Graduate Program

MFS Graduate Program - Course Catalog

Please email or call (303-492-5437) the Graduate Coordinator for updated Course Schedule information. For more information about courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder, consult the Course Catalog.

Download course list as PDF (92KB, requires Adobe's free Acrobat Reader or Apple's Preview to view).

Museum Studies

MUSM 4010 - Museums and Society (3 credit hours)
Investigates the museum as an institution in society; history of museums and changing roles and methods in society; administrative structure; museum profession; methodology of museum collections, exhibitions, and education. Designed for students interested in museums or museum careers.

Museum 5011 - Introduction to Museum Studies (4 credit hours)
For majors in anthropology, biology, fine arts, geological sciences, history, or other museum-related subjects. Provides background in history and literature of museums, their objectives and methods, laboratory exercises in curatorship, exhibition theory, and administration. Prereq., Instructor consent.

Museum 5021 - Selected Museum Topics (2-3 credit hours)
Provides framework for student projects on varied museum topics (e.g., ethics of collecting, data management, the museum's role in the community). Student projects include case study analysis, interviewing, and original presentations. Topics vary each semester. Prereq., Instructor consent.

Museum 5030 - Museum Education (3 credit hours)
Surveys and discusses the educational role of museums and informal learning centers. Issues include current trends, learning theories and styles, learning from objects, education programs, diverse audiences, museum/school partnerships, and the role of education in exhibit development.

Museum 5031 - Museums and the Public: Exhibit Development (3 credit hours)
Covers elements of exhibition development and design, up to production and evaluation of exhibit prototypes. The team approach is emphasized. Prereq., graduate standing and instructor consent.

Museum 5041 - Museum Administration (3 credit hours)
Covers theory of organizations and how it applies to museums, application of small business management and non-profit organizations to museums, marketing and development, and grant writing and funding strategies. Prereq., graduate standing and instructor consent.

Museum 5051 - Collections Management (3 credit hours)
Deals specifically with curation and data management. Topics include acquisition practices and problems; organization, management, use, and preventive conservation of collections; and computer data management of collections. Prereqs., instructor consent.

Museum 5061 - Introduction to Scientific Illustration (3 credit hours)
Intended for students with little or no art background. Focus is on the accurate rendering of scientific subjects for publication and for public display. Course begins with basic drawing skills and sharpening of visual perception. Students progress to be able to produce realistic renderings of subjects. Students are exposed to a variety of black and white and color techniques and the standards for presenting illustrations for a variety of audiences. Course concludes with computer illustration tools and techniques. See the online show of student artwork from Spring 2013. Or learn more about this course, including samples of previous students' work (will open a new browser window).

Museum 6110 - Seminar in Museum Issues (1-3 credit hours)
Offers a weekly seminar for museum and field studies students which addresses one new topic each semester relevant to museum operations such as archival administration, museums, multiculturalism, repatriation and others. Prereqs., MUSM 5011, graduate standing, and instructor consent.

Museum 6930 - Museum Internships (2-4 credit hours)
Provides experience in museums of different sizes, audiences, and subjects; including history, natural history, art, and children's museums. Each student is supervised individually by a faculty member as well as the appropriate person in the cooperating museum. Prereq., instructor consent.

Museum 6950 - Master's Thesis in Museum and Field Studies (1-6 credit hours)
A thesis, which may be of a research, expository, critical or creative type, is required of every master's degree candidate under the thesis option. Prereqs., MUSM 5011 and 5051, and one of the following: MUSM 5030, 5031, or 5041.

Museum 6960 - Master's Project or Paper in Museum and Field Studies (1-4 credit hours)
A project or project paper in the student's discipline and related to some aspect of museum studies is required of every master's degree candidate under the non-thesis option plan. Prereq., MUSM 5011 and 5051. Students in the collections/field track also need MUSM 5030,5031 or 5041.


Museum 4462 - Museum Field Methods in Anthropology (2-6 credit hours)
Archaeological field techniques including excavation, mapping, recording, photography, interpretation, and field laboratory. May be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours.

Museum 4912/5912 - Museum Practicum in Anthropology (3 credit hours)
Students take part in curatorial procedures of the anthropology section of the museum: conservation, cataloguing, collection management, and administration. Prereq. MUSM 5011 or equivalent. Enrollment is limited: students should make arrangements during previous semester.


Museum 4473 - Museum Field Methods in Botany (3 credit hours)
(See also MUSM 4795/5795 Museum Field Methods in Zoology and Botany)
Emphasizes field techniques for observation, analysis, and identification of vascular plants, collection, preservation and date recording for museum specimens. Prereq., instructor consent.

Museum 4913/5913 - Museum Practicum in Botany
Students take part in curatorial procedures of the botany section of the museum: specimen preparation, labeling, identification, cataloguing, conservation, and collection management. Prereq. MUSM 5011 or equivalent. Enrollment is limited; students should make arrangements during previous semester.


