Museum Studies

College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Museum Studies Program
HUM 515
Fax: 415-338-1775
Director: Linda Ellis

Graduate Coordinator: Linda Ellis



Associate Professor—Luby

Lecturers—DeMouthe, Fogarty, Fox


M.A. in Museum Studies

Program Scope

The museum studies program is designed to provide graduate professional training in major areas of museum work—museum administration, fundraising, collections management, exhibition design, museum educational programming, and curation. The museum studies degree also assists those students who plan to continue graduate studies in conservation or in doctoral programs.

The museum studies program operates a series of specialized facilities where students may obtain training: Museum of Ancient Civilizations (public exhibit gallery for visiting archaeological exhibitions and collections storage for the permanent Sutro Egyptian Collection), exhibition preparation workshop, conservation laboratory, archaeometry center, x-ray laboratory, documentation center, and darkroom.

Career Outlook

The museum studies program prepares 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.


Graduate Advisers—Ellis, Luby

Admission to the Program

Students are admitted in this program for fall terms only. To be admitted to classified status, a student must meet all general university requirements. No more than 6 units of work taken in post-baccalaureate status are transferable to M.A. degree credit in the museum studies program.

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must:

For admission, applications are due February 1. Domestic applicants are contacted by the Museum Studies program for interviews on a rolling basis on limited dates beginning November through February, only if the following are on file: the application for post-baccalaureate study to the university graduate admissions office, official transcripts, and resumé. Local applicants are also required to attend one of the program’s regularly scheduled open house dates (November or February) as part of the admissions process.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: satisfactory performance in final research paper for MS 700, MS 800, or MS 860. Level Two: successful completion of master's thesis or creative work project.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all general requirements for advancement to candidacy, applicants must, in addition, have completed with a grade of B or better each of the following courses: MS 700, MS 860, MS 880.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Core Requirements Units
MS 700 History and Organization of Museums [required during first semester of program]  
MS 860 Museum Fundraising
MS 880 Museum Internship
Total for core 9
Area Requirements
One course selected from each of the following threegroups:
Collections Care and Conservation
MS 740 Museum Conservation and Restoration  
MS 794 Museum Collections Management and Registration
Museum Management
MS 800 Museum Management, Law, and Ethics  
MS 830 Museum Governance
PA 745 Administration of Nonprofit Organizations
Exhibition Design
ART 719 Exhibit Design  
MS 730 Museum Exhibit Design and Curation
Total area requirements 9
Area Emphasis
Select four electives relevant to the following areas. No more than 6 units of non-museum studies courses may count towards electives in the area emphasis. Courses must be chosen in consultation with a museum studies faculty adviser.
Exhibition Design
Conservation and Restoration
Museum Management and Fundraising
Museum Education and Public Programming
Registration/Collections Management
Total for emphasis 12
Culminating Experience Requirement
MS 894 
MS 898
Creative Work Project
Master's Thesis
Minimum total 33

If students do not complete their culminating experience in either MS 894 or MS 898, they must thereafter continue to be enrolled in one course during one semester each academic year until graduation.

SFSU Home   Search   Need Help?  

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 338-1111

Last modified July 06, 2012 by