Museology Master of Arts Program


Whether you are excited to tell stories through exhibits, provide access to collections or engage with your community, our courses help you build the skills to follow your passion. 

Our core courses are designed to provide a strong cohort experience and a solid foundation for your exploration. As a cohort, you will take three courses that provide bookends to your experience and prepare you to design your thesis research or project. 


Our students complete at least 60 credit hours of coursework in their two years of study, including our core required credits and a range of electives:

Museology core - required

MUSEUM 500 Introduction to Museology (4 cr)

Museum history, philosophy, and basic operations, including organization, income, collection management, conservation, exhibition, security, education, research, and ethics.

Offered Fall Quarter, Lane Eagles

MUSEUM 570 Thesis Design (4 cr)

Prepares students to design their second year thesis; either a research study or a project.

Offered Spring Quarter, Jessica Luke

MUSEUM 599 Careers and Social Capital (4 cr)

Prepares students to transition from the academic community of a world-class university to a place of responsibility within a professional community that is committed to stewardship of the vast natural and created resources of our global communities and environments, including our stories, values, knowledge, mistakes, questions, and aspirations.

Offered Spring Quarter, Meena Selvakumar

MUSEUM 601 Internship (6 cr)

Through internships, students:

  • Explore different areas of museum practice to refine their career goals
  • Develop the skills, knowledge, and creativity needed for their career goals in the museum field
  • Build their professional network in the museum field – both peers and mentors
  • Grow more confident in their work and feel inspired to be innovators in the field

Learn more about our internships.

MUSEUM 710/720 Thesis (10 cr)

MUS 710 Master’s Project 
Students design and implement a project that contributes specifically to a museum organization, and potentially to the field. The project involves articulating a problem, need or opportunity, defining clear deliverables and outcomes, and developing and executing a viable work plan that incorporates iterative thinking and design. Students work individually or in groups to produce a poster and deliver lightning presentation at the year-end Museology Project Fair.

Student Learning Outcomes
Students undertaking a project will:

  • Understand effective project management practices from concept to close
  • Develop insight into their area of interest through research and fieldwork
  • Strengthen their oral and written communication skills throughout the course of the project
  • Gain confidence in their abilities as collaborators and project managers
  • Be able to reflect on and assess their strengths and weaknesses as museum professionals

MUS 720 Master’s Research
Students design and execute a research study that makes a significant contribution to the museum field/literature. The research process includes identifying a research problem, framing research questions, developing instrumentation, collecting data, and analyzing and interpreting the data to answer research questions. Students work individually or in groups to write a journal article describing their research study and findings.

Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing a research study will:

  • Understand best practices within the research process, from design through execution and dissemination;
  • Familiarize themselves with relevant literature in an area they are interested in, to inform their research;
  • Think about how their research can inform practice in museums; and
  • Learn about their own strengths and weaknesses through the research process

Specialization in Museum Evaluation courses

MUSEUM 574 Introduction to Museum Evaluation (3 cr)

Provides an introduction to the field of evaluation as it relates to museum practice. Introduces basic types, ethics, and practices of evaluation and practices them through readings, reflective fieldwork, mentorships, and discussions. Offered Winter Quarter, Jeanine Ancelet

Course Highlight

MUSEUM 575 Evaluation Data Analysis & Interpretation (3 cr)

Designed in collaboration with local museum evaluators and built around a central evaluation study, this course extends student experiences and develops skills in data collection, data management, data analysis and interpretation. Offered Spring Quarter, Sarah Brenkert

MUSEUM 576 Evaluation Specialization: Project Design (3 cr)

First course in a yearlong, student-led evaluation project. Builds on previously acquired skills and further develops competencies in project management, outcome development, evaluation planning, and instrumentation design. Students work with museum partners to develop the framework for an evaluation study and present a final evaluation plan implemented in the following quarter. Prerequisite: MUSEUM 574 and MUSEUM 577. Offered Fall Quarter, Sarah Brenkert

MUSEUM 577 Evaluation Specialization: Data Collection (3 cr)

Second course in a yearlong, student-led evaluation project. Students implement the evaluation plan presented in the previous quarter. Students focus efforts on refining their project’s instruments, developing research protocols, and collecting and managing project data. Prerequisite: MUSEUM 576. Offered Winter Quarter, Sarah Brenkert 

MUSEUM 578 Evaluation Specialization: Analysis & Dissemination (3 cr)

Culmination of yearlong, student-led evaluation project. Students conduct quantitative and qualitative data analysis, interpret findings, and prepare final project deliverables for museum partners. Dissemination of final project includes a formal presentation and evaluation report. Additionally, students submit a concluding peer-evaluation and reflection of project experience. Prerequisite: MUSEUM 577. Offered Spring Quarter, Angie Ong.

