The Master of Liberal Arts, Museum Studies degree field consists of 10 courses, with a minimum of two courses on campus. Weekend options 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
- Six electives from any of the following areas:
- Business of museums
- Collections care
- Exhibition design and development
- Museum education
- Optional internship or additional elective
- The Capstone Proposal Tutorial (noncredit)
- The Capstone
Admissions: Earn Your Way In
To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following two, graduate-level degree courses:
- MUSE 100 Introduction to Museum Studies
- MUSE 102 Proseminar: Introduction to Graduate Studies and Scholarly Writing in Museum Studies
- 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 (counts as one of the six electives).
- 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.
The two courses don't need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.
You need to possess a four-year, US regionally accredited bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent before enrolling in any degree-applicable courses.
Applying to the Degree Program
During the semester of your second degree course, submit an official application to the program. Don't delay! We have fall, spring, and summer admission cycles.
If you submit a complete and timely application, which includes, required Harvard courses, grades, and cumulative GPA—you will be admitted, after which you'll have eight more courses to complete to earn the degree.
For more details about eligibility and the application process, visit Admissions.
The Harvard On-Campus Experience
Most courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least eight credits (usually two 4-credit courses), which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.
On-campus requirements can be completed through any combination of the following:
- 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 (only half courses at just two credits each; need to complete two to earn full course credit).
Accelerated on-campus path: two intensive weekends on campus.
International Students Who Need a Student Visa
To meet the on-campus requirement, you study with us in the summer. The accelerated 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.
Ordinarily, your capstone will have a main focus on (1) Business of museums, (2) Collections care, (3) Exhibition design and development, (4) Museum education, or (5) Technology. Whatever main focus you choose, you must have at least two courses completed in that area of interest before you propose your capstone.
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 five concentrations: 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.