Museum Studies


Museum Studies
Admits Fall. The application deadline is February 23. Contact department for additional information and requirements. Please use the following information when completing the application.
Code: 01690; Academic Program: Museum Studies; Certificate


Degree Programs

Certificate Program

The University of Michigan, drawing upon exceptional intellectual and material resources in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and technology, has developed a unique interdisciplinary graduate program in museum studies. The Museum Studies Program (UMMSP) trains students in the theoretical and practical implications of working with and from "objects" and in the places in which they reside. We use broad definitions of "museum" and "object" to include the institutions that deal with the preservation and interpretation of inanimate as well as living collections, and with "things" concrete and conceptual. We consider the singular object as well as the broader physical and ideological contexts in which they are situated. After engaging in a critical examination of the ideas and practices that have shaped museums and related institutions, students will apply this critical perspective and gain first-hand experience working in specific institutional settings. The UMMSP is explicitly cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural in orientation and prepares students for careers in a variety of professional settings including museums, arboreta, zoos, botanical gardens, heritage sites, archives, universities and the entertainment industry.

The UMMSP is a graduate certificate program. Students who have been admitted to or who are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Michigan, or who have received a graduate degree from an accredited institution within the last five years, are eligible to apply for admission to the Program.

The UMMSP requires 12 credit hours for award of the Certificate in Museum Studies, a portion of which may be double-counted with coursework undertaken in the student's primary field of study. The 12 credit hours are distributed as follows:

  • A required two-semester proseminar in theoretical, historical and methodological issues in museum studies. This proseminar is led by the Program Director, and taught by a team of faculty from across the disciplines. This seminar sequence accounts for 6 hours and is offered each year in the Fall and Winter terms. Students must commit to enrolling in the two proseminars for the academic year following admission to the program.
  • Six hours of elective study from courses that have been approved by the UMMSP Steering Committee.
  • An internship, independent study, or research assistantship, to be carried out by preference within a museum or related institution at the University of Michigan and/or off-campus. Coordination of this component is overseen by the Program Director.

The UMMSP offers fellowships on a competitive basis for the spring and summer. The purpose of these fellowships is to promote internships, research assistantships, study at other universities, field work at museums and independent study related to students' programs.

Enrollment in the Program is competitive and limited by the size of the proseminar (estimated at a maximum of 12-15 students per year). Decisions regarding admission are made by the Program's Steering Committee.

Students interested in applying to the UMMSP are advised to contact the Program's Director. Guidelines for applying for admission are available on UMMSP website or may be obtained by contacting the UMMSP office.


University of Michigan

Charles H. Sawyer Center for Museum Studies
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 South State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1354
Phone: 734-936-6678
Fax: 734-786-0064
Program Website: