Museum Studies FAQ

Who are Museum Studies students?

Students in the Museum Studies Program include current and aspiring museum professionals from around the world. We have students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, including those with degrees in areas such as art history, anthropology, history, economics, business administration, historic preservation, music, philosophy, and film and media arts.

Who are Museum Studies faculty?

The Museum Studies faculty is made up of highly regarded experts in the museum field and academia. The faculty is primarily full-time museum practitioners, who are active members of the museum community. They are passionate about training the next generation of museum professional and enthusiastic about the online course format.

What can I expect from the program?

The Museum Studies Program offers a structured curriculum of required and core courses augmented with electives. This curriculum provides opportunities for students to gain knowledge and skills in current professional museum practice with an eye to the future and an integration of past philosophies and practice. The program encompasses both theory and practice, focusing on providing real-world skills and training that enable students to move into the museum field or move up to jobs with more responsibility and requiring greater skills and knowledge.

What are the requirements for admission into the program?

The requirements are the following:

  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (3.3 is the average GPA of those admitted; work experience may also be considered)
  • Strong writing skills
  • Completed and submitted application
  • Application fee
  • Current resume
  • Statement of purpose (approx. 750 words)
  • Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or academic accomplishment
  • Official undergraduate transcript (A transcript is official if it is sent directly to the Advanced Academic program Admissions Official from the institution the student attended. If a student delivers the transcript in a sealed institutional envelope, the transcript must be dated within the last three months.)

How long does it take to go through the admissions process?

We have rolling admissions for the program, so there is no “official” deadline or standard timeframe for the admissions process. However, we have an overwhelming number of applications, so it is best for you to submit your materials approximately three months before the start of the semester in which you would like to begin studying. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for the start dates of each semester. Once your application materials are complete, they are sent to an admissions review committee.

How many courses do I take to complete the program?

Each student must take a total of 10 classes (two required courses, three out of four core courses, and five electives). Nine of the ten classes required for the degree may be taken online and one class, a two-week intensive seminar, will be held in Washington, DC, or in another location organized by the program. More information on this two-week seminar may be found here.

Is there a thesis component to the program?

No, a thesis is not required.

Will I be required to choose a concentration area?

No, we do not offer formal concentrations, however some students have clustered courses in a particular field or thematic area. Students are free to choose any elective courses of interest; however, some classes may recommend a core course as a prerequisite.

Is an internship or prior museum experience required for admittance?

You are not required to have museum experience to be accepted into the program, however the review committee will take into consideration any previous museum experience as an employee, intern, or volunteer. We highly encourage our students to volunteer and/or intern if they are not currently working in a museum. Students accepted into the program may choose to do an internship, approved by the Program Director, as one of their elective courses.

Are the GRE’s required?

No, the GRE’s are not an admission requirement to our program.

Whom should I ask to write my recommendations?

Letters of recommendation should be professional and/or academic.

What should my Statement of Purpose include?

This is your opportunity to describe in detail your academic and professional experiences that have led to your decision to pursue a career in the museum field. Directly and succinctly tell us how this particular graduate degree will help you achieve your goals in the museum profession in 750 words or fewer. If you have already worked for a museum in any capacity, please incorporate your experience into your statement.  Your statement will be reviewed for content, organization, and writing style.

As an international student, do I need to submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores with my application?

If you obtained your degree(s) from a college or university in a country where the official language is not English, then you must submit TOEFL scores along with your application. AAP requires a minimum score of 600 on the paper test, 250 on the computer-based test and 100 on the Internet-based test. Visit their web site at www.toefl.org for more information. You will also need to have a course-by-course evaluation of your transcript by a service such as World Education Service (WES). Your TOEFL scores and WES evaluation should be sent directly to the Advanced Academic Programs admissions office in Washington, DC.

I received my undergraduate degree from outside the United States, do I need an evaluation of my grades?

