning, cataloging, documentation, storage methods, loans, insurance, packing and crating, shipping, art handling, climate control, condition reports, record keeping, and computerization. Students are also introduced to the study of the treatment and materials used by conservators to protect and restore museum objects, including: paintings, works on paper, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, stone, etc.

ARTH 6005 - Colonialism, Post-colonialism, Globalism, and Exhibition

Students will explore the historical and theoretical aspects of exhibitions and world fairs, and critically evaluate how they have shaped our perceptions of non-western cultures. This course is open to undergraduate students enrolling in the Undergraduate Museum Studies Certificate program.

ARTH 6006 - Curating Architecture

This course is an elective one in both the Museum Studies and Critical Curatorial Studies Certificate Programs. It addresses the increasing extent to which artists, galleries and museums are exhibiting or are incorporating innovative forms of interior design and display strategies to accommodate both installation works of art and architectural works of art.

ARTH 6007 - Dissolving the White Cube

This course is dedicated to historical efforts of artists and curators at "dissolving the frame" of aestheticism and contaminating the notion of purity that is metaphoric in the very form of white-cube galleries. As Brian O'Doherty informed readers of Artforum in the 1960s and '70s, artistsoften examine the "parergon" and make convincing efforts to distend modernist ways of viewing and encountering art. This course examines a large body of writing and works that ask us continually to theorize changing conditions of viewing, curating, and making art, while paying attention to institutional practices.

ARTH 6008 - Exhibition Planning and Design

This course is paired with Collection Management: Registration and Conservation. It offers an introduction to principles and practices of exhibition planning, display, and promotion. Topics of discussion include terminology and practices in exhibition design, curatorial concepts, promotion of exhibitions, and the ethical and social challenges faced by curators in presenting material from various cultures for diverse audiences. Students engage in label-writing and actively explore grant-writing to learn about fund raising for staging and traveling exhibitions.

ARTH 6009- Museum Education

Museum Education is intended as an elective course for students taking the Certificate in Museum Studies. A comprehensive study of developments in museum educational initiatives of the last 30 years with a particular emphasis on recent attempts by museums to expand their reach into more diverse ethnic and economic communities. Evaluation of the effectiveness of technology applied in Museum Education. Consideration of the role of museums in the education of the local community.

ARTH 6011 - Topical Seminar 1 in Museum Studies

This special topics seminar deals with topics in Museum Studies to supplement study areas offered in the other graduate seminars in Museum Studies. Topics are chosen by faculty members with regard to their availability and interests.

ARTH 6012 - Topical Seminar 2 in Museum Studies

This special topics seminar deals with topics in Museum Studies to supplement study areas offered in the other graduate seminars in Museum Studies. Topics are chosen by faculty members with regard to their availability and interests.

ARTH6014 - Introduction to Museum Management

This course will provide an overview of topics in Museum Management and Collections Management, with emphasis on standard organizational structure and administrative practices of collecting museums, including procedures for collections conservation,registration, exhibition and interpretation. Graduate students will complete more substantive reading and written assignments than undergraduate students.

ARTH 6015 - Curating Contemporary Art

This class will discuss several formative contemporary art exhibitions of the 21st century including their visual and conceptual strategies. This will include an evaluation of the artists' intentions and of the mission of the institutions or sites where the exhibitions took place. They will develop an understanding of recent practices in curating contemporary art and then apply that understanding to their own research by either 1. developing a hypothetical contemporary art exhibition or 2) critiquing a current contemporary art exhibition.

ARTH 6056 - History of Exhibitions

The course provides a historical survey of art exhibitions and exhibition practices with a focus on interconnections between exhibitions, issues of visual presentation, and artists' practices. It explores transformations in the organization, framing and presentation of exhibitions from the eighteenth century into the present, focusing particularly on exhibition practices outside of North America and exhibition histories since 1945. Themes to be explored include: the art exhibition as a key point of intersection between museums, curatorial practices and audiences; the power of art exhibitions to shape or transform received ideas of artists, artworks and art history; interactivity and participation; and relationships between forms of exhibition and constructions of history and memory. Case studies of recent exhibitions will highlight significant areas of interest and debate in contemporary art history and theory, for example, the legacy of modernism and postmodernism, ideas of community, and the impact of new technologies. 

ARTH 6084 - Elective Studies in Art History

This course is an advanced elective course for students who wish to pursue studies in the field of art history beyond the introduction established in the required courses. The specific course topic varies depending on faculty availability and interests.

ARTH 6098 - Art of Collecting

The purpose of this seminar is to study the art and history of collecting art, and other cultural material, by individuals and institutions. We will address the development of art, science, natural history, and history museums in the world (and perhaps even zoos and botanical gardens), and especially in the U.S. We will study patterns of intention and behavior among the great art collectors/philanthropists in the West and the ways in which their collections are seen and perceived by the public. This will involve an analysis of the politics of exhibition, ethics in acquiring items from other cultures, and social responsibility. We will examine the history and practice of museums of international, national, and local acclaim. We will also analyze current trends among contemporary collectors. This course is open to undergraduate students enrolling in the Undergraduate Museum Studies Certificate program.


Learning Outcome(s):

  • Through the application of research, discussion, and explicatory writing to the study of museum histories, students will demonstrate a critical understanding of museum operations and philosophies befitting of a graduate level.                            
  • By undertaking a museum internship students will demonstrate skills relating to the scope of work within an art institution.                 
  • By studying the history of museum exhibitions students will show the skill to use the terminology and concepts that have been applied to museum administration and institutional curating at different historical periods and in different cultures befitting of a graduate level.          
  • Through essays and discussions students will demonstrate the ability to analyze museum history, policy planning, and strategies for addressing future challenges befitting of a graduate level.                
  • Through analysis of historical examples, students will show knowledge of museum work as an interdisciplinary practice that incorporates evaluative writing, historical interpretation, educational innovation, and visual thinking befitting of a graduate level.                              
  • Students will master designing the physical layout of an exhibition.                  
  • Students will create interpretive materials for a museum exhibition.               
  • Students will understand how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a museum exhibition and make suggestions for its improvement.                     
  • Students will demonstrate a critical understanding of operations and philosophies through studying and mastering important case studies of museums and how they grew and developed over time.                    
  • Students will demonstrate a mastery of terminology and concepts of museum administration, development, financial management, exhibitions, marketing and auxiliary services.                          


Additional Requirements:

  • Application
  • $20 application fee
  • Transcripts that indicate receipt of a least a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA.

Any questions regarding the certificate program should be directed to