M.A. in Art & Museum Studies


Program Description

Georgetown University’s M.A. degree program in Art and Museum Studies brings the academic study of art museums together with museum practice and emphasizes the international contexts of museums in the modern world. Through courses, individual research, and internships, students work closely with Georgetown art history faculty, curators, and other museum professionals in Washington DC, and with faculty specialists at Sotheby's Institute of Art in London or New York.

The twelve-month course of study combines courses in museology and art history with internships at some of Washington’s premier art institutions. We examine the changing relationships between the academic study of art and new configurations of museum display and interpretation. Such topics as the roles of museums in modern cultures, museum education programs and audiences, new technologies, collection management, curatorial work and the ethics of acquisition and display are discussed in classes and individual research projects. Our students take part in critical debates about art exhibition and interpretation.

Travel Funds: The Art and Museum Studies program is able to provide partial funding, by application, to help cover travel and conference fees for a student who presents at an academic or professional conference. For more information, contact gradamus@georgetown.edu.

Kelley Family Scholarship: This year, the Art and Museum Studies program is delighted to offer the Kelley Family Scholarship to provide partial tuition support to two students during the 2017-18 academic year. Students who wish to be considered for this academic, merit-based award should indicate their interest by ticking the box on the first page of their application form.

Learning Goals

The AMUS curriculum is designed to combine classroom study with internships that function as entry-level staff positions in a museum or gallery; at each stage, students actively synthesize the various experiences of learning. The goals and outcomes listed here summarize basic expectations at each stage.


  1. In seminars at Georgetown, students conduct research using a range of specialized art history literature and direct examination of works of art in area museums. They may do some work collaboratively, and they present their research in class reports and formal art history papers. In practicum courses (Museum Practice, Museum Education, Curatorial Practice), students relate readings in the discipline, site visits, and classroom discussion to specific professional projects and tasks, such as developing exhibition proposals and budgets. Much of the work is collaborative and some may be related to their internship experiences.
  2. For internships in the fall and summer semesters, students work with museum supervisors and the program director or other faculty members to fulfill assignments at the host institution and at the same time produce a tangible project and a journal that includes reflective synthesis. Each student works closely with museum staff members and often with interns from other programs and is encouraged to start developing professional networks.
  3. The semester at Sotheby’s Institute of Art requires students to select a program of study such as Decorative Arts and Design or Art and Business, which includes units taught by a number of faculty specialists. The Institute’s coursework emphasizes connoisseurship and hands-on study of artworks, and incorporates study trips to public and private collections, auction houses, and art fairs.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Seminar research papers and class presentations demonstrate a fairly broad and sophisticated understanding of the discipline of art history, its methods of research, and relationships to other disciplines. The report sessions introduce students to the sharing of research at scholarly meetings and the roles of both independent and collaborative work. The practicum courses usually have several smaller projects rather than a major research paper, but they have similar results in terms of balancing individual and collaborative work. The most important outcome is gaining experience and confidence in handling typical tasks associated with museum work.
  2. Internships provide both experiences of work in a museum or gallery setting and documentation of achievement in a variety of tasks, in the form of such tangible products as gallery information sheets, an educational plan for a specific visitor group, materials related to marketing and development projects, and through the supervisors’ evaluations. The required internship journals will become important resources as the graduate enters the field.
  3. The experience of studying at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London or New York gives students opportunities to engage directly with research on art objects, current trends in the field, and with issues related to the business side of the art and museum world. The distinctive UK educational system also encourages students to step back and look at the field from a new perspective; students’ journals include reflections on the process of learning as well as the subjects of their studies. The atmosphere at Sotheby’s is rather competitive, and therefore the semester acts as an introduction to the professional world in a way that the fall semester does not. Students finish the program well prepared to take on demanding summer internships and to apply for jobs or Ph.D. level programs.


