May 20, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Museum Science and Management, M.A.

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Return to The Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences .  

Kirsten Olds, Art History
William Smith, Associate Director, Helmerich Center for American Research

The Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences, in collaboration with the Gilcrease Museum and various academic departments in other colleges on TU campus, offers an interdisciplinary program leading to a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in museum science and management. The Museum Science and Management (MSM) program provides both interdisciplinary coursework and “hands-on” experience designed to prepare future museum professionals in the areas of administration, fiscal management, collections care and research, and education. Students gain experience in using objects and collections in research, exhibition, publication, and programming, as well as a background in museum administration, leadership, and fundraising. Internships at regional or national cultural institutions provide practical experience for students in their selected area of specialization.

The staff of the Gilcrease Museum and the faculty at TU collaborate to provide in-depth opportunities to specialize in the curation, care, and exhibition of American art, archaeology, ethnology, and archives. Students will be mentored in topics and issues related to professionalism and career development, such as helping students prepare resumes and cover letters, joining professional organizations, participating in appropriate regional or national meetings, and becoming conversant in important contemporary issues related to museum work.


The MSM program prepares the next generation of museum professionals through classroom preparation, a commitment to hands-on projects, and meaningful internships for all museum science and management students. Secondarily, the MSM program strives to serve the regional and national museum communities, to train new professionals, and to provide enhancement of skills for those who have existing positions.

Learning Objectives

Students who complete the M.A. in museum science and management program will:

  • Develop basic skills for cataloguing museum and archival collections,
  • Learn basic conservation principles needed by all museum professionals,
  • Develop the ability to design the layout for an exhibition and to write descriptive labels,
  • Receive grounding in applicable legal and ethical perspectives of museum work,
  • Develop the ability to work as part of a team, and
  • Understand how to use visitor survey data to evaluate exhibitions and programs.


Candidates for admission to the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in museum science and management must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School, including language proficiency, found in the Admission section of this Bulletin. Applicants must be approved by the Graduate School and the program director and satisfy the following requirements:

  • Results from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Writing sample that demonstrates the student’s research and/or critical thinking skills.
  • Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0. Students who do not satisfy this requirement but have at least a 3.0 GPA in their major field may be admitted on probation by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the Graduate Program Advisor. Probationary status is removed by completing nine credit hours of approved graduate study with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in one semester for a full-time student and within three semesters for a part-time student.
  • Letters of recommendation from at least three professors or former supervisors who are familiar with the applicant’s technical background, work performance, and academic potential.
  • Statement of purpose that includes a description of the applicant’s background, rationale for the desired track, specific interests in museum science and management, and long-term professional objectives.

The GRE requirement for the graduate program in museum science and management is waived for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Curriculum Requirements

The M.A. in museum science and management degree program requires the completion of 33 credit hours, including classroom instruction coupled with work in a museum setting.

Museum Science and Management Core (12 hours)

Tracks (12 hours)

One of the following tracks:

Museum Administration Track

Twelve hours selected from the following:

Informal Education and Object-based Learning Track

Collections Care, Digitization, and Research Track

Electives (9 hours)

Electives in accounting, anthropology, chemistry, communications, geosciences, history, law, management, and marketing selected with approval of the Graduate Program Advisor.

Professional Development Courses

All students in the program must complete at least two of the following professional development courses.

Internship or Capstone Project

Students are required to successfully complete an internship in a museum. The internship component may be completed with a zero credit hour enrollment but if a student chooses to enroll in additional credit hours, no more than six credit hours of MSM 7440-6 Museum Internship  will count towards the master’s degree. Students holding professional positions within a museum are required to successfully complete a three credit hour enrollment in MSM 7551-3 Museum Project  in lieu of an internship.

All master’s students are advised by the Director of the Museum Science and Management program.

If a student wishes to change track after admission, the student must request permission of the Program Director and Dean of Arts and Sciences, preferably before the end of their first semester (or for part-time students, before completing nine credit hours). If a student desires to change his/her track, the Director will consult with the appropriate graduate program advisor regarding the student’s request to assure that the student has the appropriate background.

Students who anticipate enrolling in the MSM 7551-3 Museum Project  course should select a research advisor by the beginning of the second semester to determine an appropriate sequence of coursework and to address early steps which may be necessary as part of the project.

A 3.0 grade point average is required of all students in the Graduate School. No graduate credit is given for a course in which a grade lower than C has been received. Project and internship grades are recorded on a Pass/Fail basis; passing grades in these courses are required for the degree.

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