Yes, students who earned their post-secondary degree(s) in a country other than the United States are required to have a “course-by-course” credential evaluation performed by an outside evaluation service. A number of organizations render this service. While most of these provide acceptable evaluations, World Education Services (WES) is recommended. WES assists students with initiating the evaluation process and can be reached at www.wes.org or at 800.937.3895. Please allow four-to-six weeks for an official credential assessment to be completed and forwarded to the Advanced Academic Programs admissions office in Washington, DC.

Since this is an online program, are there an unlimited number of students that may be accepted?

Currently, approximately 40-50 students are admitted each semester.

What is the maximum number of students allowed in each class?

Each class will have no more than 17 students. The core courses tend to fill up quickly, so it is strongly recommended that you register early. If a class you want is already full, you may be waitlisted.

Is every class offered each semester?

Not all elective classes are offered each semester, some only once a year, but all of the core courses are generally offered every semester.

How do I decide which courses to take?

All Museum Studies students are assigned an advisor who will help you to determine which courses are best for your career goals.

Can I take a course from another program and have it count towards my degree?

Yes, students are allowed to take up to two courses in another JHU program if the student has the permission of the Program Director.

If I am in the DC/ Baltimore area, may I enroll in onsite courses?

Yes, you may take up to two preapproved courses as electives, online or onsite, from another JHU program.

May I transfer courses from another University?

 If you have started a graduate degree or certificate program in Museum Studies elsewhere, you may apply to transfer credits according to specific criteria of the program and approval of the Program Director. Transferred courses cannot replace core course requirements of the Johns Hopkins Museum Studies Program.

I have never taken an online course before and am one of those students who learn best by interacting with my professor and classmates. How does this interaction take place?

 All online courses are administered asynchronously through a course management tool called Blackboard. Course content is delivered via text notes, voice-over PowerPoint, streaming video, and threaded discussions to provide a connection between students and students and their professors through visual, auditory, and text-driven interactions. Professors will also provide their personal contact information so students will be able to reach them to ask questions or discuss any concerns.

How does the program build community among participants in the program?

 There are a number of ways in which students are encouraged to interact with each other and with faculty, including a virtual museum café, a Facebook group, and in-person gatherings at professional conferences.

How many courses can I take per semester? About how much time should I expect to spend on each class per week?

Since this is a part-time graduate program, most students take one to two courses a semester. You may take up to three classes per semester, with approval from the Program Director, however it is not recommended if you work full time. You can expect to spend approximately 12-15 hours per week for each class.

I work full-time and am not sure how many courses I’ll be able to handle each semester. How long do I have to complete the program?

You have five years to complete the program and classes are offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students may take two consecutive semesters off without formal permission. However, if you do not take classes for an entire year, you must apply for a leave of absence.

I currently do not work in a museum, but hope this graduate degree will lead to more job opportunities. Does JHU help in job placement after graduation?

We do not have an official job placement center, but our faculty is very well connected in the museum field, and we try to help our students take advantage of these close relations to seek potential job opportunities.

Are there any grant or scholarship opportunities offered by the program?

There are currently no grants or scholarships available from the program.

How much should I expect to pay for each class, and is financial aid available for part-time students?

Tuition in the 2014-15 academic year is $3,563 per course, plus a $150 technology fee. In order to qualify for financial aid at JHU, you must be enrolled in at least 2 classes. Students may find more information on and apply for financial aid here. All questions concerning student finances, aid, credits, invoices, refunds, and charges may be directed to the Office of Student Accounts using this form, or you may call the office directly at 410.516.8158.

When and how do I register for classes?

Please refer the Academic Calendar to see when the registration period is for each semester: JHU provides a simple step-by-step registration process for students.

Obtaining a J-Card (student ID card)

For more information on obtaining a J-Card, see here.

Is there any special computer software I need to purchase and install prior to starting my classes?

The minimum computer requirements for the online program are:

  • Windows XP or Windows 2000 with Service Pack 2
  • Mac OS X 10.2 or later (10.3 or later recommended)
  • A microphone and speakers
  • A broadband Internet service provider (AOL not recommended)

Will I be given a tutorial on Blackboard before my classes begin?

