Degree Requirements

Required Courses

The Master of Liberal Arts, Museum Studies degree field consists of 10 courses, two of which are required for admission and two are required on campus. Weekend on-campus options are available.

10 Graduate Courses

The museum studies program is customizable. Within the program curriculum, you choose the museum studies electives that support your personal learning goals.

  • Introduction to Museum Studies
  • Proseminar
  • Six museum studies electives from any of the following areas:
    • Business of museums
    • Collections care
    • Exhibition design and development
    • Museum education
    • Technology
    • EXPO 42a is an elective option as well.
  • Optional internship or additional elective
  • Capstone

Search Museum Studies Degree Courses

Admissions: Earn Your Way In

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following two degree courses (both are available online):

  • MUSE 100 Introduction to Museum Studies
  • MUSE 102 Proseminar: Writing Skills for Museum Studies Scholars and Professionals
    • Before registering, you'll need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills or earn a B or higher in the EXPO 42a Writing in the Humanities.
    • You have two registration attempts to earn the minimum grade of B. The proseminar cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.

You complete the two degree courses with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0. Before you enroll in any degree-applicable courses, you need to possess an undergraduate degree.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit an official application to the program. We have fall, spring, and summer admission cycles.

If you submit a complete application—which includes, required Harvard courses, grades, and cumulative GPA—you will be admitted, after which you'll have only eight more courses to complete to earn your degree.

How to Apply

    The Harvard On-Campus Experience

    Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least eight credits (usually two courses), which gives you access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

    On-campus requirements can be completed through:

    • 15-week fall or spring semester courses that meet only on campus (online option courses do not fulfill this requirement).
    • Courses that combine weekly online classes over a semester with an intensive weekend on campus.
    • Three-week January courses that meet only on campus.
    • Three- or seven-week summer courses that meet only on campus.
    • Active-learning weekends (half a course; two credits each; the maximum allowed is 8 credits).

    Accelerated on-campus path: typically two weekends.

    International Students Who Need a Student Visa

    To meet the on-campus requirement, you study with us in the summer. The shortest on-campus option is two three-week sessions. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School. For more information, see the important visa information on the International Student Study Options page.

    To complete your degree

    Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher

    You need to earn a B or higher in each of the two degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses, but be sure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

    Optional Internship

    You can complete an internship in a museum here in Cambridge (e.g., in a Harvard University or Boston-area museum) or in a museum near your home. In lieu of the internship, you (1) complete three of your museum studies electives in one of the following concentration areas: Business of museums, Collections care, Exhibition design and development, Museum education, or Technology; and (2) replace the internship with an additional four-credit elective. One of the three concentration courses can be an active-learning weekend.

    Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years

    You have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program. Moreover, courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

    Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

    When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your degree: Master of Liberal Arts in extension studies, Field: Museum Studies. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May. 

    Degree Guidelines and Policies

    For information about special academic opportunities, student privileges, and policies, see Completing Your Degree.