Graduate Studies

Museum Studies

Admission | Courses | Program | Requirements | Integrated Program | Certificate | Profile

Director:  Heidi K. Lung
Graduate Committee Chairperson: Heidi K. Lung
Office:  WIU-Quad Cities Campus
Telephone: (309) 762-9481 Fax: (309) 762-6989
Location of Program Offering: Quad Cities

Graduate Faculty

Faculty teaching in the Museum Studies program are full, associate, and temporary members of the graduate faculty with academic and professional experience in museum studies and/or other related fields. Faculty members are recognized nationally and internationally for their teaching, research, publications, and professional service.

Learning Outcomes

For student learning outcomes, please see

 Program Description

The Museum Studies Graduate Program prepares students for a variety of leadership roles within museums and cultural institutions. The program builds upon each student’s previous studies while teaching about the educational efforts, collections, and collaborative partnerships that make museums essential to our communities. Core courses provide a solid foundation of understanding in the history of museums and current best practices that help ground students within a dynamically changing field. Experiential and professional learning opportunities are emphasized and tailored to each student’s area of interest and needs.

In addition to courses in museum studies, the program offers coursework through the departments of Art, and Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration. The program is further enhanced by partnerships with locally situated museums and cultural institutions that serve as the program’s training laboratories.

 Integrated Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Program

Please refer to Integrated Programs for details and program offerings.

 Admission Requirements

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 OR 3.0 or higher GPA for the last two years (60 s.h.) of undergraduate work
  • TOEFL score of 100 (internet based) or minimum 7.0 on IELTS, or better for international applicants
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A current resume
  • An essay, professional in appearance and content, explaining your academic goals while pursuing graduate study in Museum Studies at WIU, and how your immediate and long-term plans will be met through this program

Students enrolled in the program will be seriously committed to a career in museums, historical agencies, preservation organizations, or related institutions. No prior museum experience is required.

Preference will be given to applicants who come from backgrounds in the following areas: art; recreation, park and tourism administration; anthropology; education; and history.

 Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies requires 34 semester hours of coursework including workshops, a portfolio, and a ten-week internship/special project.

I. Core Courses: 19 s.h.

MST 500 Museum Origins (3)
MST 501 Museum Administration (3)
MST 502 Museum Exhibition (3)
MST 503 Museum Collections Management (3)
MST 515 Museum Education & Evaluation (3)
MST 600 Internship and Special Project (4)
MST 601 Workshops in Museum Studies (0)

II. Directed Electives: 15 s.h.

RPTA 424G Fund Raising and Volunteerism in Leisure Services (3)
RPTA 448G Interpretation of Cultural and Environmental Resources (3)
RPTA 460G Sustainable Tourism Development (3)
RPTA 467G Event Planning and Management (3)
ARTE 439G High School Art Methods (3)
ARTH 485G Research in Art History (3, repeatable to 9)
ARTH 496G History of Contemporary Art (3)
MST 516 Visitor Studies (3)
MST 520 Independent Study in Museum Education (1–3, repeatable to 6)
MST 560 Practicum in Museums (1–3, repeatable to 3)
MST 599 Special Topics in Museum Studies (3)


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

The department offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in Museum Studies. For program details, go to the post-baccalaureate certificates page.

 Course Descriptions

Museum Studies (MST)

500 (cross-listed with RPTA 500) Museum Origins. (3) History of museums; origin, character, and evolution into content-specific institutions; anecdotes and personalities; how museums influenced society and their continuing relevance.

501 Museum Administration. (3) This course will provide students with an overview of management history, theory and practice focusing on the issues involved in managing a non-profit organization. Topics to be covered include strategic planning; ethics and governance; membership; earned income; and marketing and non-profit finance. Students will complete a finance assignment and an in-depth museum management case study. A variety of topics will be covered including the concepts of project management, team building, group problem solving, and managing change. Case studies of actual projects in museums.

502 Museum Exhibition. (3) This course will focus on the development of interpretive museum exhibitions including theory, planning, research, methodologies, design, construction and installation, and the application of new technologies.

503 Museum Collections Management. (3) This course will provide an introduction to the basic theories, methodologies, and current issues relating to archives management. Establishing collections policies; laws, regulations, conventions, and codes that bear on acquisitions, deaccessions, loans and collection care; accountability; access problems. The implementation of collections policies: establishing and managing collections; management procedures and systems; documentation of collections; records preservation; tax codes; data bases; collections access and storage; restitution and repatriation laws and controversies; handling, packing and shipping; inventory control; and responsibilities of a museum registrar.

510 Historic House Museums. (3) Explores new approaches to interpreting historic houses to increase relevance and widen the diversity of perspectives. Emphasizes sustainable and innovative solutions to contemporary challenges, including preservation, collections care, exhibit design, operations, funding, technology, accessibility, audience engagement, personnel management, and leadership. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

515 Museum Education & Evaluation. (3) Public education is a core function of museums. This course considers the educational role of museums from an exploration of learning styles and theory. Topics include interpretation, school partnerships, curricula development, accessibility, technology, educational outreach, and program evaluation.

516 Visitor Studies. (3) The purpose of this course is to introduce evaluative methods used to design and implement museum visitor studies. Students will explore the uses of front-end, formative, and summative evaluation approaches to better understand visitor experience and improve museum program offerings.

520 Independent Study in Museum Education. (1–3, repeatable to 6) Students may take up to three hours of independent study per semester in areas related to museum studies; art; history; or recreation, park and tourism administration. Students must design the study in consultation with the appropriate faculty member, complete an Application of Independent Study form, and have it signed by the program director before enrolling for the course. Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of completed coursework.

560 Practicum in Museums. (1–3, repeatable to 3) This course is designed to give supervised practical experience in museums.

599 Special Topics in Museum Studies. (3, repeatable under different special topics) A special topics course acknowledges the changing environment of museums. This course focuses on emerging issues in museum professional practice. Students will explore the chosen topic through current research, theory, and practice in museums. Practical application of ideas will take place in museum settings.

600 Internship and Special Project. (4) Students are required to complete an internship of at least ten weeks in a museum or related organization. As a part of the internships, students will undertake and complete a special project approved by the host museum and the program director, and make periodic reports to the program director on their experience. Students are responsible for finding their own internships, although the program director assists by informing them about opportunities. The program reserves the right to reject any student-arranged internship. The overall internship program is coordinated by the program director, but individual interns are supervised by museum professionals at the host institution. Prerequisite: Completion of at least 21 s.h. in the program.

601 Workshops in Museum Studies. (0) Students are required to attend five workshops and/or conferences, approved by MST Director and produced through museums, museum associations or by museum professionals. Workshops/conferences must be paid for by the student and pre-approved by the MST Director. Graded S/U.