Jump to content

MA and Museums


Recommended Posts


I've been accepted into a masters program in Anthropology and I'm deciding whether or not to attend. I want to eventually work in the museum field in curation, research, or repatriation. I was hoping someone could give me some insight into whether getting a job in the field is realistic with just a masters degree and not a PhD?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a little museum professional experience (in education and NAGPRA, separately), and a little more experience as a grad student. My understanding is that an MA will get you most anywhere you'd want to go in most museums (even Dept. Director or Museum Director). However, for really large, elite institutions, you'll need a PhD to even become a curator, let alone anything higher. So it depends on what you're shooting for--if you want to become a curator at NMAI, you'll likely need a PhD. If you want to become a repatriation coordinator or curator at a regional/local museum, the MA will be great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to echo RepatMan and say that you can get pretty much any type of museum job with an MA, and you only need a PhD if you're looking for a curatorial or admin role at an elite institution like the Field Museum, the Hearst Museum, Peabody, etc.  If you're interested in collections management, though, you can get a job at one of these elite institutions with just an MA.  I interned at a high level anthro museum last summer and while all of the curators held PhDs (and some had joint appointments as faculty in the anthro dept), most of the keepers of collections, conservators, exhibit designers, etc had BAs or MAs.  

So yeah, it really depends on what aspect of museum work you're interested in and what your career goals are.  Have you volunteered or interned at an anthropology museum? Getting some hands on experience might help to determine what type of degree you're going to aim for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use