About Us

SF State Museum Studies offers a graduate Master of Arts program and an undergraduate Minor program

Museum Studies student measuring mask

Master of Arts Program in Museum Studies

The Master of Arts program in Museum Studies is an independent, interdisciplinary professional program housed in the School of Art, a division in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts. The Museum Studies Program builds upon students’ previous academic studies in museum-related disciplines by emphasizing practical experience, professionalism and important developments in Museum Studies. Museum Studies students include mid-career museum professionals, people from other professional career fields and recent Bachelor of Arts graduates.

The program graduated hundreds of alumni since its establishment in 1987. Many have found employment at all career levels throughout the U.S., from the Getty to the Smithsonian.

Mission of the Master's Program

The mission of the Museum Studies Program at San Francisco State is to develop resourceful museum professionals engaged in the important role museums play in our increasingly global and diverse world. The program integrates practical coursework and theoretical inquiry to foster museum professionals committed to the power of museums as places of inspiration, community learning, and ethical collections stewardship for all segments of society.

As the only Master of Arts degree program at a public university in the state, and one of the few in the world integrated with a university museum, the program provides unique value by reflecting the concerns of 21st century museum professionals, who recognize that connecting to communities and engaging diverse audiences are paramount concerns of museums today. Coursework combines theoretical background in the history, functions, and social and political contexts of museums, plus hands-on, practical training in caring for and engaging visitors with authentic cultural collections in the campus’ new Global Museum. Classes are taught by leading museum professionals and scholars who emphasize ethics, engagement, and global citizenship.

The capstone experiences of internships and theses/creative work projects allow students to actively contribute to museum professionalism and scholarship. By nurturing the intellectual and practical needs of contemporary students, the Museum Studies Program builds upon the mission of San Francisco State University to inspire the courage to lead, create, and innovate as museum professionals.

Visit the Master of Arts Program section of this website for more information.

Minor in Museum Studies

Established in 2016, the undergraduate Minor in Museum Studies is rigorous, interdisciplinary and pre-professional in nature. The Minor prepares students for the Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies, or for additional on-the-job training for work in museums.

Mission of the Minor Program

The mission of the Minor in Museum Studies is to develop museum pre-professionals through coursework that emphasizes museum practice and theory in a setting where museums’ educational efforts, collections, and interactions with community are of central concern, and to apply this knowledge to support the work of museums in creating exhibits, educating and serving the public, and caring for collections.

The Museum Studies Minor is unique in California as the only such minor in the state and is an innovative course of study that supports a students’ major field of study and encourages interdisciplinary thinking about the theoretical, historical and contemporary roles of museums in society. Curriculum introduces students to the history, theory, and practice of museums through lectures, evaluative visits to museum exhibits, and participation in museum exhibits on campus, and is based on an understanding that museums must both serve and reflect the diverse public. The two-course, service learning capstone experience, which consists of a practicum working in areas ranging from collections care to visitor services in the new museum on campus, the Global Museum, and an off-campus internship in a leading regional museum, supplies graduates with analytical skills, work experience, and a clear sense of museum career pathways.

Through curriculum that integrates the acquisition of practice-based skill sets with a critical understanding of how museums around the world work to inspire, create community, educate, and care for collections, the Minor in Museum Studies produces graduates who are ready to continue their efforts to become museum professionals, who appreciate the role and power of museums in San Francisco and around the world as centers of learning, enjoyment, and as stewards of heritage, and who are prepared to become productive, ethical, active citizens with a global perspective.

Visit the undergraduate Minor in Museum Studies section of this website for more information.

Museum Studies Courses

Visit the Bulletin for a complete listing of all courses in Museum Studies.