Other Museology electives

MUSEUM 520 Learning in Museums (3 cr)

Explore a range of learning theories and frameworks and their implications for museum practice. The course is organized around three key questions: What is learning? What do we know about learning in museums, specifically? How do we design for learning in museums? Offered Fall Quarter, Jessica Luke

Student Learning Outcomes
Through this course, student will:

  • Understand key theoretical perspectives of learning, as well as your own personal beliefs about learning;
  • Critically assess relevant frameworks for conceptualizing and explaining informal learning;
  • Familiarize yourself with current research on museum learning, and use that research to solve real-world, real-time learning “problems” in local museums;
  • Think carefully about issues of equity in museum learning and the role that you can play in making museum learning more inclusive and equitable.

MUSEUM 521 Community Engagement (3 cr)

Students learn about the importance of community engagement, the strategies and tactics of implementation and their impact. Explores underlying theories that support community engagement, analyze frameworks and toolkits developed to help museum staff engage with their communities. Offered Fall Quarter, Meena Selvakumar 

Course Highlight

MUSEUM 522 Making Meaning: New Models of Museum Interpretation (3)

Explores modes of interpretation from labels to tours to collection management to technology. Through case studies, site visits, class discussion, and writing exercises, introduces students to the theory and practice of museum interpretation. Students think critically and creatively about inclusive, relevant, and engaging interpretive strategies for all museums. Offered Winter Quarter, Jessica Rubenacker

Student Learning Outcomes

In this course students will explore best practice for museum interpretation including:

      • Understanding of foundational theories and emergent ideas
      • Analysis of how theory applies and aligns to contemporary practice
      • Comparison and critique of institutional planning models\
      • Skills including how to write a label, lead in-person interpretation and create an institutional interpretive plan

Course Highlight

MUSEUM 524 Exhibit Development I (3 cr)

Fundamental principles of the museum exhibition process. Considers the full arc of exhibit development and provides a methodology for creating an exhibition from concept to installation. Applies those principles in collaboration with a community-based client. Offered Winter Quarter, Lane Eagles

MUSEUM 525 Exhibit Development II (3 cr)

Continues the work of MUSEUM 524 in deepening critical exhibit development skills, with an emphasis on hands-on learning. Prerequisite: MUSEUM 524. Offered Spring Quarter, Lane Eagles 

MUSEUM 540 Preservation and Management of Collections (3 cr)

Focus on fundamental issues related to collections management, ranging from artifact handling and artifact storage solutions, to cataloging and photographing, as well as registration methods such as accessioning, deaccessioning, loans, and legal aspects of managing a museum collection. Offered Fall Quarter, Hollye Keister

MUSEUM 541 Collections Management Lab (2 cr)

Practical training in the fundamental areas of collections management including: artifact handling, cataloging, condition reporting, photo-documentation and various storage methods. Prerequisite: MUSEUM 540, or concurrent enrollment. Offered Winter Quarter, Caitlin Oiye Coon, Siri Linz

MUSEUM 542 Preservation of Collections II (3 cr)

Lecture and demonstrations in the recognition and treatment of museum conservation problems for specimens of all types. Application of basic principles to specific preventive and active conservation and restoration problems encountered by curatorial personnel. Offered: Spring Quarter, Nicholas Dorman, Geneva Griswold

MUSEUM 562 Museum Law (3 cr)

Explores the legal issues faced by art and science museums. Topics include copyright/trademark law, how the First Amendment protects controversial exhibits, repatriating Native American remains and cultural artifacts, donor rights, art appraising, wartime looting, and the ongoing debate over stewardship and ownership of the world’s natural and cultural resources. Offered Fall Quarter, Adam Eisenberg.

MUSEUM 563 Who Owns Humanity (3 cr)

Explores the legal and ethical questions surrounding the ownership of art, digital collections, ancient skeletons, biological data and DNA. How do changing views of history, education and science shape how ownership is defined in the 21st Century, and what ethical issues are raised for museums and libraries? Offered Spring Quarter, Adam Eisenberg

Course Highlight

MUSEUM 565 Museums and Technology (3 cr)

Introduction to technology’s impacts on visitor experiences, learning, engaging virtual audiences, and developing technology infrastructures. Integrates case studies, class discussions, problem-centered workshops, and guest speakers. Offered Fall Quarter

Course Highlight

MUSEUM 566 Grant Writing for Museums (3 cr)

Students learn how to identify relevant grant funding opportunities for museums and determine the fit for a particular institution or project; gain familiarity with the components of a grant proposal; understand how proposals are reviewed, what funders typically look for, and the characteristics of a high quality grant proposal.Offered Winter Quarter, Meena Selvakumar

MUSEUM 588 Special Topics in Museology (2-3cr)

Learn more about our new 2020-2021courses.

MUSEUM 594 Public Programs (3 cr.)

Explore and learn about best practices in museum programming. Students will gain the skills necessary to develop museum education programs from the initial concept to the final product, with an emphasis on the end user. Offered Spring Quarter, Seth Margolis

UW Electives

Students must take at least 2 classes outside of the Museology program. You can see examples of some non-Museology classes our have taken here.