Minor in Museum Studies
College of Liberal & Creative Arts
Dean: Dr. Andrew Harris
School of Art
Director: Dr. Gwen Allen
Museum Studies Program
Director and Graduate Coordinator: Edward M. Luby
The mission of the Museum Studies Program is to develop future museum professionals through highly structured coursework in a setting where museums’ educational efforts, collections, and interactions with the community are of central concern. Students are engaged in a 21st-century landscape, where responsiveness to the significant changes taking place in the museum profession are integrated into curriculum, activities, and professional development.
The Museum Studies Program offers an undergraduate minor and a terminal Master of Arts (M.A.) degree. The Museum Studies Minor is rigorous, interdisciplinary, and pre-professional in nature. Coursework emphasizes acquiring knowledge in museum practice and theory to understand the public service role of museums and to apply this knowledge to support the work of museums in creating exhibits, educating the public, and caring for collections, through collaborative efforts.
The M.A. in Museum Studies is unique to SF State, and the only one of its kind in a public university in the state of California, either in the California State University or the University of California systems. The M.A. degree is designed to provide professional training in major areas of museum work—Museum Management & Fundraising, Curatorship, Registration/Collections Management, Exhibition Design, Cultural Property Law and Protection, and Museum Education & Public Programming.
The program supports a museum with permanent collections of cultural and ethnographic artifacts. The Global Museum, located in the Fine Arts building, is volunteer-operated and admission is free. Museum Studies students staff the museum and produce all exhibitions and related educational and public programming. Other facilities include a specialized lab, teaching space, and collections storage.
Alumni of the Museum Studies Program have found employment at all career levels in museums of all sizes and types throughout the U.S. The Museum Studies Program partners with the School of Art, Special Collections at the Leonard Library, and other units on campus on projects and courses that prepare students for employment in all types of museums, cultural arts centers, arts commissions, historical sites and houses, science centers, environmental education centers, libraries with exhibition programs, exhibit design firms, auction houses, planetaria, aquaria, zoos, and botanical gardens.
- Acquire and combine general education skills with relevant knowledge and information on museum practice and theory to understand and discuss the public service role of museums in a multicultural world
- Apply knowledge of museum practice and theory as a pre-professional to support the work of museums in creating exhibits, educating the public, caring for collections, and serving the public, through collaborative work
- Use written, oral, and critical thinking skills to apply knowledge of museum practice and theory to evaluate the work of museums
- Acquire knowledge of museum practice and theory to serve as an advocate for the role of museums as centers of education, community, and preservation
- Identify the core features of museum professionalism (ethical codes, professional societies, interpersonal skills, teamwork, career development resources).
- Outline the broad history of museums, their core organizational features, and basic museum theory.
- Acquire knowledge of key areas in museum research and practice, specifically in: collections care and registration; museum management and fundraising; and exhibition design.
- Depending upon their emphasis, students will acquire knowledge of at least one of the following key areas in museum research and practice: curatorship; cultural property law and protection; museum education.
- Depending upon their emphasis, students will acquire or have the option of acquiring knowledge in museum research and practice in the areas of audience development, digital asset management, global operations, or conservation.
- Conduct independent research that leads to either a written thesis or an exhibit component.
Minor in Museum Studies
The Museum Studies Minor is rigorous, interdisciplinary, and pre-professional in nature. Coursework emphasizes acquiring knowledge in museum practice and theory to understand the public service role of museums and to apply this knowledge to support the work of museums in creating exhibits, educating the public, and caring for collections, through collaborative efforts. Students gain a useful set of pre-professional skills in museum practice, relevant information about museum theory and history, and learn about future careers in museums and informal educational settings. Written, oral and, critical thinking skills are developed to evaluate the work of museums.
The Museum Studies Minor will prepare students for the terminal M.A. degree in Museum Studies, or for additional on-the-job training for work in museums. Graduates will appreciate the role and power of museums in the world as centers of learning, enjoyment, and community engagement, and as stewards of cultural and natural heritage.
All coursework used to satisfy the requirements of the minor must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.0.
Museum Studies Minor — 18 units
|M S 201||Introduction to the History and Development of Museums||3|
|M S 202||Introduction to Museum Exhibits||3|
|M S 310||Introduction to Museum Education Methods and Community Engagement||3|
|M S 681||Preparation for Museum Practicum||3|
|M S 682||Capstone Practicum||3|
|ART 619||Exhibition Design||3|
or one course selected in consultation with an advisor.