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I actually finished my MA in museum studies at NYU in May 07. I've been working at an exhibition design firm for a couple years now...before that I'd worked at 4 different museus/historical societies. I love museums/public history, but I definitely feel the need to go all the way and get the phd (hence going right back to school!).

where did you apply? I can definitely tell you a lot about it, and I loved my program :0)

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I gotta say, I did think about applying to Museum Studies programs after working in a DC museum for two summers. But after my third summer with a museum in Israel, I decided that after that summer and the previous summer in DC in research, I'd much rather go straight for the PhD . Skip over the MA in Museum Studies part, find a school that offers museum certification, and just get the PhD at the same time.

Unfortunately, I've been attacked slightly on my SOP about wanting to work in museums with my PhD. Some implied that it's just not a good time to apply for PhD when there are so many other jobs in the museum that doesn't require the PhD. But my god, it's the jobs with the PhD that I WANT! But that was just the school that didn't offer anything related to museum studies while the other two I'm interested in are taking me seriously- they do have museum studies certification programs. So they know that I'll do fine.

Nofia, what did your grad programs say about your background in museums?? I applied to NYU- that was a very tough choice there since the grad school said you can't apply to more than one degree program at a time, per cycle. I went with joint degree in Judaic Sdies/History. Ugh but at least I explained in the "fit" paragraph of all the opportunities at NYU that I could take advantage of.. it's literally my dream school.

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I emphasized the public history aspect of my degree, but spoke very little about my grad school experience--I spent most of my SOP talking about research interests and some about my undergrad research, and discussed my current employment at bit since its such a research/writing intensive job. I think there is still some feeling among certain professors/academics that getting your phd and then not staying in academia is a decision to be looked down upon, which is unfortunate, because curators and other public historians do contribute to scholarship AND they educate the wider public. well, that and a staggering number of newly minted phds aren't able to get tenure track jobs. That said, you're right, the phd plus a certificate in museum studies will get you to be the curator (or assistant/associate curator), which is, I assume, where you'd want to be, much faster than just a museum studies MA would (tis a pretty general/interdisciplinary degree)..

If you get into NYU you can probably do the museum studies certificate program too, or just take classes in the department. I loved every class honestly, and they offer great electives...including a course on religion and museums, which I didn't take but sounded pretty fascinating. Their program is a good mix of academic and hands on too, though I chose the program because they emphasized the theoretical/academic aspects far more than the practical stuff (most of us had plenty of museum experience already anyway). The professors are amazing too!

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