Museum Professionals: Three Ways an Online Master’s Degree Can Work for You

Museum Professionals: Three Ways an Online Master’s Degree Can Work for You

In our latest #NYFAPartner spotlight, learn how you can elevate your skills and enhance your knowledge of the museum sector without making difficult financial sacrifices.

Professionals who entered the workforce after completing an undergraduate degree may find themselves at a crossroads, wondering whether they should attend graduate school to gain new skills and expand potential career opportunities. They may hesitate to disrupt their working life by attending a traditional program, possibly in a new city or state. This decision is especially daunting if enrolling would result in high tuition costs or the burden of significant student debt. However, they may recognize that a master’s degree could help them gain the expertise they need to advance in their career path, as well as increase their lifetime earning potential. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out, “the more you learn, the more you earn.” Working adults with master’s degrees can earn up to 20% more than those with a bachelor’s degree alone.

Fortunately, more and more universities are offering online degree programs to better serve a diverse pool of students who need to work, or prefer to work, while continuing their education. It is with this in mind that The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is pleased to feature a new program as part of our “Get Into Grad School” series: the Online Master of Arts in Museum Studies, developed by the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) in collaboration with New-York Historical Society (N-YHS).

Welcoming its first cohort in the fall of 2019, the CUNY SPS MA in Museum Studies pairs the flexibility of an online degree program with the hands-on expertise of the oldest on-going museum in New York City, N-YHS. Read on for three ways this program could jump-start your career while allowing you to maintain your current work schedule and balance your existing responsibilities.

Student taking notes on photography display in a gallery setting

Learn on Your Own Time

The CUNY SPS MA in Museum Studies gives students a well-rounded set of skills in administration, finance, curation, and education that are applicable in any museum setting. All classwork can be completed online, allowing professionals in New York City, the metropolitan area, and beyond to participate. The practicum component incorporates the extensive resources of N-YHS to bring the program’s online instruction to life. This element of the degree offers a sense of immersion in the cultural life of New York City’s institutions, without requiring students to live in New York City. If needed, an online option for the practicum can be provided for those who are unable to participate in person.

CUNY SPS is consistently well regarded by publications like U.S. News & World Report, which ranked the School in the top 5% of online degree programs in the United States. This high ranking is partially due to the fact that all online CUNY SPS courses are recorded and archived so students can access them at any time.

Advance Your Career with an Affordable Degree

The graduate tuition at CUNY SPS is among the lowest in the Northeastern United States, and financial aid counselors can help students find the resources needed to ensure their degree is affordable. What’s more, CUNY SPS’ in-state tuition rate is available to all online students, even if they don’t live in New York State. A tuition-only scholarship is available to students admitted as part of the program’s first cohort and in support of diversity and inclusion initiatives within the field. The majority of CUNY SPS students work full time, a testament to the flexibility and convenience of their online programs.

Prepare for the Museums of Today and Tomorrow

Museum audiences are gradually becoming more diverse, but historically excluded groups are still underrepresented among museum staff and leadership. The Online MA in Museum Studies degree at CUNY SPS hopes to change that with the help of a curriculum in which “the underlying and constant thread is diversity and inclusiveness, a critical and often overlooked aspect of current museum practice.” Because the program emphasizes affordability and can accommodate a student’s full-time workweek, CUNY SPS hopes to make a master’s degree more feasible for a wider range of arts and culture professionals. In the words of CUNY SPS Dean John Mogulescu, the School always seeks “innovative ways of addressing emerging needs,” and the collaboration with N-YHS adds a unique advantage, as “our collective future must be shaped and informed by the preservation of our past.”

After completion of the program, students will be prepared to work in a range of roles in a variety of museum settings, from curatorial and archival work to education and operations, bringing with them practical skills, an understanding of the historical underpinnings of museums in the United States, and the tools needed to serve all audiences.

Want to learn more? Explore the program’s curriculum here, and attend an Online Information Session on June 12. The Priority deadline for Fall 2019 is July 8, and the Final deadline is July 22.

— Mirielle Clifford, Program Officer, Online Resources

This post is part of a regular blog series highlighting #NYFAPartner sponsor organizations, and the second in our “Get Into Grad School” series on NYFA Current. Follow NYFA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to see the latest news about each #NYFAPartner. Sign up for NYFA’s bi-weekly newsletter, NYFA News, to receive announcements about future NYFA events and programs.

Images: Courtesy of CUNY SPS and New-York Historical Society

Amy Aronoff
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