Museum 4916/5916 - Museum Practicum in Entomology (3 credit hours)
Students take part in curatorial procedures of the entomology section of the museum: field collection, specimen preparation, labeling, identification, rearing techniques, and exhibit preparation. Prereq. MUSM 5011 or equivalent. Enrollment is limited; students should make arrangements during previous semester.


Museum 4914/5914 - Museum Practicum in Geology (3 credit hours)
Students take part in curatorial procedures of the geology section of the museum: field collection, specimen preparation, cataloguing, collection management, and a survey of current laws as they apply to specimens. Prereq. MUSM 5011 or equivalent. Enrollment is limited: students should make arrangements during previous semester.

Museum 5474 - Vertebrate Paleontology (4 credit hours)
Discusses the history and evolution of the vertebrates, including the phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary patterns of the major groups. Lab focuses on comparative vertebrate osteology aand fossil representation of major groups. Same as GEOL 5474.


Museum 4917/5917 - Museum Practicum in Techniques 1 (1-3 credit hours)
Students participate in museum public education functions which may include researching, planning, developing, and producing exhibits, traveling trunks, booklets, and other materials. May involve writing labels, molding and casting, conservation, and restoration. May be repeated for a total of 6 credit hours.

Museum 4900/5900 - Independent Study (1-6 credit hours)
May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.


Museum 4795/5795 - Museum Field Methods in Zoology and Botany (3 credit hours)
Class covers research & field methods for biological disciplines associated with natural history museums: vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Emphasis is on field research techniques: observations, sampling, collection & preservation methods, and comparisons among elevation zones. Includes 5 field labs, 2 weekend trips, 5 lab practica, experience with several taxonomic experts, and individual research projects. Same as EBIO 4795/5795 and ENVS 4795.

Museum 4915/5915 - Museum Practicum in Zoology (1-3 credit hours)
Students take part in basic curatorial procedures of the zoology section of the museum: relaxing, fixing, positioning, preserving, cataloguing, storing, and shipping. Also introduces students to the animal kingdom. Prereq., instructor consent.

Cognate Discipline Courses

The following courses offered through other departments at UC-Boulder are among those that are commonly taken by Museum and Field Studies Masters degree students to fulfill the requirement for their cognate discipline. This is by no means a complete list of the courses that may be available or appropriate for your course of study, and inclusion on this list does not necessarily indicate that a particular course will be offered in the future. Student interests in Art History, Geology, and History vary considerably, so no topical courses are included in this list.

To determine the appropriateness of any particular course for your own program of study, consult with the Curator of Museum and Field Studies and your advisor. The UC-Boulder course Catalog and Schedule of Courses provides a more detailed description of these courses. Students in the past have also taken classes at UC-Denver and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that may also be relevant for your own program. You must consult with the Curator of Museum and Field Studies before enrolling in any course offered by an institution other than UC-Boulder.


ANTH 5020: Explorations in Anthropology (various topics)
ANTH 5130: Advanced Osteology
ANTH 5170: Primate Evolutionary Biology
ANTH 5210: Southwest Archaeology
ANTH 5240: Geoarchaeology
ANTH 5270: Plains Archaeology
ANTH 5340: Archaeological Method and Theory
ANTH 5350: Archaeological Field & Laboratory Research
ANTH 5390: Research Methods in Archaeology
ANTH 5400: Research Methods in Archaeology
ANTH 5460: Archaeology and Contemporary Society
ANTH 5840: Independent Study
ANTH 7000: Seminar Current Research

ATLAS (Arts, Technology, & Media)

ATLS 3519: Special Topics


ACCT 5800: Accounting for Government and Non-Profit Organizations


COMM 5720: Readings in Communication & Technology Seminar


EDUC 4800: Special Topics Practicum
EDUC 5105: Teaching for Understanding
EDUC 5115: Modern Trends in Teaching
EDUC 5445: Curriculum for Multicultural Education
EDUC 5716: Basic Statistical Methods
EDUC 5726: Introduction to Disciplined Inquiry

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

EBIO 3400: Microbiology
EBIO 5320: Current Topics in Evolutionary Biology
EBIO 5410: Biometry
EBIO 5660: Insect Biology
EBIO 5750: Ornithology
EBIO 5760: Mammalogy
EBIO 5800: Critical Thinking


GEOG 5103: Geographic Information Systems


GEOL 3410: Paleobiology
GEOL 5474 (MUSM 5474): Vertebrate Paleontology
GEOL 5700: Geological Topics Seminar (various topics)


HIST 4091: The Roman Empire
HIST 4153: Britain 1688-1851
HIST 5000: Historical Methods: Introduction to the Professional Study of History
HIST 5012: European History Seminar
HIST 5125: British Colonial America, 1580-1756
HIST 5205: Coming of Independence
HIST 5844: Independent Study Europe/Topical
HIST 7844: Independent Study-Europe/Topical


JOUR 5562: Digital Journalism
JOUR 6871: Special Topics: Visual Communication


PHYS 5840: Selected Topics - Grad Independent Study


SOCY 3301: Survey Methods