Two men in a boulder field
Degrees Offered: MS

Museum and field studies trains future professionals in the history, theory and skills necessary to engage in museum work. This interdisciplinary program can include education in anthropology, art history, history, botany, entomology, paleontology and zoology, and areas of study include: anthropological interpretation, diatom taxonomy, systematics and ecology, southwestern archaeology and ethnology, plant taxonomy, evolution and phyto­geography, vertebrate paleontology and Cenozoic mammals, biology of aquatic invertebrates, systematics and population biology of insects of the Rocky Mountain Region, plant–insect interactions and mammalogy.

Graduate Studies

The museum and field studies graduate program offers flexibility around a core curriculum of courses and internship. Students have many opportunities to customize their MFS experience, including: volunteering as a docent in the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, getting involved in exhibits and programming through the Museum Club, mentoring middle school girls in science through Girls At the Museum Exploring Science (GAMES), volunteering at one of more than 20 local museums and parks, collaborating with other CU museums, galleries and libraries, working as a graduate assistant in collections, museum education or other areas of the CU Museum, conducting research in science or museum studies or taking cognate courses in any of the university's departments

The interdisciplinary museum and field studies program leading to a Master of Science degree is administered by the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, in conjunction with the Departments of Anthropology, History, Art History, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Geological Sciences. 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.

Two program 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 and the organization and management of museums. The curriculum offers both academic training in a discipline and hands­on experience with all aspects of the public museum.

Professional Certificate in Museology

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

Research Opportunities

Students in the program have access to the most extensive library of natural diversity in the state and take classes and conduct research in the recently renovated Bruce Curtis Building. The building houses about 3 million specimens from CU­ Boulder’s Museum of Natural History collection and includes a specially designed laboratory classroom, three “smart” classrooms, several laboratories and collection libraries, a walk­in freezer for specimen decontamination and a casting lab to replicate paleontological and archaeological items.