Quad Cities Campus

Master of Arts in Museum Studies at WIU Quad Cities

Museum Studies Program

Admissions: (309)762-1495 | Catalog

Departmental Website:

Museum Studies PDF File

Museum-Anthropology Integrated PDF File

Museum-RPTA Integrated PDF File

The Master of Arts in Museum Studies degree program will prepare students for diverse types of work associated with museums, including museum administration, collections management, exhibition development, museum education, volunteerism, and fundraising. Students will learn about the purpose, function, and history of museums; become acquainted with the professional challenges and opportunities museum personnel encounter in their field; and gain practical experience working in regional museums.

Teaching methods will include lectures; seminars; hands-on experiences; and a supervised, negotiated internship placement.

Featured Alumni

“I really enjoy our visits to different kinds of museums so that we can gain a better understanding of the field, both the challenges and the benefits. Best of all are the multiple courses that take place at the Figge Art Museum.”

– Christine Deemer
   MA in Museum Studies, December 2010


Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree and be committed to pursuing a career in museums, historical agencies, preservation organizations, or other related institutions. No prior museum experience is required.

Requirements to be considered for admission into the Master of Arts (MA) in Museum Studies degree program include the following:

  • Official transcripts indicating a Bachelor’s degree (or foreign credentials equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S.) with a cumulative or last two years’ undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • TOEFL score of 600 (paper based), 250 (computer based), or 100 (Internet based) or better for international applicants
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A current résumé
  • An essay, professional in appearance and content, explaining your academic goals while pursuing graduate study in Museum Studies at Western Illinois University and how your immediate and long-term career plans will be met through this program

Preference will be given to applicants who hold degrees in Art; Art History; Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration; History; Anthropology; and Education.

After being accepted into the program but before beginning the program, students must purchase a Museum Studies membership at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. This fee will be paid to the Figge Art Museum to cover incidental expenses and admission to workshops held at the museum. The fee will include a two-year membership to the Figge Art Museum.

Degree Requirements

The MA degree in Museum Studies requires 34 semester hours (sh) of coursework, including workshops, a portfolio, and a ten-week internship/special project. Core courses comprise 22 sh, with the remaining 12 sh being directed electives. Coursework will be offered through the College of Fine Arts and Communication Museum Studies Program, the Department of Art, and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration. Some of the courses will be taught at the Figge Art Museum. Students will have the opportunity to serve as interns at the Figge Art Museum and/or at other regional museums.

Students are required to complete an internship of at least ten weeks in a museum or other related organization. Students are responsible for finding their own internships, although the program director assists by informing students about opportunities.

Distinctive Features

The MA in Museum Studies degree program will provide:

  • knowledge and training in the various aspects of museum work to include administration, collections management, exhibition development, education, community development, tourism, and fundraising.
  • an in-depth understanding of approaches to the documentation, interpretation, presentation, and preservation of curated materials in museums.
  • practical training relevant to a professional career in the museum and galleries sector.
  • training in organizing events, building volunteer organizations, and raising money throughout the community.
  • graduates with a portfolio documenting their knowledge and skills needed for employment.
  • opportunities for the working professional to attend late afternoon and evening classes on a part-time basis.

Figge Art Museum
Emily Grady, Museum Studies Student

Student Organization – Graduate Experience in Museum Studies (GEMS)

GEMS offers student members the opportunity to participate in museum- and community-based activities in order to better understand the museum profession and the role of museums in society. The organization offers students a forum for dialogue and the presentation of innovative ideas, a benefit to the WIU-QC community as a whole, while promoting fellowship between students and faculty. Activities also include travel to professional conferences and field trips to regional museums.

Assistantship Opportunities

Two graduate assistantships are available within the MA in Museum Studies degree program. They will provide a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend. One of the assistantships is located at the Figge Art Museum and the other is for students to work with the director of the Museum Studies program, which is housed on the Western Illinois University–Quad Cities campus in Moline, Illinois.

Western Illinois University is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity employer with a strong commitment to diversity. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of people, including, but not limited to, minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities. WIU has a non-discrimination policy that includes sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, and veteran status.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

The Certificate in Museum Studies offers students in related graduate programs the opportunity to earn an 18 sh certificate. Students take 9 sh of Museum Studies coursework at the Figge Art Museum. Additionally, students take 6 sh of electives among offerings in the Department of Art, Museum Studies, or the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, and participate in a three-hour internship at the Figge Art Museum or another chosen museum. For Gainful Employment Disclosure, visit wiu.edu/grad/gainfulemployment.

Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa

The Figge Art Museum, overlooking the Mississippi River, is a short drive from the Western Illinois University–Quad Cities campus. Established in 1925, the museum’s collection has grown to over 3,500 works of art, with holdings of African, American, European, Haitian, and Mexican colonial art. In August 2005, the museum moved to a new 100,000 square-foot building designed by London architect David Chipperfield. The stunning building has received several architectural awards and continues to impress visitors. The Figge Art Museum’s galleries, studios, auditorium, research library, and events spaces will provide a dynamic laboratory for students in the Museum Studies degree program.

Contact Information

Director:  Pamela J White, JD, PhD
Office:  Quad Cities Complex 1225
Telephone: (309) 762-3999 ext. 62340
E-mail: PJ-White@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/museumstudies
Location of Program Offering: Quad Cities/Figge Art Museum