Museums are places of life-long learning and the MA in Museum Education produces graduates with the depth and flexibility to work in galleries and other public spaces, off-site, in print, and in digital media in all types of museums—history, art, science, natural history, archaeology, anthropology, culturally specific, and children’s. The 3-semester program accepts students from across the country and around the world for the fall term each year to Philadelphia, a city with a diverse range of museum types and sizes.

We prepare graduates to:

  • Teach in the gallery with objects.
  • Use a variety of means for interpreting object and experiences for children, teens, and adults including tours, lessons, public programs, print, and digital media.
  • Understand the administrative skills needed to support successful education and public programs including budgeting, fund-raising, visitor studies and evaluation.

What is the curriculum?

Coursework comprises four areas: an education core addressing theory and methods of interpretation and museum teaching; a focus on museum history, theory, and practice; a professional core including internships; the writing and defense of a master’s thesis.

We teach with the much-discussed 21st-century skills that students will eventually use on the job:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem-solving—Courses such as Museology and Educational Programming for Museums use real-world issues for discussion and practice; the master’s thesis involves researching a new question for the museum field
  • Creativity and Innovation—Project-based courses such as Museum Graphics and Media for Museum Communication cover design techniques for print and digital media
  • Communication—Courses such as Creative and Cognitive Psychology and Museum Education Practicum help students understand all types of visitors
  • Collaboration—Courses involve group and team projects such as The Museum Audience (conducting a visitor evaluation) and Graduate Museum Project (designing an exhibition), both based on a Philadelphia museum

Elective possibilities include Development, Fundraising and Grantsmanship; Museum Publications, Public Relations and Marketing, and, in other UArts departments, Multicultural Learning—Arts and Introduction to Interactive Programming.

Who are our students?

While our program is located in a school of visual and performing arts, we believe that a mix of students from art, history, cultural history, and the sciences makes for a lively exchange of ideas about the potential for museums.

How do I apply?

For information, contact Helen M. Shannon, Ph. D., Director of the Museum Education Program at hshannon@uarts.edu. To start the application process, contact the University’s Admissions Office.

Admission to the program is competitive based on college performance in an academic discipline and previous museum or gallery experience as an intern, volunteer, or staff. UArts offers financial assistance based on scholarly achievement and financial need.

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