UMSL’s Museum Studies program, listed No. 25 nationwide, is also among the most affordable

by | Jan 25, 2018

Graduates of the program have gone on to assume key positions at cultural institutions in St. Louis and throughout the country.
UMSL's Museum Studies program a great bargain

Graduates of the program have gone on to assume key positions at cultural institutions in St. Louis and throughout the country. (Images courtesy of UMSL’s Museum Studies program)

The news that University of Missouri–St. Louis ranks among the top places to pursue a degree in museum studies came as a bit of a surprise to Andrew Hurley when he recently stumbled across it on

But he wasn’t exactly shocked. After all, the faculty member notes, UMSL’s Museum Studies program is located in a region rich with heritage sites and cultural institutions – many of which provide UMSL students with practical work experience in the field alongside their rigorous academic preparation.

“It is in large part due to these opportunities that we attract students to our program, not just from across the nation but from around the world,” says Hurley, a professor of history and interim co-director of the program.

“Large and renowned institutions like the Missouri History Museum, the Mercantile Library and the Missouri Botanical Garden, along with smaller venues like the Campbell House Museum and World Chess Hall of Fame, form a network of partnerships that allow us to tap into cutting-edge museum practices and work side by side with innovative and prestigious professionals.”

The list of popular museum studies programs offered by U.S. institutions also makes note of the total cost for students. Along with clocking in at No. 25 in the nation according to the website, UMSL offers the eighth most affordable program among those top 25.

Professor of Art History and French Jeanne Zarucchi, also an interim co-director, says that the strength of the university’s program is perhaps best demonstrated by the success of its graduates.

“In the course of serving as both a faculty instructor and an administrator for the program, I’ve been very impressed to learn how many of them are in key leadership positions at places like the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and the Saint Louis Science Center,” Zarucchi says. “This clearly promotes the university’s mission to sustain creative partnerships that benefit the global society.”

The information on the website, a listing of the “Most Popular Schools” for instruction in museology and museum studies, offers welcome confirmation of what the UMSL program has to offer, Hurley adds.

“UMSL is a real bargain,” he says. “ We boast a top-tier program in museum studies for half the cost of what a student might pay at a private school like Harvard or Johns Hopkins – and much less than many other public universities.”

Hurley notes that the program is in a time of transition, with the search for a new program director on the horizon. He and Zarucchi are focused on maintaining the program’s elite status in the meantime by strengthening regional collaboration and continuing to recruit exceptional students ready to become leaders in their chosen field.

The UMSL Experience

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill