Program Overview:

Museum Studies Certificate: Online in as little as 3 Months

The museum studies certificate unites history, theory and practical learning in a curriculum that prepares participants for professional or volunteer careers in administration, collections and specialty disciplines within museums, zoos, aquariums, parks and botanical gardens.

You can complete your Museum Studies certificate in as little as 3 months. We are now offering all required courses online every term, starting in Winter 2015.

Museum Studies Online Certificate

The Museums Studies Certificate is offered entirely online, with the exception of the elective exhibit course. Online students will visit their local museums and report back to the class, giving a wide-ranging perspective on museums throughout the U.S. Students use our Blackboard learning environment to follow along in the class via lectures and/or discussion boards. In order to access the online materials, you should have these minimum system requirements.

Program Goals

Through lectures, discussions, guest speakers and field trips to area museums, students learn about:


  • History of museums
  • How collections and community inform museum missions
  • Ethical challenges
  • Building audiences
  • Maximizing learning opportunities
  • Fundraising, finance and management
  • Organizational development

Program Audience

This program is useful for a wide-range of careers inside museums as well as those preparing for a graduate program in museum studies.


  • Curator
  • Administrator
  • Collections Manager
  • Pre-Graduate School

Certificate Requirements

To earn a certificate of completion in Museum Studies, students must successfully complete three courses. Students typically graduate in one year. Classes can be taken in any order.


The required courses are:


  • Museum Origins & Issues
  • Successful Museum Management in Today’s Environment
  • Learning in Museums

Optional Two-day Exhibit Symposium

The Exhibit: from Concept to Opening and Beyond
As a supplement to the certificate program, or as a stand-alone experience for museum professionals and those who are interested in furthering their knowledge of the exhibit process, this course presents an in-depth study of the components that make a successful museum exhibition, whether permanent or temporary. Topics include: concept, research, conservation, publications, design, lighting, budget, loans, advertising, sponsorship, education and visitor satisfaction, with subject-specialist guest speakers. This course is offered only in-person at our Chicago campus. 

Core Courses:

  • MUSEUM 370-DL Museum Origins & Issues
  • MUSEUM 371-DL Successful Museum Management
  • MUSEUM 372-DL Learning in Museums

Elective Courses:

  • MUSEUM 373-0 The Exhibit