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Museum Education (MA)

Pending curricular review, the Museum Education program will merge with Museum Studies, which will have two emphases: Education and Engagement. 

Masters in Museum Education

Graduates with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Museum Education from University of the Arts lead the way for museums and nonprofits to fulfill their missions, guide their audiences, and implement key initiatives. You’ll gain the tools for pursuing knowledge through inquiry, exploring visual arts and digital design, engaging in creative problem-solving, and empowering your community as a collaborative partner.

Learning Objectives

The Museum Education MA program builds on a foundation of proven pedagogical theory and practices. This three-semester program prepares students to teach in a museum setting through learning theories and practical techniques paired with experience designing and facilitating curriculum and programs to audiences of all ages.

Our program provides small class sizes, personalized attention from faculty and encourages you to create professional networks with established museum professionals. Our faculty are working industry experts, many of whom are involved with museum committees on the national level, who provide the foremost knowledge to help you prepare for a career in museum education.

A Multidisciplinary Education

The Museum Studies programs are purposefully multi-disciplinary. Students take coursework housed in Art Education (MAT) such as Creative & Cognitive Development and Art & Inclusion. They may also select courses from studio and seminar resources in the School of Design.

Facilities

With premier facilities located on campus, students have access to the Center for Immersive Media, the Makerspace and the Product Design studio to take their coursework from a theoretical realm to the physical as they are challenged to prototype and evaluate their ideas.

Learning in Philadelphia

Our classroom is Philadelphia, the nation’s first UNESCO World Heritage City, with behind-the-scenes access to hundreds of museums, cultural institutions and historical sites—as lively and active today as they were in the 1700s. Our national network of alumni and partnering museums provide students with valuable and practical internship experiences as well as networking opportunities. The Museum Education MA program strikes a balance between practical and theoretical skills to prepare students for success in the field.

UArts is ideally situated between New York, Baltimore and Washington, DC with easy travel between cities. The Museum Studies department sponsors an annual trip to one of these cities each year. Philadelphia is the best place to learn our trade and take advantage of the rich and open cultural community. 

Our students hail from a diverse range of undergraduate programs. No matter their professional backgrounds, applicants who are driven by their passion to inspire others through education; build meaningful relationships with their communities; and create new, human-centered learning experiences are encouraged to apply.

Museum Programs at UArts

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. This 45-credit program takes 1.5 years, full time, to complete.

Explore Museum Studies

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. This 60-credit program takes two years, full time, to complete.

Explore MEPD

MA Museum Education

The Museum Education program prepares students to lead the way for museums and nonprofits to fulfill their missions, educate their audiences, and implement key educational initiatives. You’ll gain the tools for pursuing knowledge through inquiry, exploring visual arts and digital design, engaging in creative problem-solving, and empowering your community as a collaborative partner. This 45-credit program takes 1.5 years, full time, to complete.

Who Should Apply

Museum Education students include those with a focus on facilitating learning in museums. Our students recognize the need for collaborative, interdisciplinary and cross-functional skills and approaches in the museum workplace. They hail from a diverse range of undergraduate programs including anthropology, sociology, history, the natural sciences, studio art, art history and English. 

We look for team-oriented people with a strong desire to successfully connect museums and similar cultural organizations with diverse audiences, external stakeholders and partners.

Apply now

Visit the course catalogue

 

Events

Every fall semester, the Museum Studies Department leads a field trip to renowned institutions in New York or Washington, DC to provide further connections to professionals working the field and gaining a behind the scenes perspective.

There are additional field trips embedded in certain core courses. During Exploring Education in Philadelphia Museums, students take weekly field trips to some of Philadelphia’s iconic museums and hidden cultural and historic gems. Students get to experience educational programming and gain a behind-the-scenes view of how these museums operate. This encounter during the first semester of the program introduces students to future mentors, internship supervisors and/or future employers in the museum field.

Every spring semester, the first year cohort takes a field trip as part of their Collaborative Exhibition Project to a group of museums and historic sites relating to the special collection of their exhibition development experience.

