The culmination of a Museum and Field Studies student's program is the Master's thesis or project. The thesis may be of research, expository, critical or creative nature, and typically focuses on a more traditionally academic topic related to museum work. A project should be an original development of materials, procedures, programs, or other practical information relevant to the student's specialty discipline and intended for direct museum application.

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M.S. Thesis Requirements
M.S. Project Requirements

Please discuss whether you are interested in a thesis or project with your prospective advisor before applying to the program.

What Topics Do Students Study?

Following is a list of the Project and Thesis titles submitted to the graduate school over the past several years. An all-inclusive list of titles is available in the Museum and Field Studies office.

2020 Graduates

  • Mikayla Costales, Decolonizing Theory and Praxis: Principles for Collaboration between Native American Communities and Government Run Recreation Sites (thesis)
  • Alexandra Elliott, Getting the Odd Beetle Out: An Integrated Pest Management Investigation of Odd Beetle (Thylodrias contractus) Activity at the CU Museum of Natural History (project)
  • Jessica Mailhot, Seeing the Story: Making Data Visualization Accessible to Natural History Collections Through the Creation of Custom-made Dashboards and Resources (project)
  • Ashley Muggli, Identifying Unassociated Funerary Objects in Museum Collections (project)
  • Alexis Newton, Is the Mission the Message? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Museum Mission Statements (thesis)
  • Jordan Swenson, Diatoms of the Esteros del Ibera A Taxonomic and Ecological Comparison of Historic and Contemporary Collections (thesis)
  • Justin Williams, Taxonomy, Nomenclator, and Review of Stenogyne (Lamiaceae) (thesis)

2019 Graduates

  • Erin Barbeau, Novel Hostplant Effect on Defensive Behaviors of White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) Caterpillars (thesis)
  • Julie Byle, The Science of Nature Based Learning: Evaluating the Nexus of Leadership, Agency, and Positive Emotions on Student Experiences through Participative Decision Making on Curriculum Intervention (thesis)
  • Trevor Ganske, Collaborative, Interpretive and Spatial Development of the Far View Visitor Center at Mesa Verde National Park (project)
  • Baylee Hughes, Engaging With African American Communities Through Critical Race Theory and Indigenous Decolonizing Methodologies in the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (thesis)
  • Sydney Marshall, Students Helping Students: Co-Creating Programs in the CU Museum of Natural History (project)
  • Kelly Martin, Utilizing Molecular Phylogenetics to Assess Genetic Diversity of Western United States Physa and Helisoma Snails (thesis)
  • Jennifer Modzel, Stepping Out: 10,000 Years of Walking the West: Decolonizing Strategies at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (thesis)
  • Jane Richardson, Developing Tribal Museum Collection Policies and Plans: Museum Toolkit and Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation Report (project)
  • Sophia Warsh, A Floristic Inventory of Two Boulder County Open Space Parcels: Heil Valley Ranch and Hall Ranch, Colorado, U.S.A. (thesis)

2018 Graduates

  • Andrea Blaser, Space Assessments for Museum Collections Planning (project)
  • Emma Noffsinger, Preparing Collections for Consultation (project)
  • Reid Sweetkind, Phenomenon-based Curriculum in a Mammals Kit for Fourth Grade Classrooms (project)
  • Tara Templeman, New Earliest Paleocene (Puercan) Multituberculates from the China Butte Member of the Fort Union Formation, Great Divide Basin, Wyoming (thesis)

2017 Graduates

  • Clint Hofeldt, Master's Project: An Interpretive Plan for the University of Colorado's Mountain Research Station (project)
  • Sarah Robertson, Additional Perspectives: Creating a Kit for the Mathematical Exploration of Art (project)

2016 Graduates

  • Jesse Dutton-Kenny, Preserving Ethnographic Basketry Collections (project)
  • Kerrie Iyoob, Evaluating Microclimates Within Fluctuating Environments in Museum Collections (project)
  • Nicole Ridgwell, Rare Direct Evidence of Angiosperm Consumption by Dinosaurs Based on Coprolites from the Kaiparowits Formation of Utah (thesis)

