The first interview for the Museum Studies Program at George Washington University. This individual attended the GWU in 2014 and currently works at an art museum. Huge thank you to him for providing answers to some additional questions about his experiences in graduate school.
Why did you choose the Museum Studies Program at George Washington University?
I chose GWU because it is known as the best in the field. Their faculty and alumni network is great for networking.
What particular skills were taught in the program?
The program has three different focuses: collections management, museum management and leadership, or exhibition design.
Was the program a balance of theory and application or do you feel it was heavy on one or the other? Were you able to choose how much education you received in either?
The program is somewhat heavy in theory. It is augmented by it’s two required internships. In the collections track, Collections I is all theory, whereas Collections II is a mix of theory and practice. Both Collections I and II as well as the two internships are required in order to graduate. The program is roughly 15 credits of required Museum Studies courses and 15 credits of electives in your chosen field (i.e. art, history, zoology, american studies, etc.)
Did you complete a thesis or capstone project? If so, what was your topic?
I I did not complete a thesis. The program requires the completion of two internships that have accompanying final projects, as well as a comprehensive exam at the end of the graduate program.
Where were you and your classmates in your career? Just out of undergrad, or coming from an entry-level museum position, or coming from outside of the field, etc.?
The program has students from all walks of life. Just out of undergrad, trying to advance in their museum career, or making a career change.
Related, who would you recommend your program for?
The GWU program works best for those that have had no experience working in museums in the past.
Was housing provided for grad students or did you find your own housing and was it a challenge?
Housing is not provided. DC has some of the highest rent prices in the nation.
Did you end up living outside D.C then? How was your commute?
I did end up living outside of DC. My commute to class was about an hour via public transportation.
Any advice for those looking into graduate school and beginning a career in museums?
The only thing I would impress upon those looking into grad school is that they need to be realistic about career opportunities and pay. Getting a job in this field is extremely difficult and tend not to pay well. Grad school is incredibly expensive, and GWU offers little financial aid, and debt could become a crippling thing to a student.
Thank you again for providing these answers! If there are additional questions you would like answered about the GWU Museum Studies Program or other graduate programs in the future, let me know. If you would like more information on this program, head over to the blog post or their website.