Museum and Field Studies

Museum courses listed in this catalog may be taken with the approval of the student’s major department and the course instructor, although no undergraduate major is offered in museum studies.

The interdisciplinary museum and field studies program leading to a master of science degree is administered by the University Museum, in conjunction with the departments of anthropology; history; art history; ecology and evolutionary biology; and geological sciences; as well as other departments. The program provides a strong background in a chosen field as well as theoretical and practical grounding in museology.

Internships are offered at a variety of museums in the region, including natural history, history, and art museums. Students completing the MS are trained as collection managers, curatorial assistants, registrars, museum educators, exhibit technicians, and administrators.

Program Tracks. Two tracks are available: a collection/field track and an administrative/public track.

  • The collection/field track offers training for students interested in the curatorial and research aspects of museum work, such as floristic or faunistic studies of the past and present, material culture of the past and present, and biological inventory. The curriculum gives students academic training as well as experience in all areas of museum work. Field experience is offered through the curatorial and field practica.
  • The administrative/public track offers education for students interested in the public aspects of the museum such as program development and evaluation, exhibition planning and design, education, and the organization and management of museums. The curriculum offers both academic training in a discipline and hands-on experience with all aspects of the public museum.

Course code for this program is MUSM.

Graduate Degree Program(s)

Graduate Study in Museum and Field Studies

Graduate training in anthropology, art history, history, botany, entomology, paleontology, and zoology is provided under the direction of museum faculty in cooperation with cognate departments and the museum and field studies program. Areas of study include, but are not limited to:

  • anthropological interpretation
  • diatom taxonomy, systematics, and ecology
  • southwestern archaeology and ethnology
  • plant taxonomy, evolution, and phyto­geography
  • vertebrate paleontology and Cenozoic stratigraphy
  • biology of aquatic invertebrates
  • systematics and population biology of insects of the Rocky Mountain Region
  • plant–insect interactions

Museum assistantships include support from the Walker Van Riper fund and research support from the Collie and William Henry Burt museum funds. Other financial assistance is available to selected students. Students interested in working toward advanced degrees under the direction of museum faculty should write the University of Colorado Museum, Museum and Field Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, 218 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0218, e-mail mfsinfo@colo­, or visit

Master of Science Degree in Museum and Field Studies 

Admission. Students must meet all university requirements for admission to graduate school and have a baccalaureate degree and at least a B (3.00) grade-point average in previous academic work. The baccalaureate degree should be in anthropology, biology, geology, geography, history (including archival studies), classics, fine arts, or education, although other majors will be considered. Acceptance to the program is decided by the admissions committee of the University Museum in consultation with the student’s department. The student must be accepted by an advisor in his or her discipline. Applicants accepted for graduate work by museum faculty must be admitted to the Graduate School

Requirements. The degree in museum and field studies is a two-year program requiring a total of 32 credit hours. Students may choose either the thesis or nonthesis plan. Depending on the track and plan, students complete from 9 to 15 credit hours in a department and from 13 to 22 credit hours in museology courses. One hundred fifty work hours of internship are required. The thesis plan requires the completion and successful defense of a thesis; the nonthesis plan requires the completion of a paper or a project.

For current course information, consult the Museum and Field Studies section under the College of Arts and Sciences. For new course or admissions information, write the Museum and Field Studies Program, University Museum, University of Colorado Boulder, 218 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0218; call 303-492-5437; e-mail; or visit

Certificate Program

Professional Certificate in Museology

Providing professional museum training for CU-Boulder graduate students and for museum professionals who seek to upgrade their skills and credentials, the Professional Certificate in Museology serves a range of disciplines in the arts and sciences, education, and engineering, as well as the Colorado museum community.

The curriculum for the professional certificate consists of the core museology sequence for the Museum and Field Studies degree program:

  • MUSM 5011 Introduction to Museum Studies
  • Three of the following five courses:
    MUSM 5030 Museum Education
    MUSM 5031 Exhibit Development
    MUSM 5041 Museum Administration
    MUSM 5051 Collections Management
    MUSM 6110 Seminar in Museum Issues

The Professional Certificate in  Museology requires a minimum of 12 credit hours. It is supplemented by a 75-hour internahip, which may be waived if comaparble professional experience is demonstrated.