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Museology

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
Burke Museum, Box 353010
(206) 616-8280

The museology graduate program is designed to provide the generalized training, knowledge, and skills necessary to pursue a professional career in museum work. The program is directed toward the training of a broad range of museum professionals interested in curation and management of collections in anthropology, art, botany, geology, history, and zoology as well as in interpretive programs and museum administration.

Courses include required core museology subjects as well as a range of classes offering students the chance to specialize in interest areas. Coursework is divided between the theoretical and practical aspects of museum operations. Classes take the form of lecture courses, seminars, special lectures by guest speakers, field trips, laboratory and collection management courses, practicums, and internships.

Practical experience, an essential component of the program, is provided by several museological institutions at the University of Washington, including the Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, the Henry Art Gallery, the Herbarium, the Arboretum, the Fish Collection, and the University Libraries. The Burke Museum acts as host of the museology program. Located on the campus of the University of Washington, the Burke Museum is Washington state's natural-history and anthropology museum, and is the oldest and largest natural-history museum in the Northwest. It has nationally and internationally ranked collections focusing on the anthropology, geology, and zoology of the Pacific region and Pacific Rim.

Admission Deadline

The application deadline for autumn quarter admission is February 1. Applications completed and postmarked on or before this date are reviewed by the appropriate admission committee.Late applications may be submitted until April 15, although consideration is not guaranteed if enrollment targets have been met.

Program Requirements

The museology graduate program takes two years to complete, consisting of six quarters of academic study and research. During the first year, students carry on average between 10 and 15 credits each quarter; during the second year, the number of credits may vary depending on research, practicum, and internship work. Students may enroll part time with permission from the program director

Requirements for successful completion of the Master of Arts degree include:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 36 quarter credits, including 27 course credits and 9 thesis or thesis-project credits, with at least 18 credits of coursework numbered 500 or above, including a thesis or thesis project
  2. A minimum of three quarters of full-time residence credit or part-time equivalent
  3. Demonstration of reading competence in one foreign language, if required by the student's supervisory committee due to the student's area of specialization
  4. Completion of an internship in an off-campus museum or related agency approved by the supervisory committee prior to submission of the student's thesis or thesis project
  5. Presentation of a thesis proposal by the beginning of the fourth quarter of study
  6. Successful completion of an oral examination, covering both the thesis topic and the field of museology in general, following submission of the thesis or thesis project
  7. Completion of all degree requirements within six years.

The following courses are required of all students unless exempted by petition to the program coordinating committee or credited for relevant coursework completed at other universities: MUSEUM 580, MUSEUM 581; MUSEUM 583 or MUSEUM 584 or MUSEUM 585; MUSEUM 582, MUSEUM 598, MUSEUM 590, MUSEUM 593, MUSEUM 594, MUSEUM 595; MUSEUM 700 or MUSEUM 710. In addition, two or more courses are required in an academic discipline relevant to the area of specialization.

The museology program also offers a graduate certificate in museum studies as an option for graduate students in other degree programs at the University. To qualify, students must take a specified minimum set of key courses in areas that emphasize either collection research and management, or museum administration and interpretation, to include hands-on work experience. Information and application materials for the certificate can be obtained from the museology program office.