Critical Museum Studies offers a theoretically informed and politically engaged perspective on the current museum field.
Critical Museum Studies is a pre-professional interdisciplinary MA program under the aegis of Anthropology, Art, Arts Management, Classics and Media Study. Students take core and elective courses through the participating departments and programs, thereby insuring that an interdisciplinary perspective is built into the program.
The museum world is in the midst of new pressures and is struggling with shifting paradigms, attempting to negotiate perhaps the most seismic changes since its 19th century origins. Today, as museums negotiate a digital shift in a newly globalized museum world, a host of new pressures have arisen. The demands of social media and edutainment as well as digital heritage and repatriation are among only the most visible of these rapidly shifting paradigms. As private capital increasingly pours into the new genre of the private or single benefactor museums, traditional city museums are correspondingly impoverished. A series of recent “culture wars” turned on museum exhibitions, making the museum not only the newly politicized arbiter of official culture, but placing it in the cross hairs of as yet unresolved cultural skirmishes. Adding to these woes, newly vocal populations are beginning to question their invisibility within traditional museums, even as new “identity” oriented museums continue to develop.
A newly emerged for-profit museum model, with vastly different standards of educational import, and even historical accuracy, is drawing visitors who view the museum exclusively in terms of entertainment. Even some non-profit museums have begun to operate as entertainment complexes. Increasingly communities view museums as an integral part of the local economy, a reliable generator of tourist dollars, increasing the pressure on museums to be more widely popular and less the preserve of the specialist. Yet even as new museums proliferate, these pressures go largely unaddressed.
The MA in Critical Museums Studies, a new museum studies degree for the 21st Century, will instead place these issues front and center.
The MA will consist of a minimum of 36 credit hours and will be entirely self-funded. No TA support is available for this program. All students are required to take core and elective courses offered by the participating departments/programs, write a thesis and complete an internship program.
Students select 3 courses from 5 core areas. Courses selected must be from 3 different areas.
|List 1: Anthropology|
|APY 514 Museum Management|
|APY 618 Cultural Heritage |
|List 2: Arts Management|
|AAP 518 Issues in Museum Management|
|AAP 519 Critical Questions Concerning Museums |
|List 3: Classics|
|CL 580 Roman Ceramics & Small Finds|
|CL 712 Roman History - The Classical Art Museum|
|List 4: Media Study|
|DMS 532 Graduate Seminar II|
|List 5: Visual Studies |
|VS 501 Intro to Visual Studies |
|VS 521 Intro to Critical Theory |
Choose courses from the five participating departments:
|APY 504 Design Material Culture|
|APY 509 Classic Ethnographies |
|APY 527 Anthropological Ethics |
|APY 540 History of Archaeology |
|APY 572 Archaeology Today|
|APY 586 Art Archaeology and Soc Complex|
|APY 587 Archaeology and the Digital Age|
|APY 610 Method & Theory |
|APY 652 Survey in Old World Archaeology |
|Art/Visual Studies |
|VS 505 Performance Art: History, Theory and Institutionalization |
|VS 534 Body Criticism |
|VS 550 Art and Psychoanalysis |
|VS 570 Global Modernisms|
|VS 579 The Revolutionary Sublime |
|VS 580 Discourse and Deconstruction |
|VS 587 Vision, Space and Power |
|VS 590 Theories of Montage|
|AHI 548 History of Photography |
|AHI 585 The Museum and the Other|
|AHI 586 Another Reading, Another Context: Global Museum Display of Contemporary Asian Art |
|AHI 588 Displaying Gender: Constructing Masculinities and Feminisms in Museum Exhibitions |
|AHI 592 Studies in Modern Art |
|ART 502 Tactical Media (Studio Art) |
|ART 562 Installation Urban Space (Studio Art) |
|ART 564 Biological Art (Studio Art) |
|ART 573 Performative Action (Studio Art) |
|AAP 501 Why Manage the Arts|
|AAP 507 Special Topics |
|AAP 508 Cultural Policy|
|AAP 521 Cultural Production|
|AAP 551 Art Business and Finance|
|AAP 552 Arts Marketing and Analysis|
|AAP 585 Legal Issues in Arts Management |
|AAP 586 Law and IP: Arts Management |
|CL 506 Problems in Greek Archaeology|
|CL 787 Special Topics|
|DMS 505 Ethnographic Media|
|DMS 512 Film and Media Theory |
|DMS 515 Film and Media Theory II |
