Museum Studies at the University of the Arts offers three distinctive graduate programs that put contemporary museum theory and practice into the hands of our students: Museum Studies (MA), Museum Education (MA), Museum Exhibition Planning & Design (MFA). If you are interested in furthering your education through the study of museum design and planning, and you are passionate about the social and cultural impact of museums on society, look no further than the broad selection of graduate level museum programs at UArts.

3 Distinct Programs, 1 Great Department

MA Museum Studies

Our students recognize the need for interdisciplinary and cross-functional skills and approaches in the museum workplace. You'll explore the conception, planning, design, creation, and delivery of museum content and programs, as well as understand the many audiences they seek to engage.

Explore Museum Studies Curriculum

MFA Museum Exhibition Planning + Design

The MEPD Program prepares students to be critical and strategic thinkers in the world of exhibition and program development and design. Our grads are expert story-tellers, content creators and designers for a broad range of audiences, and go on to work in museums, creative agencies and non-profits.

Explore MEPD Curriculum

MA Museum Education

Museum Education produces graduates with the depth and flexibility to work in all types of museums—history, art, science, natural history, archaeology, anthropology, culturally specific, and children’s—in a range of capacities from educator and engagement officer, to program and department directors.

Explore Museum Ed Curriculum

Our graduates are working in the field

Our graduates go on to work in a variety of settings, from museums of history, art, natural history, science, archaeology and anthropology, amongst others, to exhibit design firms, auction houses, galleries and even creative agencies as UI / UX designers. Below are just a few of our recent graduates.

Jessica Jenkins MA '12 (Museum Communications)
Jessica Jenkins

MA '12 (Museum Communications)

Museum Studies (MA)
Manager of Marketing & Public Relations, Delaware Art Museum
Ken Davis MFA '10 (Museum Exhibition Planning + Design)
Ken Davis

MFA '10 (Museum Exhibition Planning + Design)

Museum Studies (MA)
Exhibit Designer, National Park Service
Mary Bailey Manager of Public Engagement
Mary Bailey

MA '10 (Museum Education)

Museum Studies (MA)
Manager of Public Engagement, Academy of Natural Sciences
Claire Cossaboon MA '13 (Museum Communications)
Claire Cossaboon

MA '13 (Museum Communications)

Museum Studies (MA)
Membership Manager, Grounds for Sculpture

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Program Leaders

Karen Pollard, Acting Director, Museum Studies
Karen Pollard

Museum Studies (MA)
Acting Director, Museum Studies Program Leader
Stephanie Reyer
Stephanie Reyer

Museum Studies (MA)
Museum Exhibition Planning + Design Program Leader
Ellen Owens
Ellen Owens

Museum Studies (MA)
Museum Education Co-Program Leader
Michael Adams
Michael Adams

Museum Studies (MA)
Museum Education Co-Program Leader

Featured Faculty

Our faculty are all currently practicing (and occasionally retired) museum professionals with backgrounds in fields ranging from science, history, design, cultural anthropology among others.

Polly McKenna-Cress, Director of Museum Studies
Polly McKenna-Cress

Museum Studies (MA)
Chief Engagement Officer, Please Touch Museum
Dana Schloss
Dana Schloss

Museum Studies (MA)
Senior Lecturer, Museum Studies
Richard Cress
Richard Cress

Museum Studies (MA)
Master Lecturer, Museum Studies
Laura Foster
Laura Foster

Museum Studies (MA)
Adjunct Associate, Museum Studies

Featured Alum

Mary Bailey Manager of Public Engagement
Mary Bailey

MA '10 (Museum Education)

Museum Studies (MA)
Manager of Public Engagement, Academy of Natural Sciences
Ken Davis MFA '10 (Museum Exhibition Planning + Design)
Ken Davis

MFA '10 (Museum Exhibition Planning + Design)

Museum Studies (MA)
Exhibit Planner, National Parks Service
Jessica Jenkins MA '12 (Museum Communications)
Jessica Jenkins

MA '12 (Museum Communications)

Museum Studies (MA)
Manager of Marketing & Public Relations, Delaware Art Museum
Claire Cossaboon MA '13 (Museum Communications)
Claire Cossaboon

MA '13 (Museum Communications)

Museum Studies (MA)
Membership Manager, Grounds for Sculpture

Our Recent Grads are Sought After.


It doesn't take long for our new grads to land careers - many are hired before they even walk in commencement! Alumni of the program are leaders, shapers and decision-makers in museums and cultural institutions around the country and abroad. Below is a short list of recent graduates and institutions for which they have worked.

JEWISH MUSEUM, NEW YORK
Christine McMonagle ‘09

THE BARNES FOUNDATION, PHILADELPHIA
Anne Baker, ‘13

FLEISHER ART MEMORIAL, PHILADELPHIA
Leah Gelb, ‘15

DELAWARE ART MUSEUM
Amy Hussey, ‘11

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE, PHILADELPHIA
Allison Aubrey, ‘13

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK
Allegra Burnette ‘95

SOUTHEASTERN CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART, CHICAGO
Michael Christiano

MAGIC GARDENS, PHILADELPHIA
Ellen Owens ‘06

THE NEW 42ND STREET, NEW YORK
Karl Allens ‘12

UPENN MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY, PHILADELPHIA
Layla Ballner ‘13

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM
Louise Barrett ‘14

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HEALTH & MEDICINE, SILVER SPRING
Helaina Blume ‘14


Our Grads Love What They Do.

Alumni Spotlight: Connecting with Claire is a portrait of alumna Claire Cossaboon MA ‘13 (Museum Communication), currently the membership manager at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey.  


Want More? Explore Our Network. 

Our 25+ year legacy at UArts means we have over 300+ graduates practicing in the field. Below is a partial list of some of our graduates, with links to their LinkdIn Profiles. You can also request to join our LinkdIn Group. We invite you to explore the array of careers our graduates secure.