All new students are required to pass an orientation class that introduces the various online learning tools. Students have a week before classes start to begin and complete the Blackboard orientation tutorial. You will receive an email that contains the link to access this course material. It is strongly recommended that students complete this course on the computer(s) they will likely be using throughout the semester.

When will my assignments be due if I’m in a different time zone than the University?

The Museum Studies Program and the Blackboard interface is set to EST (Eastern Standard Time) as that is the time zone of the University’s physical location.

As an online student, do I still have access to JHU library resources and services?

The JHU library has a homepage specifically for the Museum Studies Program where students can access online periodicals, journals, etc., which pertain to the museum field.  The library also has a service from which you can request hard copies either by mail or by actually picking them up at a local library near you. You are required to pay for the return shipping fees. However, most readings assigned by your professor are accessible through electronic reserve [e-reserve].

Does the Museum Studies program abide by a specific citation style?

Yes, the JHU Museum Studies Program follows the APA (American Psychological Association) citation format.  For more information on APA style, visit the APA Web site.

How can I find out more information about the program?

The Museum Studies Program holds online information sessions each semester. The next information session will take place in Spring.

How do I apply to the Museum Studies Program?

You can apply to the Museum Studies Program online.  Please visit the online application page.


NonProfit Management FAQ

Is the certificate an actual graduate degree?

Yes, the Maryland Higher Education Commission has approved the certificate as an accredited graduate degree.

If I decide to pursue a master’s degree, can I get credit for the certificate courses?

Yes, but it depends on the requirements of the master’s program you decide to pursue. The nonprofit management program has a close relationship with the Master’s in Public Management and a dual degree arrangement with the Master’s in Museum Studies. Various arrangements are possible. Contact nonprofit@jhu.edu or your academic advisor.

How is this nonprofit management certificate different from others offered elsewhere?

It’s important to understand that many universities offer a nonprofit management certificate that is not an accredited graduate degree. Some are certificates of completion, awarded after a student completes a self-guided program of lessons; others are continuing education or professional development programs. The Johns Hopkins University Certificate in Nonprofit Management is an accredited graduate program for which participants receive graduate credit.

Would I get the same content in these other programs?

You would likely get perfectly fine and useful content in any nonprofit management program, including workshops offered by your local United Way or association of nonprofits. Choose whatever seems the best fit. We designed our program to take advantage of some unique elements. One is the reputation of Johns Hopkins itself and the leverage a Hopkins degree can offer. Another is the university’s global reputation for its nonprofit studies and education. The fully on-line format gives our program a global reach, which we think is of immense value in today’s world, and so we have built a global perspective wherever appropriate in all of the courses. Thanks to the reputation of the university, we are able to attract people with deep expertise and national and international reputations to teach our courses. Add all of these factors to the program’s accreditation as a graduate degree, and we have a unique offering.

Is there an opportunity for the students to meet each other?

There is no formal opportunity for students to meet each other in person. But students who live in the same region have gotten together, and individuals have sought out each other.

Is there an opportunity for students to interact personally with faculty?

There are many ways that students connect personally with faculty. Depending on location, students and faculty will meet in person, talk by phone, meet over Skype, or simply communicate one-on-one by email. Of the five faculty members, three are in the Baltimore/Washington DC region, one is in Minnesota and one is in New York.

Are there older people in the program?

Yes! Most of the students are working professionals in their 30’s or 40’s, but there are some younger students who have just graduated from college and older students who have over 30 years of experience in their fields. Some are thinking about changing careers or retiring and pursuing encore careers. Others have focused on family responsibilities and are now ready to return to the workforce. The internet is a great equalizer – no one in fully on-line classes remains aware of the age differences for long, and the mix of seasoned insights and youthful aspiration makes the exchange of ideas especially enlightening for all.

How did you choose the six required courses?

Johns Hopkins faculty have been teaching these courses in face-to-face classes for several years, so we have evidence of their value. In the wider world of nonprofit studies, scholars have worked with practitioners to create an ideal curriculum. Our six courses represent the core of that ideal curriculum.

