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Master of Arts in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies

The Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies major at the MA level offers theoretical and practical training in the investigation and management of cultural heritage. Interdisciplinary courses explore the various ways in which people represent, value, and use the past, and how this past is taught, disseminated, and publicly debated. Extended internships provide professional experience in real world situations. To this end the program works closely with the Florida State University’s system of museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, other local and regional art institutions, and governmental agencies, such as the Southeastern Archeological Center, the Bureau of Archaeological Research, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Museum of Florida History.

Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies is aimed at both those who wish to study museum practices and cultural heritage as an academic subject, and those who wish to obtain employment in museums or other cultural heritage agencies. The MA provides students with the research, conceptual, and analytical skills required of museum and cultural heritage professionals and provides a solid academic foundation for advanced research.

This program participates in the Academic Common Market (ACM), an agreement for sharing specialized academic programs among the participating states of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). Participating states allow their residents who are fully admissible into specific University programs at out-of-state institutions to enroll there on an in-state tuition basis.


Prospective students should have a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in art history or a related field, such as archaeology, history, or classics and reading knowledge of one foreign language. Admissions are based on scholastic record, letters of recommendation, foreign language proficiency, and GRE scores.


The program is designed to be completed within 2 years (including six hours of internship during the summer after the first year of coursework).

Program of Study and Course Requirements

The program consists of 9 hours of core courses (Museum Basics, Cultural Heritage: Theory and Method, and The Museum Object), 15 hours of Art History, 6 hours in Museum and Cultural Heritage electives (taken outside the Department of Art History), and 12 hours of internship, including a capstone project for a total of 42 credit hours. Three of the five Art History courses are to be taken in a single field of study so as to create a major area of expertise.

An ideal program would take the following form:

Semester One
Museum Basics (required)
Cultural Heritage: Theory & Method (required)

Semester Two 
The Museum Object (required)
Cultural Heritage (required)
Art History

Summer Internship (6 Credits)

Semester Three
Art History
Art History
Internship (capstone project)

Semester Four
Museum/Cultural Heritage Elective
Art History
Internship (capstone project)

Language Requirement

A reading knowledge of at least one foreign language relevant to the student's area of study is required for completion of the master's program. The student has the option of passing an exam in reading knowledge by the end of the first academic year, or successfully completing an intermediate-level course.

M.A. Progress Review

The faculty reviews and evaluates each student's progress at the end of the first academic year. Two weeks prior to the evaluation, the student submits two copies of a paper written in a graduate course in Art History at FSU as an example of research and writing skill. Students will maintain a grade of B or better in all coursework and a 3.0 average. A grade of B- in a course will not count toward fulfilling degree requirements.

Internship and Capstone Project

The steering committee for Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies supervises the students’ course of study and progress through the major and monitors work and experience gained through the 12 hours of internship. Members of this committee work with the student to develop their capstone project usually in consultation with the needs of the host institution of the internship. In the fourth semester of coursework students present their capstone project to the committee, consisting of a portfolio of material including a journal of their internship experience and an 8000-word paper or proposal.

The FSU and Ringling Museum Joint M.A. and Internship program in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies 

Florida State University’s master's program in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies combines intensive academic coursework with the faculty in Art History at FSU with a full year of internship and professional coursework at The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The program provides insight into and training for museum careers through practical work experience not available in most academic settings. After completing eight museum and art history courses in Tallahassee during the first year of study, students spend their second year in Sarasota at the Ringling. There they participate in the daily operations of specific museum departments and are intimately involved in all aspects of museum operations. A final project growing out of coursework and the internship serves as a capstone experience. For additional information please write Dr. Michael D. Carrasco, director of Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, or consult the Master of Arts in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies webpage.