The Museum Studies Program was established in 1963 as a cooperative venture between UW-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Museum. The goal of the program is to provide, in a museum environment, the basic scholarship and functional training to equip the student with the skills necessary to assume professional entry-level museum positions in:

  • museums
  • galleries
  • archives
  • historical societies
  • related institutions

Coursework is structured to develop a high degree of professionalism and responsibility, skills in problem solving, critical thinking and evaluation, writing, oral presentation, decision-making, and teamwork.

The program stresses professional museum standards and ethics and proper care and interpretation of collections while providing the opportunity for the development of expertise and special skills. The program is designed to be practical and realistic.

The Certificate in Museum Studies must be completed in conjunction with a UWM graduate degree program. The certificate is designed to supplement a student’s graduate discipline and assumes that each student will have a firm footing in his/her academic field.

The program is listed and administered through the Anthropology Department at UW-Milwaukee and taught off-campus at the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) by museum professionals. All applicants to the Museum Studies certificate program must comply with a background check as required by Milwaukee Public Museum policy. Individuals with criminal records cannot be admitted to the program. 

Regular individual academic advising and career planning are important features of the program. The majority of graduates of the program find a paid position in a museum within one year of graduation. Graduates of the program have assumed responsibilities in museums and related institutions across the country as directors, curators, collections managers, registrars, educators, and more.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


Students must complete a minimum of 15 credits to earn the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate. Those interested in attaining the Certificate must indicate this in their application to their chosen graduate degree program in addition to completing a separate application for the Certificate. Students deciding to pursue the Certificate after having started a graduate degree program must both notify in writing the Director of Graduate Studies of their chosen graduate program and complete the Certificate online application.


  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School through the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted into a certificate program.

Credits and Courses

The certificate program consists of a minimum of 15 credits at the graduate level. ANTHRO 620 is the required gateway course for the certificate, but may be taken prior to admission to the certificate program for undergraduate credit. If ANTHRO 620 is taken for undergraduate credit, then 15 graduate credits are required for the certificate. If ANTHRO 620 is taken at the graduate level, a total of 18 credits are required for the certificate.

In all cases, the course prerequisites will be enforced, as the curriculum is sequenced.

ANTHRO 620Museum Fundamentals3
ANTHRO 621GInternship in Museum Studies3
ANTHRO 720History and Theory of Museums2
ANTHRO 721Administration and Organization of Museums3
ANTHRO 722Visitor Experience Design in Museums3
ANTHRO 723Museum Collections Management and Curation3
ANTHRO 725Professionalism Capstone in Museum Studies1
Total Credits18

 With approval of the program director an elective may be substituted for 621.

Anthropology, Art History, History, and Educational Psychology all offer courses that supplement the Museum Studies curriculum and such courses will count as electives. The structure and scheduling of the coursework requires at least two years for completion, since each course is taught only once a year and courses must be taken in sequence.

Additional Requirements

Transfer Credit

No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Grade Point Average Requirement

A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in PhD programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

  • 18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.
  • 19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.