Undergraduate Program

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Museum Studies students include mid-career museum professionals, people from other professional career fields, and recent Bachelor of Arts graduates. The Museum Studies Program has more than 400 alumni; many have found employment at all career levels throughout the U.S., from the Getty to the Smithsonian.

San Francisco State University began offering Museology classes in 1974, one of the first universities in to do so, and officially inaugurated its Master of Arts degree program in Museum Studies in 1987. The M.A. in Museum Studies is unique to SFSU, and is the only one of its kind in a public university in the state of California, either in the California State University or University of California systems. In any given year, approximately 40 - 50 students are enrolled in the program.


The Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies is a 33-unit curriculum that can be completed in two to three years, if attending full-time with the thesis option. The program is designed to provide professional training in major areas of museum work, building upon students’ previous academic studies in museum-related disciplines by emphasizing practical experience, professionalism and important developments in Museum Studies.

Areas of emphasis include Museum Management and Fundraising, Curatorship, Registration/Collections Management, Exhibition Design, Cultural Property Law and Protection, and Museum Education and Public Programming.

SF State Museum Studies is designated a Distinctive, High-Quality Program by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), and a participant in the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), which offers tuition reciprocity to applicants who reside in the 15 westernmost states.

Minor in XXXX XXXX

Established in fall 2016, the Museum Studies minor is rigorous, interdisciplinary and pre-professional in nature. Coursework emphasizes acquiring knowledge in museum practice and theory to understand the public service role of museums and to apply this knowledge to support the work of museums in creating exhibits, educating the public and caring for collections, through collaborative efforts.

Students gain a useful set of pre-professional skills in museum practice and relevant information about museum theory and history. They learn about future careers in museums and informal educational settings. Written, oral and critical thinking skills are developed to evaluate the work of museums.

The Museum Studies minor prepares students for the terminal M.A. degree in Museum Studies or for additional on-the-job training for work in museums. Graduates will appreciate the role and power of museums in the world as centers of learning, enjoyment and community engagement, and as stewards of cultural and natural heritage.

Admission to the minor is open to all students with upper-division standing and who have completed MS 201 and MS 202 with a minimum grade of C. Upon admission to the minor, students will be permitted to enroll in ART 519 (Exhibition Design); MS 310 (Museum Education Methods and Community Engagement); MS 681 (Museum Studies Lab), which involves work in SF State’s Global Museum; and MS 682 (Capstone Practicum), a 120-hour practicum in a museum located off campus.

XXXX XXXXX Minor - 18 units

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Required Courses

  • MS 201 Introduction to Museums
  • MS 202 Introduction to Museum Exhibits
  • MS 310 Museum Education Methods and Community Engagement
  • ART 519 Exhibition Design
  • MS 681 Museum Studies Lab
  • MS 682 Capstone Practicum

Quick Facts

  • Graduate program can be completed in two years, if enrolled full-time.
  • Almost all students complete and graduate in a timely fashion.
  • Applications accepted for fall semesters only; up to 25 new admits a year.
  • Enroll full time (8-plus units) or part time (3 - 6 units), depending upon student needs.
  • No more than 6.0 units of work taken in post-baccalaureate status are transferable to M.A. degree credit.
  • Museum Studies classes are scheduled between 11am and 7pm, and meet for three-hour sessions once a week, to better accommodate students who work.
  • Coursework is interdisciplinary and practical, building on each student’s relevant academic background, and emphasizing the development of their professional museum skills and analytical abilities
  • Access to courses in more than 90 Master’s degree programs, in a vibrant, urban, multicultural setting focused on civic engagement, service and scholarship.
  • Six areas of emphasis: Curatorship, Exhibition Design, Cultural Property Law and Protection, Museum Management and Fundraising, Museum Education and Public Programming, Registration/Collections Management.
  • Extensive alumni network and strong museum partnerships with broad range of museums for internship placements and collaborative work, all in one of the world's richest and most diverse museum communities.
  • Engaged student and alumni groups.
  • Faculty are experienced museum professionals, teachers and scholars.
  • Graduates work in all kinds of museums and have careers in all areas of museum activities.
  • Excellent facilities with modestly sized gallery, labs and collections, with access to rich collections elsewhere on campus, all in a globally focused, diverse university.
  • Program emphasizes a broad perspective on all museum functions to help with employability and to meet the changing demands of the job market and the workplace.
  • Program enables students to enter and navigate the museum world, and provides opportunities for connection in the museum community in the Bay Area and beyond.