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Program Overview

Museum Studies Certificate — Online Program

Museum Studies Certificate — Online Program

The Museum Studies certificate program 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.

We offer courses online every quarter, so you can complete your Museum Studies certificate on your own terms.


Registration for Summer 2018 is open:

Space is limited. Reserve your seat today!

 

About the Museum Studies Certificate Online Program

Student Profile

Robert Caragher, Vice President of Finance and Operations, Autry Museum of the American West

robert_caragher.jpg After spending much of his career managing finances in higher education, Robert Caragher was ready to switch to a different sector within the not-for-profit world. Caragher knew he’d have to reposition himself to make the transition, so to gain a leg up, he enrolled in the Museum Studies Online Certificate Program at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.

“This was my first experience with a certificate program and with mostly online instruction. I would recommend both of those aspects to anyone, especially at Northwestern, because of the way this program is packed with content.”

Find out more about how the Museum Studies Certificate helped Caragher become the Vice President of Finance and Operations at the Autry Museum of the American West.

Program Goals for Museum Studies Online

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 for Museum Studies Online

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

  • Curatorial
  • Administrative
  • Collections Management
  • Education
  • Pre-Graduate School

Museum Studies Program Courses

Explore all the Museum Studies Program Courses for details on the program's offerings.

Certificate Requirements Museum Studies Online

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 (MUSEUM 370-DL)
  • Successful Museum Management in Today’s Environment (MUSEUM 371-DL)
  • Learning and Museums (MUSEUM 372-DL)

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 only offered in-person at our Chicago campus during the summer term.

Tuition and Financial Aid for Museum Studies Online

Tuition for each Museum Studies core course is $1,175. The tuition for the optional exhibit course is $675. Complete details can be found on the Tuition and Financial Aid for Museum Studies Certificate page.

Museum Studies Faculty

Instructors for this program have a range of expertise, specializations and work experience. Read about their qualifications on our Museum Studies Faculty page.

Museum Studies Career Options

Read more on the Museum Studies Career Options page.

Find out more about Northwestern's Museum Studies Certificate Online Program

Contact an Enrollment Advisor

An Enrollment Advisor at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies can help with any inquiries regarding our certificate programs.

Museum Studies Course List

Core Courses:Course Detail
Museum Origins and Issues <> MUSEUM 370-DL

 

ONLINE: This course explores the diverse origins of the major types of museums, and contemporary issues and ethical challenges facing those museums today. How the primary public mission is established and interpreted and an overview of museum organization is included. Planning for exhibitions, community inclusion, and diversity are also addressed. Students are encouraged to make weekly field trips, visiting subject-appropriate museum sites in their own area and reporting back to the class. Students will also participate in discussion boards on the assigned topics and research the origins and mission of a museum in their locality.


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Successful Museum Management <> MUSEUM 371-DL

This interactive course explores the organization, governance and management of museums, with a focus on real-world problem solving. We consider the role of the board, the museum president, staff and volunteers. Topics include strategic planning, organizational structure and development, fundraising, marketing, collections management, exhibit development and design, evaluation and museum finances. Students, instructor and guest museum lecturers together critically examine current issues in the museum world, such as technological impacts, funding strategies, relevance to new audiences, virtual museums and economic impacts.

 

With guidance from museum professionals, students take on real projects at real museums. Past projects have ranged from marketing plans to volunteer recruitment strategies to exhibit development to retail planning. For this on-line session, students are encouraged to participate in a live weekly webinar with the instructor, guest museum experts and fellow students. This session will be Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m. central daylight time. Those who can’t join live will access the webinar recording. We will offer a few weekend and evening field trips for those in the Chicago area, which will be made available via video for all students. The instructor offers live online “office hours” to answer questions and help students keep up with the brisk pace of this interactive course and its practical applications. Get ready to have fun, network with museum professionals, and either advance your museum career or explore whether a museum career is right for you.


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Learning and Museums <> MUSEUM 372-DL

ONLINE: This course studies current theories and practices of education and learning in museums and examines the principal activities in planning and implementing educational experiences for museum visitors. Included are consideration of the role of museum educators and the principles of informal learning. Strategies to assess learning interests for potential audiences and to include technology in museum learning are presented. All types of educational opportunities and experiences offered by museums are examined and evaluated. Students will analyze the learning opportunities and experiences offered by a museum of their choice in their own area, in addition to participating in weekly online discussion boards.


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Elective Courses:Course Detail
The Exhibit: From Concept to Opening and Beyond MUSEUM 373-0

This two-day symposium presents an in-depth study of the components that make a successful museum exhibit, whether permanent or temporary. Topics covered will include: concept, research, conservation, publications, design, lighting, budget, loans, advertising, sponsorship, education, and visitor satisfaction. The symposium includes specialist speakers from the fields of Lighting, Design, and Community Relations. There is also a field-trip for the group to observe and share the experience of design and exhibit interpretation at one of Chicago’s tiniest museums.


This course may be taken as a supplement to Northwestern University's Museum Studies Certificate Program or as a stand-alone experience for museum professionals and those who are interested in furthering their knowledge of the exhibit process.


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