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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology

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Department of Anthropology

Museum & Heritage Studies Concentration

The Museum and Heritage Studies (MHS) concentration is designed to provide students with a solid background in the theoretical and academic as well as the practical and professional aspects of museum anthropology and heritage studies. Candidates for an M.A. degree in Anthropology with a concentration in MHS are expected to achieve graduate competence in anthropology as a whole along with their specialization in MHS. Ideally, we educate students to be practicing anthropologists in museums and related cultural institutions.

Academic and applied course work is complemented by hands-on training in the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology and through supervised internships. The program emphasizes:

  • critical, reflexive, and culturally appropriate museology
  • the history and philosophical underpinnings of museums and their roles in society
  • cross-cultural approaches to museums and curatorial work
  • community-based as well as international/global perspectives
  • public, applied, and engaged anthropology

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Our program rests on the philosophy that anthropology should be in service to both science and the public, and that cultural work is an essential and valuable part of society. Students acquire competencies, both academically and professionally, to meet the many challenges of cultural work in contemporary society. 

Designed for Diversity

The Museum Studies program is designed to accommodate the diverse academic and professional interests of students. Students are encouraged to be creative in structuring their own course of study, drawing on the many resources available at the University of Denver and in Denver-area museums and related cultural institutions.

The program works closely with the Museum Studies Program in Art History, offering joint courses in conservation, curatorial studies, and museum management. Both programs benefit from institutional ties between DU and the Denver Art Museum and Denver Museum of Nature and Science, providing students with research, internship and job opportunities. Other Denver-area museums and cultural organizations offer ample internship and job opportunities. The Program also periodically offers guided inter-term and summer study tours to expose students to museums and museological practices in diverse cultural and national settings.

The Department of Anthropology regularly offers colloquia and presentations by faculty members, students, and visiting scholars that provide a forum for discussion of current issues. One of the many strengths of the Program is that students have the opportunity to work with internationally renowned and award winning faculty who are leaders in the field of museum and heritage studies.

MORE info on Course requirements

course requirements

Please be sure to carefully review and fully understand the Anthropology Department Graduate Student Handbook and DU Bulletin of Graduate Studies. We encourage close consultation with your adviser and our Director of Graduate Studies to ensure that you are on track.

All students must complete the following:

  • ANTH 3660 Anthropological Theory and Context
  • ANTH 4000 Advanced Anthropology
  • ANTH 3875 Research Methods in Anthropology
  • Qualifying exam
  • Thesis with 48 credits; Paper with 60 credits

All students must have had a practical experience including one, but not limited to one of the following: museum internship, archaeological field school/field methods class or ethnographic field work.

Museum and Heritage Studies track students must complete:

One of the following:

  • ANTH 4744 Museum Anthropology
  • ANTH 3630 Archaeological Method and Theory

6 of the following classes (with not more than 3 of the bold-faced courses, which are applied/practical courses):

  • ANTH 4790 Critical Perspectives in Museum and Heritage Studies
  • ANTH 3890 Context of Material Culture
  • ANTH 3290 Art and Anthropology
  • ANTH 3661 Museums and their Visitors
  • ANTH 3702 Introduction to Conservation
  • ANTH 3741 Museum Exhibit Development
  • ANTH 3743 Managing Collections
  • ANTH 3701 Expressive Culture
  • ANTH 3000 Anthropology of Tourism
  • ANTH 3040 Anthropologies of Place
  • ANTH 3060 Cultural Narratives
  • ANTH 3170 Applied Heritage Management
  • ANTH 3750 Ethnographic Methods
  • ANTH 3880 Technology and Adaptation
  • ANTH 4070 Folklore and Cultural Heritage
  • ANTH 4040 Historical Archaeology
  • ANTH 3500 Culture and the City
  • ANTH 4745 Museum Practicum
  • ANTH4991/4995 Independent Study/Research
  • ANTH 4750 Masters Exhibit/Paper
  • ANTH 4991 Independent Study
  • ANTH 4995 Independent research

(Class titles in bold are applied/practice oriented courses. Students are limited to taking no more than three of the bolded classes (12 credits) to count toward their requirements.)

two additional elective courses (8 credits) in areas of special geographical or topical interest such Native America, Latin America, human rights, international development, gender studies, etc. Students may also elect to substitute courses from other departments, such as art history, geography, digital media studies, etc., but only with prior approval from their adviser and the graduate adviser.

Please review the 2019-2020 Graduate Student Handbook for detailed degree requirements.