Graduate Course Descriptions

Required Courses

MST 5301 - The Museum: History, Philosophy, Prospects This course provides an in-depth look at museums, the museum profession, and the field of museum studies. Students will learn the defining characteristics of different types of museums, how museums have evolved over time, how museums have striven for greater inclusiveness and respect for other cultures, and how they have dealt with subjects and exhibits that have proven controversial. The course usually includes field trips to several Texas museums, where students are shown exhibits and other public areas, but also meet professional staff members and sometime go behind the scenes.

MST 5304 - Collections Management This course considers the intellectual, physical, legal, financial, social, and ethical challenges of preserving and providing access to museum collections. Through lectures, readings, hands-on activities, and field trips students explore the theory and practice of collections management and learn how to maximize available resources for collections care in any museum regardless of size.
This course has been preapproved by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

MST 5309 - Museum Education This course will examine both directed/formal education and free-choice/informal learning opportunities in museums and how we effectively serve learners of all ages and learning styles. An in-depth consideration of the development of programs will include assessment and needs of target audiences, presentation techniques and content selection and organization, logistics, and implementation and evaluation.

MST 5311 - Issues in Museum Administration This course considers issues pertaining to non-profit administration, including working with a board of trustees, budgetary planning, fund raising, marketing, public relations, ethics and best practices and standards as promulgated by the American Alliance of Museums accreditation program. Students will gain practical experience in writing grants and in writing essays on current museum administration issues.
This course has been preapproved by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

MST 5340 -Capstone: Major Issues in Museum Administration > This course is designed for graduate students in their final semester of course work, who will soon be entering the job market or pursuing further graduate study. The course will bring together the theory and practice learned in the areas of museum history, education, collections, and administration, culminating in a comprehensive written examination, which is required for graduation. Students will also be coached on the practical aspects of entering the job market, including sessions on crafting letters of application and resumes, and mock job interviews.


MST 5312 - Outreach and Community Relations This course provides hands-on experience in researching, creating and executing strategies in advertising, public relations, marketing and development/fundraising. Students will explore the development of outreach techniques in the United States and will create a finished marketing plan for a museum/archive/library partner institution as part of the course.
This course has been preapproved by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

MST 5318 - Ethical Issues in Museum Collections Management Museum collections are held in trust for the public. When that trust is violated, the public outcry is often emotional. This course considers the ethical issues behind the media headlines, whether the issue is the sale of museum collections, the patrimony of antiquities, or the repatriation of collections such as Nazi-looted art or Native American collections.

MST 5323 - Historic Preservation This course focuses on the historic preservation movement and the parallel development of historic house museums and historic villages, following historic preservation from early patriotic and volunteer-based efforts such as Mount Vernon, to the development of preservation professionals at Colonial Williamsburg and elsewhere, and ultimately to modern preservation organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and important tools such as the National Register of Historic Places. Field trips include visits to historic house museums and also to National Register districts in Waco.

MST 5324 - Archival Arrangement and Description Introduction to the intellectual and physical organization of archival materials in all media and formats. Students will examine the core principles and standards underlying the processes of arrangement and description and their application to different types of archival collections. In this course, students put archival theory into practice, processing a small archival collection.
This course has been preapproved by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

MST 5326 - Archival Technology and Digital Collections Management Museums, libraries and archives of any size are dependent on technology for a variety of functions, from routine artifact cataloging to exhibit display systems. This course will examine the major uses of technology in cultural heritage settings, with an emphasis on the creation of archival digital objects and online digital collections.
This course has been preapproved by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

MST 5328 - American Material Culture The material remains of the past provide a window into American social, cultural and political life. Students will learn to interpret museum objects through study of the artifacts themselves, related artifacts and landscapes, and other forms of evidence that expose their deeper meanings, including probate inventories, letters, diaries, newspapers, books and maps. Field trips to historic house museums and other historic buildings allow student to apply their knowledge in the field.

MST 5329 - American Decorative Arts This course examines American decorative arts from the seventeenth century to the mid-twentieth century, particularly furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, textiles, prints and paintings, with emphasis on the perspectives of maker and user, the influence of Britain and other countries, differences between regions, differences between urban and rural, and differences over time. The course includes museum field trips which allow for first-hand examination of major decorative arts collections.

MST 5331 - Design and Management of Museum Exhibits This course will consider the public dimension of exhibit design, the needs and interests of varied audiences, different learning styles, and the best interpretive approaches. Classroom theory will be combined with in-the-field application, with a particular focus on exhibit planning, teamwork and management, design elements, lighting, interpretation of objects and ideas, labels and evaluation.

MST 5333 - Issues in Preservation Management This course examines the causes of deterioration in collections; micro- and macro-storage solutions; collections care in use; disaster preparedness; policy development; needs assessment; preservation planning; and funding and program development. Through readings, lectures, hands-on assignments, presentations, small group discussions, and field trips, students learn how to develop, implement, and manage preservation programs in museums and archives.
This course has been preapproved by the Academy of Certified Archivists.

Capstone Experience

MST 5V97 - Master's Internship The master's internship is an immersive professional experience at a museum or related institution, approximately 400 hours, usually full-time over a ten-week period. The host museum must have one or more professional staff members, so that the staff serves as mentors to the student. The student keeps a journal and submits mid-term and final reports. The journal should include not only the student's activities of a given day but also their observation of how best practices are applied in the real world. Upon conclusion of the internship the student makes a formal presentation to students, faculty, and museum staff.

MST 5V98 - Professional Project The professional project requires application of professional skills and is usually performed over the two semesters of the student's second year. It may be completed at the Mayborn Museum Complex at another museum, or at a related institution. In all cases, the project must be approved by the department in advance. It is important that the project be of an appropriate scale, both as a substantial undertaking but also as one that can be completed in two semesters. The professional project concludes with the submission of a final report and a formal presentation to students, faculty, and museum staff.

MST 5V99 - Master's Thesis A thesis entails original research into a topic pertaining to museums, museum collections and exhibits, or the museum profession. The student submits a proposal to the department, which has final approval of any topic. The department chair names a chair and a second reader from Museum Studies, both of whom must be members of the graduate faculty; one reader from outside the department who is member of graduate faculty is required. Museum professionals from Baylor or other institutions may serve as additional readers. When the thesis is nearing completion, the student must make a formal presentation to students, faculty, and museum staff, and further discuss their thesis with their committee.

Department of Museum Studies

1300 S. University Parks Drive
Waco, TX 76706

(254) 710-1233