With three areas of scholarship at its core – cultural research and policy, communication strategies, and creative content – the program readies students for a wide range of communication, planning, and management roles in the museum and related fields, helping institutions connect to the audiences, community members, donors, media representatives and policy-makers they seek to engage.

Students in the Museum Studies program pursue a course of study that balances theory with application. The curriculum is grounded, current and relevant. Courses on information literacy, graphic and content design, marketing and communications planning, visitor experience, governance, and fundraising are complemented by immersive hands-on learning experiences as well as internships and apprenticeships with many of the greater Philadelphia region’s more than 1,200 museums and cultural institutions. Students also benefit from inter-departmental courses shared with other Museum Studies students at UArts.

Sample Curriculum:

Total Credits: 45
Duration: 1.5 years, full-time

Year One

FALL
Basics of Graphic Software (1.5c)
Museology (3c)
The Museum Audience (3c)
Museum Graphics (1.5c)
Museum Communication Research (3c)
Development, Fundraising, and Grantsmanship (3c)

Year Two

FALL
Media for Museum Communication (3c)
Museum Governance: Legal Issues, Ethics & Museums (3c)
Museum Communication Thesis/Capstone (3c)
Elective (3c)

SPRING
Branding and Marketing Principles (3c)
Integrated Communication Strategies (3c)
Museum Audience Seminar (3c)
Independent Study Practicum (3c)
Graduate Museum Project: Museum Communication (3c)

SUMMER
Internship (3c)


Internships, Off-campus Experience and Part-Time Jobs


Collaboration with outside institutions are integrated both within the semester coursework, as well as the required six-week summer internship (120 hours minimum). Recent collaboration between Museum Studies students and the National Constitution Center allowed students to conduct program planning and installation for the exhibit “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen,” while at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Museum Communication students managed communication for the museum and Geekadelphia’s “Philadelphia Geek Awards.” In yet another community partnership, students managed press and media activity for the Michener Art Museum’s “From Philadelphia to Monaco: GRACE KELLY Beyond the Icon” exhibition. Students have explored crowdfunding as a millennial donor cultivation and engagements tool for museums, the benefits and drawbacks of social couponing and discounting for museums, and professionalizing and training museum volunteers.

Who Should Apply

Our students recognize the need for interdisciplinary and cross-functional skills and approaches in the museum workplace. We want you to bring your own perspectives, experiences, and academic expertise to the mix. We look for team-oriented students with a strong desire to successfully connect museums and similar cultural organizations with diverse audiences, internal stakeholders, and partners. Our students hail from a diverse range of undergraduate programs from anthropology, sociology and history, to graphic design, art, and english.

Start your application, view the complete curriculum with course descriptions on the Registrar's Course Catalogue site, or return to Museum Studies home page.

Apply Now    Visit Course Catalogue

How to Apply

Application Deadline: The University of the Arts operates on a rolling admissions basis, meaning there is no specific application deadline. However, graduate programs are filled on a space available basis, and applicants are encouraged to apply early as some programs may fill. Additionally, certain scholarship awards may have priority consideration deadlines. Please review Graduate Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarship information here.

To apply, the following materials are required:

  • Application Fee of $60 (nonrefundable; submitted with your application)
  • Official Transcripts
    • Official transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate schools attended are required. Transcripts should be issued directly by the Registrar's Office at the college(s) attended and sent to the Office of Admissions, The University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to gradcredentials@uarts.edu. For transcripts from outside the United States, please refer to the instructions provided below for international students.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation may either be requested through the online application form, or mailed to the Office of Admissions. At least two must come from professors or professional in your field familiar with your capabilities and credentials. The third may be from a colleague, collaborator or a peer.
  • Statement of Intent & Resume
    • Your Statement of Intent and your Resume are uploaded and submitted as part of your online application. Statements should be a minimum of one- to two-pages and detail your professional plans, interests and goals. What do you hope to gain by your studies at the graduate level? Your resume should highlight all of your professional accomplishments including employment, internships, honors, exhibitions and publications.
  • Creative Portfolio
    • A portfolio of professional work samples submitted through the UArts Graduate SlideRoom Portal is required for all Museum Studies applicants. Specific criteria varies by program (Museum Exhibition Planning & Design, Museum Studies, or Museum Education), and further instructions can be found at the UArts Graduate SlideRoom Portal. There is a $10 fee to submit a portfolio in addition to the $60 application fee.
  • Personal Interview
    • After the application has been processed, each applicant is contacted for a personal interview conducted by the program director. For applicants who cannot interview at the university, interviews can be conducted via telephone or Skype.

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit:

  • Official Transcripts and Transcript Evaluation
    • All applicants with transcripts from outside the United States are required to submit transcripts officially translated into English. A transcript evaluation by a NACES-approved evaluator is required in order for an application to be complete, and a decision made. A Course-by-Course report is required and it is the applicant's responsibility to contract directly with the agency for this service and provide the necessary documents. While applicants may use any NACES-approved accredited evaluating agency, the University recommends World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE).
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency
    • International applicants whose primary language is not English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 92 (iBT) or 580 (PBT) or higher, an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher is required for unconditional admission.

Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study may receive an offer of conditional admission that first requires enrollment in the University of the Arts' English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete Level 9 of ESL study in ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies.

In special circumstances, applicants who have not taken the TOEFL or IELTS can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted in writing and include the reason for opting not to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require an interview.

I20/F-1 International Student Visa Information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by the University of the Arts International Student Programs Office, regarding visa counseling and all materials required to create an I-20 in order to obtain an F-1 visa. Contact Mara Flamm, director, International Student Programs, with any questions regarding your I20 or F-1 visa.


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