Tufts University, Department of Education

This is the review for the Museum Education program offered by Tufts University. This is a two-year program through the Education Department that includes Museum Studies courses in its curriculum. This program includes the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate program that can also be completed by itself.

  • About 35 students are accepted yearly
  • The two-year program requires students to complete five museum studies courses, two education courses and four elective courses on a topic of the student’s choice
  • The GRE is required

This information was found here and here.

 

tufts map
Tufts University is a private research university located in Medford, Massachusetts which is right outside of Boston. In a 15-minute car ride, (according to Google) you can be at the Boston Common.

So far, I have received six responses from alumni who graduated less than a year ago to 15 years ago. Five of these six were from students who graduates 0-5 years ago.

The advantages of the program are:

  • Substantial financial aid available
    Small program with the chance to make connections with colleagues
  • Opportunity to take education classes with K-12 Education Masters students to see the teacher side of things
  • Can take other general museum classes as well
  • Diverse interests – science, art, history-oriented students
  • Good mix of practice and theory behind informal education with a chance to make your own emphasis.
  • Internship but no thesis
  • Great network through alumni and professors – everyone in New England knows someone in the program.
  • Journal of Museum Education connection through Cynthia Robinson
  • Primarily after hours courses (6 pm – 9 pm) so a full-time job is possible during the program.
  • Professors are professionals in the field
  • MA and certificate are earned by the end of the program.

The disadvantages are:

  • The network is within the New England region
  • There was always a tension between how much to focus on museum-specific education versus education, design, and social sciences more generally
  • Cost
  • It would be nice to complete the program faster, but it would sacrifice the ability to work concurrently
  • Internship could be more flexible/shorter
  • Some courses were redundant
  • Generally art/history focused

The overall rating of the program as it was is 8.5/10.0

Four of the six respondents live near Tufts University.

Two respondents work in history museums, two work outside of the museum field, one works in a natural history museum, and one works for a museum consulting firm.

Four of the six respondents work in a position with responsibilities that include education, two hold positions that include visitor services/membership, one includes exhibitions, evaluation, collections management, and administration.

Some current job titles are:

  • Research Associate
  • Museum Educator
  • Lead Instructor & Module Team Program Manager

Some dream jobs are:

  • Director of Education
  • Director of Interpretive Planning
  • Visitor Experience Researcher

My Summary:

This looks like a great program for those interested in museum education within New England. There’s definitely plenty of education classes to pick. The small amount of strictly museum studies classes is a bit disappointing, personally, though understandable since Tufts only offers the graduate certificate.

Quick comment about a couple of the disadvantages. First, there does seem to be a lot going on in this program, especially keeping in mind that some if not many of the students are working full-time. Finding the right balance between education, museum studies, and elective courses is a personal choice and could be a challenge within itself. Second, although the museum courses could focus on art or history museums rather than science, there are options for education classes focusing on teaching STEM subjects.

If you’re looking for more information check out the program’s website. If you want to add your thoughts to this review, contact me, comment, and take the survey.

 

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