students in museum

Museum Studies

Established in 1976, our Museum Studies Program combines traditional academic training with practical experience to give the strongest possible foundation for a successful museum career. Ranked among the top museum training programs in the United States, the Program's reputation for excellence is based on its exceptional faculty, a demanding academic curriculum, and a strong internship program. Our location in Washington, D.C., the museum capital of the nation, provides opportunities for working experience through our established relationships with over 60 museums and cultural organizations.



All Museum Studies Students in the MA and On-Campus Certificate Program are required to complete one internship, although two internships are offered to all students and highly recommended*; each internship is for three academic credits and totals 260 hours of work.

Students typically intern within their area of concentration (administration, collections management, exhibitions) and may choose to intern in the D.C. area or in another location. Read the Internship Information Packet for all internship requirements and procedures.

Students are also required to meet with Jacqueline Emerick, the Internship Coordinator, before registering for their first internship. Students must submit the appropriate approval paperwork in order to receive academic credit for the internship. If the appropriate paperwork is not submitted before the internship is started (or within one week of starting work), academic credit may not be awarded.

If you have any questions, please contact Jacqueline Emerick.

*Please note: we highly recommend that all students take two 3 credit internships. However we recognize that will not be appropriate for all students. Therefore, with permission of their advisor, students may opt to substitute the second internship with either a Directed Research project or another graduate class. This policy is effective Fall 2017.

You must submit the appropriate paperwork at various points throughout your internship. Please contact Jacqueline Emerick with any specific questions you may have.

Internship Basic Forms Packet (.doc)

Internship Checklist (.doc)

Statement of Expectations (.doc)

Internship Timetable Agreement (.doc)

Mid-term Evaluation (.doc)

Final Evaluation Letter (.doc)

Letter of Recommendation Request Form (.doc)


The Museum Studies Program welcomes partnerships with a wide variety of museums and cultural institutions. By the time any of our graduate students are ready for internships they have already proven their abilities in the classroom, and many have some practical museum training prior to entering graduate school. For these reasons most internship sponsors find that our students contribute significantly to their organizations.

If you have an internship opportunity you would like to advertise, please send a project description to our Internship Coordinator, Jacqueline Emerick. Appropriate internships will be shared with current students. In addition to a description of the internship project, please include contact information and instructions on how to apply for the internship.

Prior to Hosting a GW Intern (PDF) 

Things for Sponsors to Consider During an Internship (PDF)

Past Internship Sponsors

Alexandria, Office of Historic Preservation

American Association of Museums

American Association for State & Local History

American Archeology, Society for

American Textile History Museum

Arlington House, National Park Service

Blair House

B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum

Carlyle House Historic Park

Civil War Preservation Trust

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Corcoran Gallery of Art

DAR Museum

Decatur House, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Delaware Art Museum

Dumbarton House

Gadsby's Tavern Museum

George Meany Memorial Archive

Greenbelt Museum

Gunston Hall Plantation

Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service

Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, Edison Institute

Henry Morrison Flagler Museum

Historic Annapolis Foundation

Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Indian Arts & Crafts Board

Institute of Museum & Library Services

Jewish Museum of Maryland

Jewish Historical Society of Greater DC (Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum)

Lyceum, The (Alexandria's History Museum)

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Metropolitan Museum of Art, The (New York City)

Modern Art of Latin American Art

Montgomery County Historical Society

Mount Vernon (George Washington's Estate and Gardens)

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

National Archives and Records Administration

National Building Museum

National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall

National Museum of African Art

National Museum of Women in the Arts

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Newseum (The Freedom Forum Newseum, Inc.)

Dewitt Stetten, Jr. Museum of Medical History (NIH)

Octagon House (American Architectural Foundation)

Paul Revere House Museum and Memorial Association

Phillips Collection

Smithsonian Institution, and its 19 museums and 9 research centers

Smithsonian Institution, Center for Museum Studies

Tenement Museum, New York City

Texas Memorial Museum, University of Texas at Austin

Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.

Tudor Place Historic House and Gardens

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

U. S. Navy Museum

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Walter Reed Army Medical Center

The Walters Art Gallery

Washington National Cathedral

Washington Studio School

White House, Executive Support Facility, NPS

The White House Historical Association

Woodrow Wilson House

Woodlawn Plantation

Admissions Process

While all applicants must submit our online application with common required materials, each of our program’s requirements are different. Review the Master of Arts in Museum Studies, On-Campus Certificates and the Distance Education Certificate information to see what to include in your application.


Graduate Admissions Process

Funding Opportunities

There are many opportunities available to help you fund your graduate education. You can find the current tuition rates through the Student Accounts Office.

The Museum Studies Program has several fellowships that partially support some entering students each year. These fellowships are only open to students applying for the Master of Arts program for a fall semester start and are awarded based on academic merit.

GW has other fellowships that are open to students throughout GW. If you would like to apply for other fellowship opportunities, please visit the Office of Assistantships and Fellowships.

Many students do receive financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Please visit the Office of Financial Assistance for more information.

Many of our students work either part-time or full-time while completing the Museum Studies Program.


Students who have received Federal Work Study or who are interested in working in a part-time student position on campus should contact the GW Career Center for more information.

Students interested in working full-time and attending the Museum Studies Program part-time, may want to consider working for GW. Many positions at GW have tuition benefits associated with them that can significantly help to cover the cost of the program.

For more information or to view open positions at GW, please visit the Human Resources Department.

Before admission can be completed, the Financial Certificate citing funding resources must be submitted. Funds must be certified in U.S. currency only. You will need copies of your financial documentation to prove to U.S. consular officials that you have sufficient funds to attend GW for the duration of your studies. We suggest, therefore, that you make copies of this and all supporting documents.

Career Outcomes

More than 1000 alumni work in museums, historic sites and houses, federal agencies and related nonprofit organizations all over the world.