Programs by Campus


Museum Studies
School of Liberal Arts

Departmental E-mail: museum [at] iupui [dot] edu

Departmental URL:



Museum Studies Program

The Museum Studies Program provides an integration of mu­seum history and theory with hands-on instruction in museum techniques and practices. It encompasses the scholarly explora­tion of museums, including their history, operations, ethics and role in society from interdisciplinary perspectives, while also training students in the technical aspects of museum work such as collections care and management, administration, educa­tion, exhibit planning and design, curatorial practices, visitor studies and technology.

As an urban university, IUPUI is part of a community with a rich heritage of museums and cultural arts. Faculty appointed as Public Scholars of Civic Engagement craft relationships and sustainable partnerships with area museums and cultural in­stitutions and involve undergraduate and graduate students in meaningful ways in those collaborations. The Museum Studies Program has an extensive network of adjunct faculty and guest lecturers who bring state-of-the-art museum practice to the curriculum. The program also offers opportunities for student learning through the resources of the museum com­munity with experiences such as internships; collaboration on exhibit development and design; exhibition- and collections-fo­cused projects; collections research; collaboration with faculty on museum research projects; and participation in museum-sponsored seminars, lectures, and professional meetings. The integral role of Indianapolis museums in the Museum Studies curriculum fosters a critical, reflective, and scholarly discourse on museums that is applied to current practices and issues in the field.

The program offers a master’s degree and both an under­graduate and a graduate certificate. Students considering application to the certificate or degree program are welcome in the classes. Students admitted to the graduate program may apply to count credits earned as a non-degree student toward their graduate credential (up to 6 credits toward the graduate certificate and up to 8 credits toward the Master's degree). Please see the Web site for admis­sions deadlines and current course offerings.

Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies (18 credit hours) provides stu­dents with interdisciplinary training in museum practice and a knowledge of contemporary issues in the museum field. It trains students in specialized aspects of museum practice such as education, exhibit planning and design, collections care, curatorial practices, philanthropy, and nonprofit management by combining Museum Studies course work with curriculum in other IU schools (e.g., Public History, Philanthropic Studies, Education, SPEA, Library Science). Students are given an introduction to the history and philosophy of museums and an opportunity to focus on particular aspects of museum practice.

The Graduate Certificate may be taken as a freestanding credential or paired with graduate work in another related discipline. Because it offers an opportunity to focus on specific areas of museum practice, the graduate certificate is also a suitable credential for current museum professionals who wish to enhance their professional training or develop new special­ties. For specific requirements and options for cross-listed courses, see the Museum Studies web site or meet with an academic advisor.

Master’s Degree

The Museum Studies M.A. curriculum (36 credit hours) consists of a required introductory course, a set of integrated core courses which provide a broad-based interdisciplinary training in museum practice, a choice of elective courses that allow the student to develop a particular specialty, and a capstone colloquium course preparing students for entry into the museum workforce. The course work is complemented by an internship that provides an opportunity for an intensive applied learning experience in a museum. The interdisciplinary curriculum and flexible structure allow stu­dents to achieve either a generalist breadth suitable for those working in smaller museums or to focus on a particular area of museum practice appropriate for a specialist on the staff of a larger museum.

Team-based and applied projects form a core learning experi­ence in all classes and present opportunities to work with com­munity partners as well as peers in the program. Team proj­ects such as exhibit development and visitor studies prepare students for the collaborative approach that is central to the museum field.

Course Requirements

The Museum Studies Graduate Certificate consists of 18 credit hours of course work, including a required introductory course (3 cr.), an internship (3 cr.), two core courses (6 cr.), and a choice of two additional courses (6 cr.) from a list of museum studies courses. The master’s degree program consists of 36 credit hours of course work, including a required introductory course (3 cr.), four core courses (12 cr.), an internship (6 cr.), a colloquium (3 cr.), and a choice of four courses from the elec­tives (12 cr.) All these courses must be passed with a grade of B– or above in order to count for the certificate or the degree. Internships must be approved by a faculty advisor prior to registration.

All students should file a curricu­lum plan with the Museum Studies office before the end of their first semester.

Graduate Certificate requirements (18 cr.)

  • MSTD A503 Introduction to Museum Studies (3 cr.)
  • MSTD A508 Museum Internship (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (6 cr.)
  • Elective (6 cr.)

M.A. requirements (36 cr.)

  • MSTD A503 Introduction to Museum Studies (3 cr.)
  • MSTD A508 Museum Internship (6 cr.)
  • MSTD A530 Museum Colloquium (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (12 cr.)
  • Electives (12 cr.)

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