|DMS 528 Social Web Media |
|DMS 545 Gender and Technology |
|DMS 557 Locative Media and the City |
|DMS 558 Media Curating |
|DMS 570 Media Philosophy|
|DMS 605 Media Theory and Poetics|
Choose 1 three-credit hour independent study from any of the three departments:
|AAP 599 Independent Study|
|APY 601 Individual Readings in Archaeology or APY 602 Individual Readings in Cultural Anthropology|
|CL 805 Independent Study|
|VS 595 Independent Study: Advanced Reading |
|AAP 511 Fieldwork in Arts Management|
|APY 538 Fieldwork (under supervision of Dr. Peter Biehl) |
|AHI 598 The Politics of Museums in New York |
or Museum Studies Internship
Register with the department of enrollment:
|Anthropology: APY 600 MA Project/Thesis Guidance |
|Arts Management: AAP 513 Thesis Guidance |
|Visual Studies: VS 598 Thesis Guidance |
February 15 is the application deadline. Applications received after February 15 will be considered on a rolling basis, thus to maximize your chances for admission submit your application before February 15.
A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA (or equivalent) of 3.2 or above unless a compelling explanation justifies a lower GPA.
Use the link to access our online application system. You should begin by creating an account. Once created, you will be promoted to choose an application, select your term year and program. Please read the directions on your College of Arts and Sciences application carefully. Returning users can use this link to log in to their existing application(s).
You should not have to send in any hard copies of your materials. You will be able to upload these documents in your applicant status portal after filling out the application.
-Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
-Two Writing Samples:
1.) Relevant Background, Experience, and Future Goals Statement (3-page maximum):
This statement introduces you to the admissions committee. In a compelling fashion, you will share your motivation and readiness to pursue advanced studies; steps you have taken to gain professional knowledge and skills; your experience working independently and on teams; and your career goals.
Applicants should note anything in their background that speaks to their unique perspective (ex: membership of a group currently underrepresented in museum leadership, first person or generation in family to achieve college degree or seek advanced degree).
2.) Graduate Research Plan Statement (2-page maximum):
Applicants may also cite the following:
These page limits include all references, citations, charts, figures, images, and lists of publications and presentations. Single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font for all text.
-Copies of Transcripts (Official transcripts will be required upon acceptance to the program.)
-Three Letters of Reference: The reference letters should preferably be written by former professors or museum professionals, should attest to your ability, level of maturity, and readiness for graduate level Critical Museum Studies. When you submit your references’ email addresses they will receive an automatic electronic solicitation. It is crucial that you provide a viable email address for each referee. You may wish to notify them in advance so that they can have their letter ready to upload. Please note that your recommenders will only receive this solicitation after you have submitted your application for final review. As such, we recommend that you plan to finalize your application prior to the deadline.
Upon application submission, pay the $75.00 fee through your Application Status page.
Master's Application Fee Waiver
A fee waiver is available for New York State residents who meet the following eligibility requirements. Applicants must:
Information about fee waiver eligibility is supplied upon submission of your application.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS:
To be reviewed for admission you must fill out the supplemental questions on the application for international students and upload the following documentation to your application.
These documents should be uploaded to your applicant status portal.
International applicants must also provide the following:
If you have questions about these documents, please ask - we are happy to help!
Interim Director of Studies, Critical Museum Studies
Department of Anthropology
380 Academic Center, Ellicott Complex
Phone: (716) 645-0402
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Anthropology
380 Academic Center, Ellicott Complex
Phone: (716) 645-6242