The Art and Museum Studies core course and electives are designed to stimulate discussion and to provide a first-hand experience of museum specializations. Students may emphasize the academic study of art and museums or an area of professional museum work such as education or curatorship, but all members of the program will have some experience in both kinds of study. Most courses meet frequently at area museums. The sample courses listed here are for general information only; seminar topics vary from year to year.

Georgetown Courses

  • Museum Studies Foundations.
  • Museum Practice Workshop.
  • Museum Education and Interpretation.
  • Curatorial Practice.
  • Early American Material Culture.
  • Ideas of Realism.
  • Modern Art in Asia.
  • Russian Avant-Garde Art.
  • Washington Art Collections.

Sotheby's Institute of Art Courses

  • Art and Business.
  • Asian Art and its Markets.
  • Decorative Art and Design.
  • Contemporary Art.


The curriculum provides a sequence of varied approaches to museum study. In the first semester, students take courses at Georgetown and participate in an internship at an area museum. The following semester, most students attend Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London or New York and take an intensive course in a selected field, such as decorative arts or contemporary art.

The Institute’s coursework emphasizes connoisseurship and hands-on study of artworks, and incorporates study trips to public and private collections, auction houses, and art fairs. In the summer term, students complete a full-time internship in a museum in Washington or another city; the term culminates in a capstone workshop held in late August in Washington.

The standard program structure is 30-course credits, taken over fall, spring, and summer semesters (12 months). Students also have the option of doing the spring semester at Georgetown University.

  • Fall - core course, two electives in art history seminars and museum practicum courses, one internship - 12 credits
  • Spring - one semester-long program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art or four courses at Georgetown University - 12 credits
  • Summer - full-time internship combined with a capstone workshop - 6 credits.


Application Material

  • Application form.
  • Non-refundable Application Fee.
  • Statement of Purpose (500-750 words) stating why this program suits your goals.
  • Official Transcripts (all prior institutions).
  • Three Letters of Recommendation.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (c.v.).
  • TOEFL/IELTS, if applicable.


Admission requirements include the application and non-refundable application fee, an academic statement of purpose describing the applicant's interest and qualifications for the program, official transcripts from all prior colleges, three letters of recommendation, TOEFL/IELTS test (if required, see below), and a detailed resume/CV documenting coursework in art history or other relevant fields, relevant professional experience, conferences, publications, and language proficiencies.

The successful applicant will have a bachelor's degree, with a major in Art History or substantial coursework in the field. Those with degrees in fields such as history or cultural studies, and some academic work in the art history discipline, may also be strong candidates for the program. Applicants who lack academic training in Art History are expected to complete at least two art history courses before the program begins. We do not ask for a writing sample with the application.

Three letters of recommendation are required. Current students or recent graduates should have at least 2 letters from professors and a third letter from either a professor or art professional familiar with their qualifications. Applicants currently working in the field may submit all letters from art professionals familiar with their qualifications for the program.

Official hard copy transcripts should be mailed to the following address:

Office of Graduate Admissions

Attn: Credentials - Art & Museum Studies Program

Box 571004

3520 Prospect Street, N.W., Room CB-207

Washington, DC 20057-1004


All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English).

All other applicants must achieve at least a minimum score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without TOEFL/IELTS scores.

  • TOEFL: A minimum score of 600 (paper-based test) or 100 (iBT test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL information: http://www.ets.org/toefl/
  • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.5 from the International English Language Testing System. IELTS Information: http://www.ielts.org
Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Georgetown is a major international research university with nine schools, an affiliated hospital and many highly ranked academic programs. Today the university has more than 12,000 undergraduate and ... Read More

Georgetown is a major international research university with nine schools, an affiliated hospital and many highly ranked academic programs. Today the university has more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students who take classes at five locations. Georgetown has a large and diverse workforce that employs more than 5,000 faculty and staff members. Georgetown continues to move forward as one of the world’s leading universities, building upon its distinctive history, unique values and commitment to justice and the common good. Read less