Degree Policies

Timeline for Degree Completion

The Museum Studies Program expects all students to make timely progress on their degree requirements. Culminating Experience (CE) research must be current in order to be the most effective for a student’s resumé and job search upon graduation. The Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies is designed to be completed within two to three years, even if the student is working part time. However, if students do not make adequate progress towards completion of their degrees, the program will de-classify such students at the end of five years, calculated from the first day of matriculation. “Declassification” means that the student is no longer a major in Museum Studies. The program defines “adequate progress” toward degree completion as follows:

First Semester

  • Enrollment in MS 700 Required

Second or Third Semester

  • Completion of internship
  • Development of thesis topic of CWP
  • Initial CE Research

By May of second academic year

  • Completion of required and elective courses

By May of third academic year

  • Completion of CE

Demonstration of Progress on Culminating Experience (CE)

MS 898 Master’s Thesis

Once enrolled in MS 898 Master’s Thesis, students are required to submit to the primary adviser a minimum of 40 pages of new text (equivalent to two term papers), in addition to continuously revising text as needed, until the thesis is completed. If the thesis is not completed after initial enrollment in MS 898, the student is required to submit to the primary thesis adviser a minimum of 40 pages of new text (equivalent to two term papers) during all subsequent semesters, until the thesis is completed. “Text” excludes outlines, notes, references, bibliography, figures, tables, charts, tables of contents, acknowledgments and appendices. The text font will be standard serif or sans serif (e.g., Times New Roman, Palatino, Helvetica, or Arial), 12-point size, with page formatting and margins in accordance with the Division of Graduate Studies’ Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of Theses and Written Creative Works.

MS 894 Creative Work Project

Once the student enrolls in MS 894 Creative Work Project, the student is required to submit to the primary adviser a minimum of 10 pages of new text, until the project is completed, in addition to continuously revising text as needed. “Text” includes outlines, exhibit text, interpretive or educational material such as brochures, images, correspondence, design proposals or loan or registration documents. If the project is not completed after initial enrollment in MS 894, the student is required to submit to the primary adviser a minimum of 10 pages of new text during all subsequent semesters, until the project is completed. The text font will be standard serif or sans serif (e.g., Times New Roman, Palatino, Helvetica, or Arial), 12-point size, with page formatting and margins in accordance with the Museum Program guidelines (different from the Thesis Guidelines described in MS 898 above), provided in the MS Student Handbook.

If the thesis/work project is not completed within one year of enrollment in MS 898 or MS 894, the student is required to enroll in the course MS 897 Directed Thesis Advising and Support. Simultaneously with enrollment in MS 897, the student must also enroll in MS 885 for 1 unit and attend the requisite number of hours of a museum workshop or conference in order to maintain currency in, and demonstrate commitment to, the museum profession.

If the thesis/work project is still not completed after completion of MS 897, the student is thereafter required to enroll in the Open University course LCA 499 (LCA 499, 0-units) every semester until graduation or the student’s fifth year after matriculation into the program, whichever date is earlier. The student is expected to produce 40 new pages of thesis text or 10 new pages of creative work project text each semester (or whatever lesser amount of text completes the CE) during the fourth academic year.

Declassification Procedure

If the thesis is not completed by May of the student’s fourth academic year, the student is informed in writing that s/he will be declassified if the CE remains unfinished by May 1 of the fifth academic year. If the CE is not completed by May 1 of the student’s fifth academic year, the student is informed in writing that s/he has been declassified (i.e., no longer a student in the Museum Studies Program), and thus, the CE is no longer viable.

Lapse in Student Status: Continuous Enrollment Requirement

The University has a general requirement of all students for continuous enrollment. “Continuous enrollment’ means that a student must be enrolled every semester to maintain student status. If a student is not enrolled for two or more consecutive semesters, that student must: 1) apply for re-admission to the University via Petition of Waiver and written support from Museum Studies faculty; and 2) the Program will require the student to demonstrate progress on degree requirements (40 new pages of thesis text or 10 new pages of creative work project, as defined above) before the student is re-admitted to the Program.

University Limit on Seven Years For Degree Completion

The CSU has a maximum limit of seven years for completion of Master of Arts degrees. Degree completion is expected within three years. A Museum Studies student who has not completed degree work at the end of five years will be declassified, which means the student is no longer a major in Museum Studies and will be considered an “unclassified” student at SFSU. The university has a seven-year degree limit for degree completion, but the Museum Studies limit is five years. “Unclassified” students may apply to other programs for admission in order to complete degrees; once a student has been declassified from Museum Studies, he or she cannot be reclassified into Museum Studies, except as outlined below.

If a Museum Studies student has been declassified at the end of five academic years and wishes to complete the degree before the university’s seven-year limit has expired, the program will require from the student a new or completely revised thesis topic plus 60 pages of new text (as defined above) prior to reclassification. For creative work projects, a new or completely revised exhibit proposal will be required plus drafts of exhibit floor plans, material to be displayed, label copy and catalogues prior to reclassification. If the material is evaluated as "inadequate" according to Museum Studies Learning Outcomes, the student will not be reclassified. If the seven-year limit has expired, the program will not approve any petition for a one-year extension.

See also: Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures, SFSU Bulletin