The master of arts (M.A.) degree program in museum studies offers a curriculum based on hands-on training, research, scholarship, and design that prepares you for a wide range of positions in various types of museums.
We shape alumni to be resilient, adaptable, and competent working professionals. At the center of the program is the belief that the museum professional serves as the liaison between the viewing public and the museum object.
The program is structured in a manner that enables you to develop an understanding of the relationship between practical experience and contemporary theory. Museums and galleries are our classrooms: within the University, the program engages with the Syracuse University Art Galleries, the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries, and the Sue & Leon Genet Gallery at Syracuse University’s Nancy Cantor Warehouse provide professional settings for education and training. Our community collaborators include the Everson Museum of Art, The Erie Canal Museum, the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, the Seward House and Museum, just to name a few. You gain additional experience through internships. We believe that this combination of academic and professional training prepares you for your chosen field and sustains you throughout your career.
An important aspect of the program is the availability of courses in a wide variety of departments and colleges, including the Department of Art and Music Histories and Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Information Studies; the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; and VPA’s School of Art and Department of Transmedia. A significant number of students pursue concurrent or sequential degrees in such fields as art history, anthropology, arts journalism, and information studies.
You also have opportunities to study in other U.S. cities by taking a MAYmester course in New York City and Washington, D.C., where you visit significant museums, galleries, and contemporary artist studios to hear from prominent artists, curators, and gallery owners, many of whom are accomplished Syracuse University alumni. Faculty and staff organize field trips to museums and conferences in New York State and throughout the East Coast, as well as bring professionals to campus to meet with you and your fellow students.
At least once a year the program plans a trip to attend a professional conference. Past conferences have included the annual meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums in Tarrytown, New York, and the Museum Association of New York, one of the largest state-level museum associations in the country, where many students volunteer their time to help at the conference and participated in a variety of workshops, lectures, and networking events.
Graduates of the program work in a wide variety of institutions, including the National Gallery, National Museum of the American Indian, the Air and Space Museum, the Morgan Library, the Museum of the City of New York, Palm Springs Art Museum in California, and the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon.
Students enrolled in the graduate program in museum studies come from a variety of academic backgrounds, including anthropology, art history, design, history, library science, philosophy, religion, and studio arts.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 33 graduate credits, including four core courses, two concentration courses, and three electives. An immersion internship is also required, and this experience refines technical proficiency, develops professional confidence, and bridges the gap between the University and the professional world. Museum studies faculty and staff frequently distribute notices about available internship opportunities received from its vast network of alumni, museum professionals, and friends of the program. Students are constantly encouraged to look for opportunities on their own, based on their career interest, and to discuss and be open for possibilities.
A significant number of students enrolled in museum studies pursue concurrent or sequential degrees at Syracuse University. Common degrees sought include a master of arts in art history and a master of science in library and information science. For prospective students, a separate application for each of these programs must be completed, and admittance into one program does not guarantee admission to the other. Students follow the general curricula for both programs and earn separate degrees. For current students that are already enrolled in a graduate program at Syracuse University, an internal application form must be submitted.