Updated on February 11, 2017 to incorporate additional responses.
This is the review for Seton Hall University’s MA in Museum Professions. If you don’t know already, here are some quick facts about the university and its program:
- Seton Hall is one of the oldest diocesan universities in the U.S.
- total graduate student enrollment is 4,300
- the overall rate of employment six months after graduation in 2015 was 88%
- some museums graduates work at include the Museum of Modern Art, Country Music Hall of Fame, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Ten graduates completed the survey, having graduated less than a year ago to ten years ago. The breakdown is, 7 graduated 0-5 years ago and 3 graduated 6-10 years ago.
The advantages listed for this program are as follows.
- Offers hands-on training, internships and field trips are part of program
- Focuses on practical knowledge and internships
- Location is perfect for easy access to New Jersey and New York City cultural institutions
- Can be combined with a Bachelor’s degree and possibility of additional certificate program in nonprofit leadership
- Scheduled for working professionals–night and weekend classes
- Has a combination of professors that are professionals currently working in the field and professors that are focused on academics as well as guest speakers
- Various graduate assistant positions available for students to offset the costs of the degree
- Program has four tracks to pick from: Registration, Education, Management, Exhibitions
- Great for registration
- Thesis is required
- Foreign language is not required
- Seminar abroad
- Institute of Museum Ethics
However, some drawbacks are:
- Wasn’t as good for exhibitions with the exception of Producing an Exhibition which was excellent
- Some of the classes are a little redundant, but mandatory
- Some of the adjunct professors are not as invested in the student’s education as others
- Doesn’t have any classes that are very hands-on. if a student doesn’t have prior experience in object handling, crate-building, or other things you will run into in the field, you will hear about them in the program, but not actually practice them.
- Program has mostly an art/art history museum focus (which could be interpreted as a positive or negative point depending on your perspective)
- A lack of job/career advice upon graduating the program
With these aspects of the program in mind, respondents gave the program as it was an 7.8/10.0.
Those that have kept in contact with this program gave the program as it is now a rating of 7.83/10.00*.
This change in rating was in part due to increased enrollment that has resulted in larger class sizes and changes in faculty that have led to less diverse course offerings.
*Only six of the ten respondents answered this question.
Six of the ten respondents do work near Seton Hall University.
Though respondents listed an art/art history focus to the program, these individuals work in a variety of types of museums and institutions. The breakdown is as follows: two work in specialty museums, two in a corporate collection or museum-related company, two in art museums, and two in academic galleries or museums, one in a history museum, and one in a library.
The majority of these respondents do work that includes registration (7 of the ten graduates) followed by collections management (4), exhibitions (3), education (2), administration (1), visitor services/membership (1), and archival/library duties (1).
Some examples of current job titles are: Assistant Registrar, Southwest History and Geneology Clerk, Project Manager, Collections Assistant, and Historical Program Specialist.
These graduates are dreaming about being: Exhibitions Manager, Registrar, Collections Manager, and Manager of Visitor Experience.
After reading through these responses and poking around the website, the Museum Professions program as Seton Hall looks interesting and has some aspects that make it stand out from the other programs I’ve reviewed so far. One of these is the seminars abroad during which students take ten days to go to another country to see how museums outside the States operate. Another is the Institute of Museum Ethics. It’s located at Seton Hall University! This may be a great place to go if you’re interested in museum law just based on that one resource.
One of the disadvantages listed above claims that the classes are not hands on while many stated hands-on, practical experience was one of the many assets of this program. A potential explanation for this discrepancy may be that within the classroom is very lecture/discussion based and at internships and field trips is where students experience the hands-on aspect. This is something I will be following up on in the future.
Overall, I’d say this program is a great fit for someone interested in registration or collections management and is looking to build their career in the New York City metro area. Though, especially due to the fact that this is a private university, I would definitely look into those graduate assistant positions for some help with tuition.
If you’re looking to do more research on your own, here is the link to the Museum Professions home page. There are links to the page about the seminar abroad and the Institute of Museum Ethics above. If you have something to add please comment below, complete the survey or contact me!