2015 Graduates

  • Jacquelyn Bonavia, Preparing Private Antiquities Collections for Museum Acquisition: The Gell-Mann Pottery Collection Case Study (project)
  • Elisa Dahlberg, A New Earliest Paleocene (Puercan) Fauna from the Denver Formation in Colorado's Denver Basin (thesis)
  • Marcus Espinosa, An Analysis of Basketmaker III Seed Jar Ratios for the Basketmaker Communities Project (project)
  • Meredith George, Accountability and Transparency in Nonprofit Campaigns: A Case Study on the Museum of Science Boston (thesis)
  • Alissa Gigliotti, East of the Divide: The Native Fishes of Colorado, An Exhibit Plan (project)
  • Antonette Hrycyk, Visitor Interpretation of Gender Within a History Museum Exhibition (thesis)
  • Emily Lannoye, A New Middle Paleocene Mammalian Fauna from the Fort Union Formation, Great Divide Basin, Wyoming (thesis)
  • Keelin MacCarthy, Remember Each Snowflake: Creating a Process for Program Development (project)
  • Aubrie Reed, A Study of School Group Social Interaction at the History Colorado Center (thesis)
  • Alison Vitkus, Unusual, Fossiliferous, Concretions from the Lower Jurassic Moenave Formation in St. George, Utah, USA: Implications for Ancient Fish Mass Mortalities (thesis)
  • Lindsay Walker, Diversity of Eocene Coleoptera in Colorado During a Global Cooling Event (thesis)
  • Katherine Wolfson, Citizen Science: A Tool for Scientific, Discovery and Influencing Science Attitudes in Museums (thesis)

2014 Graduates

  • Richard Levy, Dispersal Potential Impacts Size Clines of Grasshoppers Across an Elevation Gradient (thesis)
  • Katherine McComas, A New Puercan Arctocyonid Genus from the Great Divide Basin, Wyoming (thesis)
  • Alison Seeberger, Museum Volunteers 2.0: Examining Motivation in the Era of Citizen Science (thesis)

 2013 Graduates

  • Danielle Forte, An Interactive Colorado House Spider Identification Guide (project)
  • Jessica Holm, Intergenerational Groups & Emerging Science: How Can Museums Facilitate Learning? (thesis)
  • Kayla Kramer, OBJECT BIOGRAPHIES: A Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation Buckskin and Quillwork Outfit, a Nez Perce Woman's Buckskin Dress, a Ramos Polychrome Jar, and a Navajo Man's Military Style-Jacket (thesis)
  • Karen Malone, The Who, What, Why, How, & When of Accessible Hands-On Programming: A Guidebook for Museum & Informal Educators (project)
  • Chistine McClellan, An Assessment of Student Exhibitions for the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History; the University of Colorado at Chimney Rock & the Archaeoastronomy of Chimney Rock (project)
  • Robert Rutherford, Past the Edge of the Canvas: A Holistic Approach to Creating Educational Web Content (project)
  • Sarah Snow, Memories of GAMES: Exploring the Long-Term Impacts of After-School Museum Programming on Girls' Attitudes Towards Science (thesis)
  • Deborah Wagner, Mamallian Body Size Change During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming (thesis)

2012 Graduates

  • Rachel Asquith, Factors Predicting Visitor Satisfaction in U.S. Museums (thesis)
  • Irina Fartushnikova, Cultural Representation in Museums: Assessing Changes in Museum Practice in Representation of Native American Cultures and Their Impact on Museum Visitors (thesis)
  • Taormina Lepore, Tissue-bearing Theropod Coprolites from the Laramie Formation (Maastrichtian) of Colorado (project)
  • Gillian McGinnis, Ceramics and Visitor Evaluations Project Summary (project)
  • Jennifer Seitz, Small Wonders: Developing a Beetle Exhibit (project)
  • Claire Wilbert, NAGPRA Consultation Workshop (project)
  • Kathryn Zullo, Engaging Senior Citizens at the CU Museum of Natural History (project)

2011 Graduates

  • Michael Poltenovage, Colorado Museum of Natural History Paleoasys Collections Management System User Manual (project)
  • Heather Robeson, An Observational Biodiversity Database for the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History (thesis)
  • Janell Thoene, Taphonomy of Insects from the Florissant Formation, Colorado (thesis)
  • Rhonda Wright, Setting the Standard: Creating an Archival Databasing Protocol Based on the Earl H. Morris Papers at the CUMNH (project)