Graduate Program

Application Information

The Museum Studies Application Review Committee begins reviewing completed graduate applications on January 15. Any files or additional information is not accepted after that date. The applicant should allow adequate time (6-8 weeks) prior to the application deadline for processing. The committee does not accept faxed or photocopies of any information.

Applicants to the graduate program must identify their particular area of interest and their academic and professional goals in a letter of intent directed to the Museum Studies Graduate Application Review Committee. 

Information on application requirements and deadlines can be found on the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) website. Application requirements for the graduate degree include a letter of intent, three letters of reference, GRE scores and/or writing sample as noted on the OGS website, a resume or CV, and official transcripts from ALL previously attended colleges and universities.  Official transcripts will be mailed to the Office of UNM Admissions.  GRE scores and unofficial copies of transcripts from all colleges, including UNM must also be uploaded with your application.

Acceptance to the program is dependent on the number of openings available for new graduate students, the applicant’s potential as indicated by the materials submitted with the application, and agreement by an appropriate faculty member to act as an advisor to the student. No student is accepted to the program unless he or she can be placed under the direction of a faculty advisor who helps to plan the student’s program of study. Students admitted to the program may change their advisor, subject to prior approval by the new advisor. Continuation in the program requires progress at a rate deemed satisfactory by the student’s graduate advisor in consultation with the student’s graduate committee, which reviews progress each year. General program requirements are described below.

Degrees Offered

  • Master of Arts in Museum Studies (M.A.)
  • Master of Science in Museum Studies (M.S.)

Students accepted into the graduate program may choose between two courses of study: Plan I (thesis), and Plan II (project). All students must have a firm grounding in museum studies through the required core museology curriculum as well as specialization in a cognate discipline. Students in either Plan I or Plan II are required to complete one museum practicum (internship). Graduate course work may include field projects related to the student's chosen specialization and to the student's chosen cognate discipline in an area of specialization. 

The decision to award either a Master of Arts or Master of Science is determined on a case-by-case basis. The determination, which must be approved by the Graduate Program Director, is made by the student's graduate committee based on the nature of the student's thesis or project, the specific courses taken by the student, and the requirements of the student's cognate department.


The seminar (MSST 585) is designed to explore theoretical and practical work in specific museum problems, topics, and themes.

The practicum (MSST 586) is a 3 credit hour internship that includes at least 150 service or participatory hours. The practicum is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in some aspect of museum work. Practica are offered through the Harwood Museum of Art, Institute of Meteoritics, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Southwestern Biology, the UNM Art Museum, and other UNM collections and programs. Students are also encouraged to conduct practica at off-campus cooperating institutions. In the event that a student has extensive museum experience prior to entering the program, the internship requirement may be waived by the student's graduate committee.

Cognate discipline courses may include practicum work, field methods courses, and up to six credit hours of *300- and *400-level courses. Cognate discipline courses may be taken in more than one discipline or school. Some Museum Studies courses may count as cognate discipline courses.  All cognate coursework requires advisor approval prior to registration.

Requirements for Plan I and Plan II are listed as follows:

Core Courses (thesis and project)
MSST 507 Museum Practices 3
MSST 575 Museum Interpretation 3
MSST 576 Museum Collection Management 3
MSST 585 Seminar in Museum Methods 3
MSST 586 Practicum: Museum Methods 3
Plan I (Thesis)
MSST 599 Master's Thesis 6
Cognate Discipline Courses 12
Plan I Total 33
Plan II (Project)
MSST 598 Graduate Project 3
Cognate Discipline Courses 15
Plan II Total 33

Graduate Minor in Museum Studies

The graduate minor in Museum Studies is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes mentoring and collaborative opportunities through a combination of structured work experiences, academic instruction, supervised internships, and short-term professional workshops and training courses. Additional emphasis is placed on collection care, management, and preservation.

The graduate minor in Museum Studies requires 9 credit hours of course work and 6 credit hours of internship for a total of 15 credit hours.

Internship opportunities (MSST 586 Practicum: Museum Methods) are arranged in partnership with museums on the University of New Mexico campus and organizations around the state. Each internship is created to support the interests of the student and the specific needs of the institution, its collections and activities. Students are able to propose internships at specific museums where they have work experience or professional contacts. Other internship opportunities are available, which require competitive application for consideration. For these internships, the application process and selection criteria are established in partnership with the host organization.

The graduate minor is available to any student enrolled in a graduate degree program at UNM. Once completed, the minor designation appears on a student’s transcript.

Minimum 15 credit hours required as follows:

Required Core Courses
MSST 507 Museum Practices 3
MSST 585 Seminar in Museum Methods 3
Subtotal 6
Museum Studies Topics Courses
MSST 529 Topics in Museum Studies 3
Subtotal 3
MSST 586 Practicum: Museum Methods 6
Subtotal 6
Total 15


MSST 407 / 507. Museum Practices. (3)

MSST 429 / 529. Topics in Museum Studies. (1-3, no limit Δ)

MSST 439 / 539. Collections in Context. (3, no limit Δ)

MSST 444 / 544. Interdisciplinary Museum Science. (3, may be repeated once Δ)

MSST 475 / 575. Museum Interpretation. (3)

MSST 476 / 576. Museum Collection Management. (3)

MSST 485 / 585. Seminar in Museum Methods. (3, no limit Δ)

MSST 486 / 586. Practicum: Museum Methods. (1-3, no limit Δ)

MSST 497 / 597. Independent Study. (1-6, no limit Δ)

MSST 507 / 407. Museum Practices. (3)

MSST 529 / 429. Topics in Museum Studies. (1-3, no limit Δ)

MSST 539 / 439. Collections in Context. (3, no limit Δ)

MSST 544 / 444. Interdisciplinary Museum Science. (3, may be repeated once Δ)

MSST 575 / 475. Museum Interpretation. (3)

MSST 576 / 476. Museum Collection Management. (3)

MSST 585 / 485. Seminar in Museum Methods. (3, no limit Δ)

MSST 586 / 486. Practicum: Museum Methods. (1-3, no limit Δ)

MSST 597 / 497. Independent Study. (1-6, no limit Δ)

MSST 598. Graduate Project. (1-6 to a maximum of 15 Δ)

MSST 599. Master's Thesis. (1-6, no limit Δ)

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