Academics

The Museum Studies Graduate Program provides the training and experience necessary to begin a successful museum career. The program is known for its academic excellence, strong faculty and internship opportunities at many of the world's top museums.

Several degree options are offered to help students pick a program that best suits their needs and goals:

Read more below about each program's curriculum and exam/writing requirements.

MA Program

  • 42 total credit hours of work in museum, academic and internship courses (One course = 3 credit hours)
  • 24 credit hours of museum studies courses
  • 12 credit hours of content area courses
  • 6 credit hours of internship training
  • Satisfactory completion of the Museum Studies comprehensive exams - Satisfactory fulfillment of the Graduate Writing Requirement

Time Limitation

The Museum Studies Program adheres to the time limitation guidelines set forth by the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences of the George Washington University. A student has four years to complete the requirements leading to a Master's degree.

On-Campus Certificate

  • 18 total credit hours of work in museum, academic and internship courses (one course = 3 credit hours)
  • 12 credit hours of Museum Studies courses
  • 6 credit hours of internship training
  • Satisfactory fulfillment of the Graduate Writing Requirement

Time Limitation

Certificate candidates are expected to complete their prescribed studies within one calendar year. Exceptions to this rule are made on an individual basis.

Distance Education Certificate

12 credit hours of predetermined Museum Studies courses

Time Limitation

Distance Education Certificate candidates are expected to complete their prescribed studies within four consecutive semesters.

Comprehensive Exams

Master of Arts degree candidates must pass a comprehensive examination that includes questions from their Museum Studies Concentration.

  • Comprehensive Exams (Comps) are given twice a year. 
  • Students take the exam their last semester in their program.
  • Fall graduates should plan on taking the exam in early November.
  • Spring and Summer graduates should plan on taking the exam in early March.

Writing Requirements

Master of Arts degree and On-Campus Certificate candidates must submit a research paper to fulfill the Museum Studies Writing Requirement.

  • This paper should demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct independent research and should make some contribution to the student’s academic discipline and museum studies concentration.
  • The paper can be especially prepared for this purpose or can be a revised research paper originally written for a museum studies, academic core, or directed research course.
  • Papers are evaluated based on clarity, succinctness, originality, and quality of research.
  • When submitted, all papers must have the Writing Requirement Form attached.

Writing Requirement Forms can be found here. This form must be signed by both the student and the professor from the course for which the paper was originally written - or the professor who advised the paper, if it was written specifically for this requirement.

Students interested in submitting a paper for the Marie C. Malaro Excellence in Research & Writing Award may submit the same paper for both the Writing Requirement and Malaro Award, but please keep in mind that an academic core paper cannot be submitted for the Malaro Award. To be considered for the Malaro Award, your paper must be submitted for the March 1st (Spring) or December 1st (Fall) due date.

Writing Requirement in Five Easy Steps

  1. Choose a paper you wrote while in graduate school, or at GW, or choose a research topic for your paper.
  2. Meet with the professor for whom you wrote the original paper or meet with a faculty member who has an area of expertise in your research topic.
  3. Revise or write the paper, incorporating notes and comments from the faculty member who has an area of expertise in your research topic
  4. Once the faculty member says the paper is sufficient for your writing requirement, fill out the Writing Requirement Form and have that faculty member sign it.
  5. Turn in your paper (with the signed Writing Requirement Form) by the due date.

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Quote from an Alumna

Quote from an Alumna

"I chose to attend GW because it has one of the best Museum Studies programs in the country. It is nationally recognized and highly recommended within the museum field. Plus, it is in the heart of Washington, D.C., where most of the major museums in the country are located."

- Megan Rivers, MA Museum Studies