How does an on-line course work?

On-line courses are structured very similarly to face-to-face graduate seminars. They are conducted over the length of a regular semester. There is usually one topic a week with reading material, audio presentations and links uploaded by the instructor to a course website. There is a discussion forum for each topic where everyone in the class contributes. The instructor may weigh in during the discussion or formally wrap up a week’s topic. There may be written assignments along the way. Most instructors assign a final paper. Here is where students usually have a lot of freedom to pursue the nonprofit subject that’s of greatest interest, whether it’s the arts or international development, health, advocacy, and so on.

Is time zone difference a problem?

The fully on-line format means the courses are offered asynchronously, which means everyone is not required to be on-line at the same time. The courses have schedules and deadlines, but within that, the students can tackle the work at a time and place of their choice. Our students live and work all over the United States and in all parts of the globe.

What are the biggest challenges for students taking on-line courses?

Students say that time management can be a challenge when there isn’t a face-to-face class on the schedule. When students are asked about their experience with on-line classes in general, we hear two themes in particular. The first is that they are afraid they won’t know what is expected of them, and the second is that they are afraid the professor will disappear. Our faculty are clear about expectations, and they are deeply engaged in the courses and with the students. Students sometimes say they liked the on-line courses better than they expected!

How many students are in each on-line class?

Classes are the size of a typical graduate seminar – usually between 8 and 12 students, sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less.

How many courses can I take per semester? About how much time should I expect to spend on each class per week?

Since this is a part-time graduate program, most students take one to two courses a semester. You may take up to three classes per semester, with approval from your advisor, but a high course load is not recommended if you work full time or have other responsibilities. You can expect to spend approximately 12-15 hours per week for each class. Fully on-line classes are more intense than face-to-face ones.

I work full-time and am not sure how many courses I’ll be able to handle each semester. How long do I have to complete the program?

You have five years to complete the six required courses. They are offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students may take two consecutive semesters off without formal permission. If you are not taking a class in either the Fall or Spring semesters, you may have to pay a small fee to stay enrolled. If you do not take classes for an entire year, you must apply for a leave of absence.

As an on-line student, do I have access to JHU library resources and services?

Yes. The JHU library offers students access to periodicals, journals, databases and other resources that are available on-line. Most readings assigned by your professor are either uploaded directly to the Blackboard course site or are accessible through electronic reserves (also called e-reserve).

Are courses offered all year-round?

Yes, courses are usually offered all three semesters: Fall, Spring and Summer. Fall and Spring semesters are 14 weeks, and Summer is 12 weeks.

How long does it take to know if you’ve been admitted?

In general, we ask that students allow six to eight weeks at the most. The timing depends on when the review committee can meet. If we are expecting your application, we can process it quickly.

I graduated many years ago and don’t think I can find anyone to be an academic reference. What should I do?

Although the university prefers that at least one of the two required references be from your academic experience, we recognize that’s not always possible. Ask both of your references to attest to your ability to succeed in a graduate-level program.

How important is the grade point average (GPA) for admission?

This program requires at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale or equivalent for admission. It’s an important indication of one’s potential for success in a graduate-level course. But people with significant work experience and achievement will be considered, particularly if their postsecondary education occurred many years ago. Contact nonprofit@jhu.edu for guidance.

Do Canadian citizens with postsecondary degrees from a Canadian university also have to have their courses evaluated by a third party service?

The university requires all students who earned degrees outside the United States to have their courses evaluated for equivalency to the U.S. system, and as a matter of policy, the university applies this requirement to everyone. But please contact nonprofit@jhu.edu for guidance.

Where do your students get jobs?

Our students have jobs in government agencies, international management consulting firms, labor unions, think tanks, microfinance, corporations, the charter school movement, environmental organizations, political organizations, associations of all kinds, youth-serving and charitable nongovernmental organizations in other countries, public health projects and nonprofit hospitals. In a recent survey of all graduates of JHU’s Advanced Academic Programs, 93 percent said their graduate education at the university helped them get a new job.