College of Arts & Sciences

MA in Museum Professions Curriculum

Core Courses
Professional Tracks:Masters Thesis

The Master of Arts (MA) in Museum Professions is designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Combining structure with flexibility, the diverse offerings for our four professional tracks are provided through cooperation with other departments and schools of Seton Hall University, and through collaboration with museums and museum professionals who serve as advisers and faculty for the program.

A complete list of courses with descriptions can be found in the Graduate Catalogue online under "College of Arts and Sciences."

Core Courses (12 credits)

ARMS 6000 Anatomy of a Museum 3
ARMS 6505 History and Theory of Museums 3
ARMS 7800 Internship 3
ARMS 8000 Masters Project 3

Professional Tracks (select one: 15 credits each)

Track I. Museum Education
Recognizing the civic role the museum now assumes in society, the Museum Education track trains students to create rich learning-centered experiences for diverse visitors of all ages and abilities. The required coursework in educational theory, human development, museum programming, and audience research prepares students to plan engaging museum learning that is meaningful to individuals, families, schools and communities. Students also explore how technology offers new opportunities for museum education.

ARMS 6813 Museum Education I 3
ARMS 6814 Museum Education II 3
ARMS 6815 Museums and Communities 3
ARMS 6517 Audience Research and Evaluation 3

In consultation with a faculty adviser, choose one course from the following:

EDST 6009 Teaching Strategies for Multicultural Education 3
EDST 6223 Advanced Psychology of Childhood 3
EDST 6325 Psychological Foundations of Education 3
EDST 6326 Advanced Psychology of Learning 3
EDST 6336 Educational Psychology 3
EDST 6408 Child and Adolescent Development 3

Track II. Museum Registration
The Museum Registration track focuses on the care and management of museum collections, with courses covering legal, ethical, and practical considerations. Students learn about the ideals and realities of museum storage, handling, inventorying, shipping, and display. They are introduced to principles of connoisseurship. They also discuss issues of provenance and repatriation.

ARMS 6503 The Discriminating Eye 3
ARMS 6802 Object Care for Collections Managers
ARMS 6803 Museum Registration I 3
ARMS 6804 Museum Registration II 3
ARMS 6805 Legal Issues for Museum Professionals 3

Track III. Museum Management

The Museum Management track prepares students for a career in museum administration and development, with required coursework focusing on the legal and financial responsibilities of museum leadership. Courses range from grantsmanship to managing volunteers to fundraising, marketing and strategic planning, allowing students to choose those specific areas of museum management that best fit with their career goals.

ARMS 6805 Legal Issues for Museum Professionals 3
ARMS 6806 Museum Fundraising Fundamentals 3

 In consultation with a faculty adviser, choose three courses from the following:

PSMA 7311 Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector 3
PSMA 7312 Leadership and Management in Nonprofit Organizations 3
PSMA 7314 Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations 3
PSMA 7315 Managing Volunteers in Nonprofit Organizations 3
PSMA 7321 Grantsmanship 3
PSMA 8300-40 Special Topics in Nonprofits 3

Track IV. Exhibition Development
The Exhibition Development track provides both a theoretical and practical approach to conceiving and executing museum exhibitions. Students have opportunities to engage in exhibition critique and to think conceptually about what exhibitions can do. Students also gain hands-on experience in all aspects of exhibition development such as obtaining loans, generating budgets, creating effective juxtapositions, writing wall texts, and publishing a brochure.

ARMS 6803 Museum Registration I 3
ARMS 6805 Legal Issues for Museum Professionals 3
ARMS 6901 Museum Exhibitions A-Z 3
ARMS 7002 Producing an Exhibition 3
PSMA 7314 Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations 3

Electives (12 credits)

In consultation with a faculty adviser, choose four courses from the following:

ARMS 7005 Museum Technologies 3
ARMS 6604, 6606, 6608, 6610 Seminars Abroad 3

 OR any course in any track other than the one the student has chosen


Masters Thesis

Students are required to complete a Master’s Thesis for the program.  Students should begin thinking about a subject for their thesis from the moment they enter the program, though the concept and scope will develop over time. Students should keep the following in mind as they are thinking about their topic.

  • It must be a museological topic, i.e. related to the history of, current issues in, or practical aspects of museums.
  • It must involve library, web, and/or statistical research.
  • It must have enough “meat” to make for a 40 – 60 page essay.
  • It must have some original component, i.e. it cannot simply be a summary of books you have read. It also cannot be a “retread” of an earlier paper or internship that you have done, though it may be an outgrowth of an earlier project.

A committee of faculty members will approve the student’s thesis proposal at the end of the third semester (for full-time students), and a faculty adviser will be assigned to oversee the student’s work.

Students have three semesters (not including the summer term) from the time of registration to complete the thesis. Students must remain registered every semester once they register for thesis.  They may not take time off in the middle of the thesis-writing period.  Students hand in the completed thesis to their adviser at least two months before the end of the term (fall or spring) in which they expect to receive a grade. Advisers will return the manuscript with final suggestions for revisions.

Three bound copies of the completed thesis are handed in by the last week of the semester. A complete set of theses are kept in the Department. Only those theses receiving an A grade will be deposited in the library and placed online.

A complete list of courses can be found in the Graduate Catalogue online under "College of Arts and Sciences."

Director of Graduate Studies
Petra Chu, Ph.D.

(973) 761-9460
Art Center, 205

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