Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Skip to content Skip to navigation

Museum Studies BS

Tina Olsin Lent, Program Director
(585) 475-2460, tnlgsh@rit.edu

Program overview

The bachelor of science degree in museum studies is an innovative, interdisciplinary, technically-based major that prepares students for careers in museums, archives, photo collections, and libraries.

Plan of study

The major includes a set of introductory and advanced core courses to familiarize students with the fundamentals of museum studies, including the history, theory, and practice of institutional collecting, conservation, and the technical investigation of art. To broaden and deepen their knowledge, students choose a professional track in art conservation, management, or public history.

Internship

The major requires students to complete a 200-hour internship in a cultural institution. This experience gives students the opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a professional setting and gain valuable work experience before they graduate.

Professional tracks

The professional tracks (management and public history) include course work that meets the criteria established by professionals in the field and reflects current opinion about necessary skill sets. Since 2000, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Committee on Museum Professional Training (COMPT) have called for revisions in the training of museum professionals that reflect evolving needs for management, leadership, information technology, fundraising, and grant writing skills—all of which are included in the management track. The public history track offers students core courses in learning how to think historically, make a sound historical argument, and present history effectively to a public audience.

Curriculum

Museum studies (management track), BS degree, typical course sequence 

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
MUSE-220 Introduction to Museums and Collecting 3
ARTH-135 History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval 3
ARTH-136 History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern 3
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Perspective 1, 2, 3, 4, 7A 15
MUSE-221 Introduction to Public History 3
ENGL-150 LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing 3
  Year One: College Experience 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
MUSE-358 Legal and Ethical Issues for Collecting Institutions 3
MUSE-341 Museum Education and Interpretation 3
MUSE-225 Museum and the Digital Age 3
MUSE-215 Organizational Behavior 3
MGMT-310 Leadership in Organization 3
  LAS Immersion 1 3
  LAS Perspective 5‡, 6, 7B 11
MUSE-224 History and Theory of Exhibitions 3
Third Year
MUSE-355 Fundraising, Grant Writing, and Marketing for Nonprofit Institutions 3
MGMT-415 Digital Entrepreneurship 3
MUSE-340 Introduction to Archival Studies 3
MUSE 354 Exhibition Design 3
MUSE 360 Visitor Engagement and Museum Technologies 3
  LAS Immersion 2, 3 6
  LAS Elective 3
MUSE-357 Collections Management and Museum Administration 3
MUSE-359 Cultural Informatics 3
Fourth Year
MUSE-489 Research Methods 3
MUSE-490 Senior Thesis 3
  Free Electives 6
  LAS Electives 18
Total Semester Credit Hours 122

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.

† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2015-16 academic year.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, the student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement. 

Museum studies (public history track), BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
MUSE-220 Introduction to Museums and Collecting 3
MUSE-221 Introduction to Public History 3
HIST-101 Making History 3
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Perspective 1, 2, 3, 4, 5‡, 7A 18
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing 3
  Year One: College Experience 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
MUSE-215 Museums and the Digital Age 3
HIST-125 Public History, Public Debates 3
  LAS Perspective 6, 7B 6
  LAS Immersion 1, 2 6
MUSE-224 History and Theory of Exhibitions 3
MUSE-341 Museum Education 3
HIST-324 Oral History 3
MUSE-358 Legal and Ethical Issues    3
Third Year
MUSE-354 Exhibition Design 3
MUSE-355 Fundraising, Grant Writing and Marketing 3
MUSE-359 Cultural Informatics 3
  History Elective 3
HIST-325 Museums and History 3
  LAS Immersion 3 3
MUSE-357 Collections Management and Museum Administration 3
MUSE-310 Visitor Engagement and Technologies 3
  LAS Electives 6
Fourth Year
MUSE-489 Research Methods 3
MUSE-490 Senior Thesis 3
  LAS Electives 18
  Free Electives 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 120

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.

† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2015-16 academic year.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, the student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

Additional information

Career opportunities

Upon graduation students are prepared to work in institutions that collect cultural objects, such as museums, historical sites, historical societies, libraries, archives, and corporations. Students are also prepared to further their education in graduate programs in museum studies, art history, informatics, arts management, library and information studies, or an MBA.

Advisers

Every student is assigned a faculty adviser who provides academic advising and career counseling. All of the faculty members in museum studies hold the highest degrees in their field and all have been published within their areas of expertise.




Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters.
View this program's information from the retired quarter calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.
 

Program overview

The bachelor of science degree in museum studies is an innovative, interdisciplinary, technically-based program that prepares students for careers in museums, archives, photo collections, and libraries.

Curriculum

The program includes a set of introductory and advanced core courses to familiarize students with the fundamentals of museum studies, including the history, theory, and practice of institutional collecting, conservation, and the technical investigation of art. To broaden and deepen their knowledge, students will also choose to pursue one of two specialized professional tracks: museum and information studies or art conservation.

Internship

The program requires students to complete a 200-hour internship in a cultural institution. This experience gives students the opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a professional setting and gain valuable work experience before they graduate.

Professional tracks

Both professional tracks (museum and information studies or art conservation) include course work that meets the criteria established by professionals in the field and reflects current opinion about necessary skill sets. Since 2000, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Committee on Museum Professional Training (COMPT) have called for revisions in the training of museum professionals that reflect evolving needs for management, leadership, information technology, fundraising, and grant writing skills—all of which the cultural resource and information studies track includes. The art conservation track features the traditional criteria for entry into the field as well as course work in chemistry and studio arts, two areas that have been identified as deficient in other undergraduate programs.

Museum studies (museum and information studies track), BS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

Course Qtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
0533-370 Introduction to Museums and Collection 4
2039-225, 226, 227 Survey of Western Art and Architecture I, II, III 9
  Freshman Studio 2
2067-264 Introduction to Photography 4
  Liberal Arts* 12
  Mathematics and Science Requirements‡ 13
1105-051, 052 First-Year Enrichment 2
Second Year
0533-423 Art Materials: Photography 4
0533-422 Art Materials: Panel Painting 4
  Freshman Studio 2
  Liberal Arts* 24
  Mathematics and Science Requirements‡ 8
  General Education Electives 8
  Wellness Education† 0
Third Year
0533-425 Display and Exhibition Design 4
0533-426 Collections Management and Museum Administration 4
0533-427 Fundraising, Grant Writing, and Marketing for Nonprofit Institutions 4
  Business Core 12
  Management Information Systems 12
  Institute Free Elective 12
Fourth Year
0533-438 Conservation of Cultural Materials 4
0533-424 Legal and Ethical Issues for Collecting Institutions 4
0533-437 Forensic Investigation of Art and Research Methods 4
0533-510 Senior Thesis 4
  Management Information Systems 8
  General Education Electives 12
  Institute Free Elective 4
Total Quarter Credit Hours 184

* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.

† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

‡ Please see Mathematics and Science Requirements for more information.

Museum studies (art conservation track), BS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

Course Qtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
0533-370 Introduction to Museums and Collection 4
2039-225, 226, 227 Survey of Western Art and Architecture I, II, III 9
  Freshman Studio 2
2067-264 Introduction to Photography 4
  Liberal Arts* 12
  Mathematics and Science Requirements‡ 13
1105-051, 052 First-Year Enrichment 2
Second Year
0533-423 Art Materials: Photography 4
0533-422 Art Materials: Panel Painting 4
  Freshman Studio 2
1013-231, 232, 233 Organic Chemistry I, II, III 12
  Liberal Arts* 16
  Mathematics and Science Requirements‡ 4
  General Education Electives 8
  Wellness Education† 0
Third Year
2013-211, 212, 213 Drawing I, II, III 9
  Liberal Arts 8
  General Education Electives 8
  Institute Free Elective 17
Fourth Year
0533-438 Conservation of Cultural Materials 4
0533-424 Legal and Ethical Issues for Collecting Institutions 4
0533-437 Forensic Investigation of Art and Research Methods 4
0533-510 Senior Thesis 4
  Sophomore-Level Studio 18
  General Education Electives 8
  Institute Free Elective 5
Total Quarter Credit Hours 185

* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.

† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

‡ Please see Mathematics and Science Requirements for more information.

Additional information

Career opportunities

Upon graduation students will be prepared to work in public and private institutions that collect cultural objects, such as museums, historical sites, historical societies, libraries, archives, and corporations. Students are also prepared to further their education in graduate programs in museum studies, art history, informatics, or arts management; an MLS in library and information studies; or an MBA.

Advisers

Every student is assigned a faculty adviser who provides academic advising and career counseling. All of the fine arts department faculty members in museum studies hold the highest degrees in their field and all have been published within their areas of expertise.