The museum studies program provides a broad foundation of knowledge increasingly valued in the museum field. Museum studies courses introduce students to the spectrum of museum endeavors, from organization and mission planning to institutional histories and current developments in the field. Many courses developed by the program offer hands-on experience in exhibition planning and design, collection management, educational programming, community development, and administration. 

The undergraduate Certificate in Museum Studies requires 18 s.h. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate. The certificate is open to current University of Iowa undergraduate students and to all individuals who are not enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students who are interested in museum studies may earn the certificate, or they may use the individualized plan of study track in the interdepartmental studies major to create a museum studies concentration relevant to their academic and professional interests.

Work for the certificate consists of an introductory course, a minimum of four courses on specific museum studies topics, and an internship. Students must request permission from the coordinator of the museum studies certificate to use courses that are not included in the program, and the proposed course content and requirements must fit into one of the program's defined areas.

Online Option

Those with an interest in furthering their education in museum studies and who live outside of the Iowa City area may be interested in pursuing the certificate online.

The Certificate in Museum Studies requires the following coursework.

Introductory Course3
Museum Studies Topic Areas12
Museum Studies Internship3
Total Hours18

Introductory Course

Students should begin the certificate with MUSM:3001, which is prerequisite to some of the program's more advanced courses and is approved for the Social Sciences area of the GE CLAS Core. The course provides a historical overview of museum development and function while introducing students to issues such as museum governance and financing, ethics and law, collection management, exhibition and educational programming, interpretation, and audience research.

MUSM:3001Introduction to Museum Studies3

Museum Studies Topic Areas

Students complete a minimum of four courses in museum studies topic areas, choosing from the lists below. The areas are collection care and management; exhibition development and public education; history, theory, and culture; and museum administration and management.

Students must select one course each from three of the four topic areas (9 s.h. total). They also must complete a fourth course (3 s.h.) from any of the four topic areas.

Collection Care and Management

MUSM:3003Natural History Research Collections3
MUSM:3200Collection Care and Management3
MUSM:4200Museum Object Preservation3

Exhibition Development and Public Education

MUSM:3004Exhibition Planning3
MUSM:3105Engaging Museum Audiences3
MUSM:3125Museums in a Digital World3
MUSM:3215The Museum of Today and Tomorrow: How Museums Enhance the K-12 Classroom3
MUSM:4210Museum Without Walls: Museum, Art Education, and Community Engagement in the Digital Age3

History, Theory, and Culture

MUSM:2850Museums and Social Justice3
MUSM:3120Museum Origins3
MUSM:3237Politics of the Archaeological Past3
MUSM:4081The American Art Museum: Theory and Practice3
MUSM:4130Museum Literacy and Historical Memory3
MUSM:4310Slavery Museums, Memorials, and Statues in the United States, Europe, and the Global South3-4

Museum Administration and Management

MUSM:3100Historic House Management and Preservation3
MUSM:3131Museum Evaluation and Visitor Studies3
MUSM:3500Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3
MUSM:4150Introduction to Grant Writing3

Museum Studies Internship

After completing at least 12 s.h. of the required coursework above, students must complete one of the following internships, earning a minimum of 3 s.h.

The Certificate in Museum Studies coordinator works closely with students and affiliated faculty members to ensure that the internship provides students with the instruction and experience they need.

MUSM:4080Museum Internshiparr.
MUSM:4082Distance Learning Museum Internshiparr.
MUSM:4084Museum Professionalism1-3

Museum studies students have become directors, curators, educators, and exhibit specialists in museums throughout the country.