Curriculum

The Museum Education program will provide you with the professional foundation, terminology and skills—both practical as well as theoretical—for your professional success. You will see how your discipline fits into the bigger picture of museum work, what your responsibilities are and how best to work with other professionals. 

As a Museum Education student, you will become an expert on audience, which is the foundation of all museum work. You’ll hone your skills in crafting and communicating content of all kinds to preschoolers, primary and secondary school youth; teachers; young adults; seniors; and others. You’ll learn about educational theory for people of all ages and learning styles; how to research, develop, design and implement educational programs; and many other aspects of museum education. 

Skill-building is balanced with real-world challenges through partnerships with museums, nonprofits and other cultural institutions. Designed for collaboration, UArts’ program offers you the opportunity to apply all you will learn about traditional and contemporary approaches to full, complex team-based projects—the professional standard of the museum field.

Sample Curriculum

Total Credits: 45
Duration: 1.5 years, full time

Expand all Collapse all
First Year

Fall
Museums: History/Theory/Practice (1.5c)
Museum Audiences and Evaluation (3c)
Creative and Cognitive Development (3c)
Exploring Education in Philadelphia Museums (3c)
Essentials of Graphic Software (1.5c)
Museum Graphics Principles (3c)

Spring
Museum Learning: Theory and Practice  (3c)
Collaborative Exhibition Project (3c)
Digital Media for Museum Interpretation (3c)
Museum Internship (3c)
Thesis/Capstone Research (3c)

Summer
Internship (3c)

Second Year

Fall
Graduate Seminar(3c)
Thesis/Capstone Development (3c)
Electives (6c)

Center for Immersive Media

UArts’ Center for Immersive Media (CIM) is a 5,600-square-foot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction.

Learn more.

Makerspace

University of the Arts’ Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace is a 3,500-square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio that serves as a catalyst for the collaboration, experimentation and innovation that’s characteristic of UArts.

Learn more.

Our faculty are working museum professionals who are well-known in their respective fields and have extensive networks of prominent professionals and institutions.

Program Leaders

Mickey Maley
Mickey Maley

Museum Education (MA)
Museum Education and Museum Studies Program Director
Museum Exhibition Planning & Design program leader Stephanie Reyer
Stephanie Reyer

Museum Exhibition Planning & Design (MFA)
Museum Exhibition Planning & Design Program Leader

Faculty Spotlight

Michael Adams
Mike Adams

Museum Studies (MA)
Director of education at the National Constitution Center who commits to serving the small-museum community
Polly McKenna-Cress, Director of Museum Studies
Polly McKenna-Cress

Museum Studies (MA)
Chief engagement officer of the Please Touch Museum with over 30 years of experience in museums and design firms
Richard Cress
Richard Cress

Museum Studies (MA)
Principal of Alusiv design studio with over 30 years of experience in design services
Ellen Owens
Ellen Owens

MA '06 (Museum Education)

Museum Studies (MA)
Merle-Smith Director of Learning Programs at the Penn Museum; president of Emerging Art Leaders: Philadelphia
Robert Vosburgh headshot
Robert Vosburgh

Museum Studies (MA)
Director of gift planning at the University of Pennsylvania
Mira Zergani headshot
Mira Zergani

Museum Studies (MA)
Director of development at the Morris Arboretum with over 25 years of experience in fundraising and nonprofit management

Awards & Accolades

In 2020, Mike Adams won the Small Museum Association (SMA) Award for his dedication to small museums and historic sites in the Philadelphia area. The SMA recognizes a museum professional each year, celebrating an individual’s outstanding contributions to the advancement of funding for, professional growth within, and/or the accessibility of information to the small museum community on a regional or state level.  

The small Museum Education cohort size allows for personalized mentorship from the program director and faculty in order to guide students towards their anticipated career path. Internships are an opportunity for students to gain practical experience and mentorship outside of the program in a variety of museum fields. Seminars and guest speakers allow students to learn from and network with industry professionals. Over the course of the program, students’ portfolios are developed through projects, internships and thesis. 

 

A tour guide at the Penn Museum talks about a piece of art with a student.
A trip to study the Penn Museum.

Internships, Off-Campus Experience and Part-Time Jobs

Collaborations with a diverse range of Philadelphia institutions are integrated both within the semester coursework, as well as the two required internships in the spring and summer. Summer internships can be held anywhere in the world. UArts is also pleased to offer one fully funded summer internship for a Museum Education student at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. See the Scholarship section for details on how to apply.

During all semesters of the program, students complete course projects in many museums such as the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, the Franklin Institute, the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Philadelphia History Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Many students also find part-time jobs in museums and other Philadelphia cultural organizations.
 

Featured Alumni

Alumni of the program are leaders, shapers and decision-makers in museums and cultural institutions around the country and abroad. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of settings, from museums of art and science to exhibit design firms and galleries. 

Recent graduates include

  • Amber Emory ’19 (Museum Education), Director of Education and Community Partnerships, National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

  • Meg Scanlon ’19 (Museum Education), Program Coordinator, European Cultural Academy, Venice, Italy

  • Hannah Wallace ’18 (Museum Education), Educational Programming Manager, African American Museum, Philadelphia.

  • Mary Bailey MA ’10 (Museum Education), Youth and Family Programs Developer, Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, Philadelphia.

Students looks at fossils at the Wagner Free Institute of Science.
A trip to study the Wagner Free Institute of Science.

Common careers Museum Education (MA) graduates have include

  • Museum educator, 

  • Education director, 

  • Event planner, 

  • Volunteer coordinator, 

  • Community-relationship coordinator, 

  • STEM Experience manager and

  • Outreach manager.

Museums and Institutions in Philadelphia that have hired UArts alumni include

  • Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University

  • African American Museum

  • Fleisher Art Memorial

  • Magic Gardens

  • Museum of the American Revolution

  • Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

  • The Barnes Foundation

  • The Franklin Institute

  • Penn Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology

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. You can see our graduates on LinkedIn. You can also request to join our LinkedIn Group. We invite you to explore the array of careers our graduates secure.

Scholarships

Graduate merit-based scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and demonstrated talent. These are awarded based on entrance materials, no separate application is required. The Trustee’s, Dean’s and Director’s scholarships are highly selective awards and range in amount, up to approximately 40% of tuition.

The Museum Studies Von Hess Internship Fellowship

With the generous support of the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, UArts is pleased to offer three, fully funded internship opportunities to UArts Museum Studies students in partnership with three acclaimed institutions: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA; the Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Walters Art Museum, both in Baltimore, MD.

Benefits
Successful students professionally benefit from a ten-week internship experience tailored to their area of study, as well a living stipend of $7–$8K, dependent on the internship placement.

How to Apply
Graduate students must be enrolled and be in good standing (3.0 or above) in one of the three Museum Studies degree programs. Students apply at the start of their second semester (February) and complete the Von Hess application by the due date (resume, essay of professional purpose and goals, 2 letters of recommendation from MS faculty, and an official UArts transcript). Grad students are put forward by the department to the host museums that make the final decisions.

Financial Aid

Most graduate students enrolled on a full-time basis are eligible for some type of need-based aid. Additionally, some scholarship opportunities take need-based criteria into account. All students who are US Citizens or eligible non-citizens and are enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Learn more about graduate financial aid.

Cost of attendance includes annual tuition and can include on-campus housing, meals, books and supplies, laptops, transportation, a student services fee, lab fees (for certain courses), health insurance, and personal expenses. Many of our graduate students receive financial aid and scholarships to help offset these costs.

See graduate tuition and fees.

How to Apply

Pending curricular review, the Museum Education program will merge with Museum Studies, which will have two emphases: Education and Engagement.

Learn more about the Museum Studies (MA) program and apply now.

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