Courses in Museum Studies


For students entering the program beginning Fall 2019 and thereafter, the formal program includes six core courses (Anthro 620, 720-723 and 725) and one elective or internship (Anthro 621), for a total of 18 credits.* The elective may be taken at any time, preferably after completion of 620. There are a number of courses available at UWM in various departments that satisfy the elective requirement. The elective must have relevance to the field of museum studies and must be approved by the Museum Studies Program Coordinators and the student’s advisor before the student enrolls in the course.

Required Courses

Anthro 620 – Museum Fundamentals (3 credits, Fall Semester)
This course introduces the student to a wide range of topics and challenges in the museum field such as governance, ethics, collections, exhibition, research, education, marketing, and development. Sessions also include discussions on topical issues and lectures by individuals in the museum profession as well as assignments in the Milwaukee Public Museum and other local museums. Prerequisite: Admission into the Program.

Anthro 720 – History and Theory of Museums (2 credits, Fall Semester)
Exploring the history of museums and their changing social and cultural roles through seminar discussion is the focus of this course. Readings are drawn from several disciplines. Seminar topics include: the origins of contemporary museums and professional museum practice, colonialism and the ethics of museum collecting, and the emergence of tribal, eco-, memorializing, and other types of museums. Prerequisite: Admission into the Program.

Anthro 721 – Administration and Organization of Museums (3 credits, Spring Semester)
Three themes run through this course: management and administration, organizational structure, and the qualities and skills required of leaders of museums. Each of these course components includes a focus on discussing the changing nature of museums in the 21st century, guest presentations from regional museum leaders, and course projects focused on strategic planning and the museum accreditation process.  Prerequisite: Anthro 620.

Anthro 722 – Visitor Experience Design in Museums (3 credits, Spring Semester)
This course is designed to give students a practical guide to understanding the elements of the museum visitor experience from pre-visit awareness through post-visit reflection. Experience design will be explored within the main frameworks of marketing, exhibit design, and educational programming, with classes relating to audience development, market research, evaluation and new theories of participation in museum exhibits. Prerequisite: Anthro 723.

Anthro 723 – Museum Collections Management and Curation (3 credits, Fall Semester)
Basic knowledge and skills for curating and managing museum collections including methods and techniques used are covered in this course. Topics include collections registration and documentation, risk management and insurance concerns, disaster planning, packing/shipping, and preventive conservation topics such as artifact handling, monitoring the museum environment, and pest management. Prerequisite: Anthro 721.

Anthro 725 – Professionalism Capstone in Museum Studies (1 credit, Spring Semester)
This course is organized around a series of assignments designed to prepare students for professional museum employment, including: resumé and cover letter writing, job searching and professional networking, among others. Sessions also include discussion of topical issues with individuals in the museum profession. Prerequisite: concurrent with Anthro 722.

Elective/Internship Options

Although most students elect to fulfill this course requirement with an internship, courses related to museum studies are offered by a variety of departments at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. History, Art History, Art, Anthropology and Educational Psychology all offer courses that supplement the Museum Studies Program curriculum and fulfill the required elective.

Anthro 621 – Internship in Museum Studies (Each Semester)
An internship is the most effective way of gaining in-depth practical experience in a chosen subfield of museum studies. Even though the program stresses curatorial and collections work, it also provides opportunities through internships to specialize in other areas such as education or marketing. To register for Anthro 621, the student must obtain written approval from the sponsoring museum and the UWM Museum Studies Coordinator. Students have completed internships in various sections of the Milwaukee Public Museum as well as in museums across the state, country, and internationally. There are over 200 museums in the state of Wisconsin and 40 museums within a 50-mile radius of Milwaukee, which provide students with a wide variety of internship possibilities.

Museum Studies Elective Courses

There are a number of elective courses offered at UWM that may be of interest to students enrolled in the Museum Studies Certificate Program. If you are interested in taking any of these courses, please contact the professors or departments directly for more information about the course content.

Graduate Student Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.

* Regarding those who began the program up to Fall 2018, students must complete the four required courses (and the elective/Anthro 724 internship) in the following sequence in order to fulfill the certificate requirements under the prior curriculum:

  • Anthro 720, History and Theory of Museums
  • Anthro 721, Administration and Organization of Museums
  • Anthro 723, Museum Collections Management and Curation
  • Anthro 722, Visitor Experience Design in Museums