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MA in Museums, Heritage, and Public History

The MA in Museums, Heritage, and Public History joins theoretical and practical study at an advanced level to prepare students for careers in museums, heritage institutions, historic sites and societies, and related organizations. The program works closely with cultural resources in St. Louis, particularly the city's many museums and historic sites. We focus on community engagement, the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of material culture, interpreting and debating the past, new media and public education, and research in archival and material collections. Our graduates work in art museums, history museums, science centers, historic house museums, and other cultural institutions across the United States and internationally. 

Admission Requirements

Prospective students for the Master of Arts in Museums, Heritage, and Public History must apply specifically for this program on the graduate application. Applications for the Master of Arts in Museums, Heritage, and Public History will be accepted only for the fall semester.

Prospective students must demonstrate high academic potential. Typically, the History department admits only students with at least a 3.2 grade point average in their undergraduate major; most successful applicants have higher grades. An undergraduate major in History is not required for admission to this program. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, preferably from former teachers and/or employers, and a sample of their written work. Applicants must also complete the Museums, Heritage, and Public History Supplemental Application, which includes a statement of career intent.

Admissions decisions are based on the undergraduate transcript, the letters of recommendation, the sample of written work, and the supplemental application.

Program Requirements (34 hours)

All candidates for the M.A. in Museums, Heritage, and Public History must complete the following core courses (20 hours):

HIST 6000

The Historian's Craft


HIST 6001

Introduction to Public History and Cultural Heritage


HIST 6002

Material Culture in Historical Context


or HIST 6134

History Curatorship

HIST 6131

Museum Origins and Evolution


HIST 6142

Readings in U.S. History


or HIST 6143

Readings in World History

Choose one of the following:


HIST 6125

Practicum in Public History and Cultural Heritage

HIST 6127

Museums and Communities

HIST 6129

Emerging Museum Practices

Total Hours


Candidates must also complete 10 credit hours of elective courses. These may include courses listed above, if not already taken for the core, or additional courses which may include the following:


Archaeological Field School



Practicum In Exhibit & Program Development



The History of the Visual Arts in American Museums


ART HS 5593

Museum Management & Curatorial Practice


HIST 6130

Collections Management and Registration


HIST 6133

Museums and History in the Digital Age


HIST 6137

Museum Organization and Operations


POL SCI 6300

Leadership and Management in NonProfit Organizations


P P ADM 6311

Staff Management Issues in Nonprofit Organizations


P P ADM 6312

Legal Issues in Managing Nonprofit Organizations


P P ADM 6313

Financial Issues in Managing Nonprofit Organizations


Students may substitute other courses with approval of the Director of the Museums, Heritage, and Public History program. For courses outside the History Department, a maximum of six credits may be at the 3000 level. No 3000 level courses may be taken for graduate credit within the History Department.

Candidates conclude the degree with an internship or exit project represented by the course number HIST 6138 (4 credits). This capstone project will be customized to the interests and career aspirations of each students, as approved in advance by the Director.

In addition to these requirements, candidates for the M.A. in Museums, Heritage, and Public History are required to demonstrate either oral or written proficiency in one second language (in addition to English) by completing an appropriate language test. The test will be designed through consultation with the candidate and the faculty of the Department of Language and Cultural Studies.