New Degree Options in Museum Studies
After a hiatus of more than a dozen years, the undergraduate major is returning to the Department of Museum Studies at Baylor University. In addition, the department has created a new program that will allow Baylor students to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years; this can be done entirely in museum studies or in conjunction with an undergraduate major in American Studies, Anthropology, Art and Art History, History, or Journalism.
All students hoping to major in Museum Studies start with MST 1300, “Introduction to Museums.” They then must choose 27 hours of coursework from four of five areas: Education, Collections, Curation, Administration, and Research. This allows students either to sample from all of the key museum specializations or to focus on just one or two. Students may also earn six hours of academic credit through one or two internships, which can be done in Waco or over the summer at a museum elsewhere.
The joint bachelor’s and master’s degree in museum studies is the first in the nation and is expected to bring students to Baylor as undergrads to take advantage of this novel approach. “This is an exciting opportunity for Baylor students,” said Dr. Kenneth Hafertepe, long-time chair of the department. “Undergrad students can take courses in museum studies and related disciplines while also knowing that our graduate courses will prepare them for professional positions in the museum world.”
Graduates of the Department of Museum Studies have gone on to professional positions at a wide variety of museums and related cultural institutions. These jobs are coast-to-coast, from the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles to the Archives at Princeton University, and also include such fine central Texas museums as the Dr Pepper Museum, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Bell County Museum.
Graduate students take advantage of various graduate student employment opportunities at Baylor. Many of these are at the Mayborn Museum Complex, where departmental classrooms, library, laboratory, and offices are located. The department and the Mayborn work closely together. Other graduate student employment opportunities enable graduate students to gain professional experience on campus at the Armstrong-Browning Library, the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society, the Martin Museum of Art, the Poage Legislative Library, the Riley Digitization Center, and the Texas Collection. The department has a close relationship with the Waco Mammoth National Monument, as fossil remains are kept in the collections of the Mayborn Museum and one graduate student works at the site as alongside staff from the National Park Service and the City of Waco.
Baylor students can also opt for a minor in informal education at the undergraduate level. This minor is a joint offering of the department and the School of Education. This is also an offering can be found only at Baylor.
The department also allows for a concentration in the management of archival collections. Six of the department’s courses have been pre-approved by the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA); this will expedite the process of taking the ACA certification examination. Students who take nine hours of these courses and then pass the exam are provisionally certified, and with one year or more of professional employment can use the term “Certified Archivist.”
Some graduates of the program have also returned as adjunct lecturers in the department, teaching classes in collections management, museum outreach and community relations, non-profit management, and the design and management of exhibits. Their rich and varied professional expertise helps to make this one of the best programs in the nation.
The Department was founded in 1993 when a master’s degree was added to an already existing undergraduate major. The undergrad degree was part of a double major, which was usually paired with history, anthropology, or art and art history. In 2008 the undergraduate major was shelved in order to focus on the master’s program, which was growing rapidly. The master’s degree is the highest one on the field and prepares students for work in a wide variety of professional positions in museums and related institutions.
For more information visit our website: https://www.baylor.edu/museum_studies/ or email Dr. Kenneth Hafertepe, Department Chair, or Dr. Kimberly McCray, Graduate Program Director.