M.A. Requirements

Master of Arts in Museum Studies (Graduate), 33 – 34 units

Advisor: Luby

Courses in Museum Studies

Program Requirements

For graduate students, a full-time load is 9 – 12 units per semester (3-4, 3-unit classes). For international students, immigration regulations require a minimum academic load of 8 units for graduate students for spring and fall semesters.


The Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies is a 33 – 34 unit curriculum that can be completed in two to three years, if attending full-time.

  • Core Requirements include the history and organization of museums, fundraising, and a museum internship (9 units).
  • Area Requirements are drawn from the following three groups: collections care and conservation, museum management and exhibition design (9 - 10 units).
  • Area Emphases: curatorship; cultural property law and protection; exhibition design; museum education and public programming; museum management and fundraising; and registration/collections management (12 units).
  • Culminating Experience can be a traditional master’s thesis; written comprehensive examination; or creative work project, the latter of which could involve the curation of an exhibition in an off-campus museum (3 units). Minimum units required for the degree: 33 – 34.

Core Requirements (9 units)

  • M S 700 History and Organization of Museums (required first semester), 3 units
  • M S 860 Museum Fundraising, 3 units
  • M S 880 Museum Internship, 3 units

Area Requirements (9 – 12 units)

Three units of coursework selected from each of the following three groups:

Collections Care and Conservation

  • M S 740 Museum Conservation and Restoration, 1 unit
  • M S 791 Integrated Pest Management in Heritage Facilities, 1 unit
  • M S 792 Museum Security and Protection, 1 unit
  • M S 793 Museum Facilities Management, 1 unit
  • M S 794 Museum Collections Management and Registration, 3 units

Museum Management

  • M S 800 Museum Management, Law and Ethics, 3 units
  • M S 830 Museum Governance, 3 units
  • P A 745 Perspective on Nonprofit Management, 3 units

Exhibition Design

  • ART 619 Exhibition Design, 3 units
  • M S 720 Museum Curatorship and Collecting, 3 units
  • M S 730 Museum Exhibition Design and Planning, 3 units

Area Emphasis (12 units)

Select electives relevant to the following areas. No more than six units of non-Museum Studies courses may count toward electives in the area emphasis. Courses must be chosen with consultation with a Museum Studies faculty adviser.

  • Curatorship
  • Exhibition Design
  • Cultural Property Law and Protection
  • Museum Education and Public Programming
  • Museum Management and Fundraising
  • Registration/Collections Management

Culminating Experience Requirement* (3 units)

Choose one of the following:

  • M S 894 Creative Work Project
  • M S 898 Master’s Thesis
  • M S 896 Preparation for Written Comprehensive Examination (3 units) with M S 896 EXM Written Comprehensive Examination (0 units)

*If students do not complete their culminating experience in M S 894, M S 896/896 EXM, or M S 898, they must thereafter continue to be enrolled in one course during one semester each academic year until graduation. Students have up to five years from the first time enrolled in graduate classes at SF State to complete the degree.