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
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
- 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
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.