Museum Studies Program

Museum Studies Graduate Program

These are exciting and challenging times for museums -- longstanding premises are being questioned, and many established practices are being reconsidered. Museum professionals today work in an environment far different than that of even a few years ago. Emerging technologies now allow museums to bring their collections and their programs to audiences well beyond the confines of museum buildings. With this expanded reach, museums are preparing for dramatic changes in the age, ethnicity, education, and economic status of their audiences. Exhibitions and public programs are evolving; more than ever, educators, curators, and designers are seeking ways to engage visitors in complex issues of broad concern. Behind the scenes, collection stewardship is being reevaluated in response to practical, political, and ethical concerns. Additionally, unprecedented scholarly attention is being directed toward the ways in which museums have acquired their collections, represented their subjects, and engaged with the public. In the midst of this transformation, long-standing assumptions about museums’ public value have been called into question, requiring museum leaders to craft new collaborations and community partnerships in order to survive.

To advance and thrive in this dynamic environment, twenty-first century museum professionals will need knowledge informed by practice, imagination tempered by rigor, and leadership stimulated by collaboration. This is what we can offer at the University of Kansas. Students take advantage of the superb facilities at KU, including the Dole Institute of Politics, Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Spencer Research Library, and Wilcox Classical Museum, as well as nearby historical agencies, specialized libraries, and museums.

Our flexible, interdisciplinary M.A. degree gives you the foundations of the field plus hands-on skills and experience in your specific area of museum work. Our unique dual master's program with African & African-American Studies allows you to earn two master's degrees in three years, and we also offer a 15-credit graduate certificate program. See our website for further details about our degree offerings.