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museum studies MA--San Fran State vs GW


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I have narrowed down my museum studies program selection to San Francisco State or GW in Washington DC. GW is probably the bigger name, but it comes with a much bigger price-tag with little to no options for funding, while I have received a scholarship for SFSU. Is GW (and DC) really worth all the fuss?

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Personally, being a current museum studies major (BA, though): I would go for the cheaper option, given the average income of museum workers is generally not that high. San Francisco has amazing museums (and I absolutely loved it when I visited), and while GW is a top program with more museums than you can shake a stick at, you really only need A.) one museum per internship you do and B.) your degree. 


In other words, while there's more available in DC, I don't think you'd lose too much in SF. I know someone in SF's program and she said it's great (especially in Education areas). That said, SF is expensive to live in as well, so I would work out some rough cost of living expenses. Still, in our field, minimizing your debt is really important, and San Francisco has a wealth of excellent museums and arts programs, and a very vibrant community. If you network well (ie, make your connections, keep in touch, meet people who know other museum folks), the "name brand" matters a little bit less. 


I would wholeheartedly take the SFSU option if I thought that was more financially feasible. DC is a great museums city, and everyone knows it, but there are other excellent options within the US. I have a friend who went to UF for museum studies and really, her getting hired depended more on her networking than anything else. It did take some time, and she did work other jobs, but that's just the field. Still, I think you would still benefit quite a bit from SF.  

Edited by m-ttl
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I'm in the same situation as you except with UW instead of San Francisco State. While applying GWU was more or less my dream school but now that I'm actually looking at the offers UW with the scholarship is less than half the price of GWU (and the cost of living is significantly lower as well). 


Is GWU the best program? Probably. Is it worth paying an extra $35,000 to go there? Almost definitely not.

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