Museum Studies

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.), Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus, Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, Other

Program Overview

Part of the arts and humanities program in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design of 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 come from a variety of disciplines from anthropology to history, art history and the natural sciences. Students complete advanced study and practical working experience through internship affiliations with more than 60 museums and cultural organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution.

The 36-credit M.A. program (30-36 credits of coursework and 3-6 credits of internships) offers concentrations in Collections Management, Exhibitions and Visitor Experience, Museum Management and Public Engagement.

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.

The online Certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care features 12 graduate-level credits 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 not required.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.A. and Certificate program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68;


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.

Additional Information Statement: 

Please submit an additional essay as follows:

Museums are not static institutions.  If you enter the museum profession, you will be a part of continuing traditions and maintaining practices and policies, but also of making change.  Being as creative and/or as concrete as you would like, complete the following sentences, writing two paragraphs totaling 250-400 words.  You are welcome to get inspiration or ideas from recent news accounts or your own observations.

1) The 22nd-century museum will be......

2) The contributions to change that I would like to help make include.......

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.

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:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday