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Museum Studies

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.), Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Other

Program Overview

Part of the arts and humanities program in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, museum studies combines traditional academic training and the practical experience necessary to begin a successful museum career. The program ranks among the top museum training programs in the United States. Students receive advanced study and practical working experience through internship affiliations with more than 60 museums and cultural organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution.

The M.A. program offers concentrated coursework in Collections Management, Exhibitions and Community Engagement, and Museum Management & Leadership. Students may also choose to focus their academic core in American Studies, Anthropology, History, or an interdisciplinary combination.

The on-campus Certificate in Museum Studies is an 18-credit program (12 credits of coursework combined with 6 credits of internships) designed for U.S. students who already hold at least a Master’s degree in a related area or for foreign museum professionals who wish to study one or more aspects of museum work in the United States. Areas of concentration include: Collections Management, Exhibitions and Community Engagement, Museum Management and Leadership.

The online Certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care features four graduate-level courses designed for U.S. museum employees or volunteers who have collections management responsibilities and desire formal museum studies training. Students generally complete the four three-credit graduate courses online over four consecutive semesters.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – February 1
Spring – October 1

Standardized test scores:

GRE general test required for M.A. (institutional code 5246). Waived for applicants who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.  Certificate: GRE not required.

Recommendations required:

Two (2) recommendations (one, academic and the other, museum-related)

Prior academic records: 

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose: 

In a short essay, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, museum, other professional, and community activities.

A professional resume is required.

International applicants only: 

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

PLEASE NOTE that the minimum English language test scores required by this program are: 

  • Academic IELTS: An overall score of 7.0 with no individual band score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on the paper-based or 100 on the Internet-based.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions: ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday