Our cutting-edge program designed for the 21st century museum is an innovative museum studies program that focuses on the digital life of museums across collections, galleries, and activities. 

Courtesy School of Information, Samantha Levin

The Master of Science in Museums and Digital Culture (MDC) is an innovative program that focuses on the ways in which museums use digital technology and media to enhance services and engage with visitors across physical and virtual contexts. We prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in this rapidly changing field and the ability to engage with today’s diverse and connected global audiences. 

The program features partnerships and fellowships with NYC’s leading museums. The program’s faculty includes practicing museum professionals from across New York City museums as well as an innovative full-time faculty. Through structured practicums and field research, students develop into innovative and creative leaders in the museum field.

The curriculum builds on commonalities of knowledge and skills across GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) and addresses emerging areas of the museum field including digital information behavior, digital seeing and aesthetics, digital curation, and the integration of the physical and digital life of the museum, so that:  

  • Students learn from expert faculty about key areas of study including visitor engagement, user experience, digital curation and preservation.
  • Students gain skills and knowledge in all aspects of digital technology use across the museum sector, physical and digital, real and virtual.
  • Graduates are prepared to take on leadership roles as museum professionals who can meet the challenges of museums in our digital world.

Degree Requirements

The MDC program consists of 36 credits (12 three-credit courses). Students choose required (7) and elective (3) courses from up to five program study areas, and two open electives, all of which must be completed with a B average or higher. The program is designed to be completed in two years (three courses per semester) or three years (two courses per semester). Summer courses may reduce this time. Please note that international students must be enrolled full-time (3 courses, 9 credits per semester). Note that courses are held at 11:30 AM, 3 PM, and 6:30 PM.


The program encompasses five study areas that cover a wide range of topics and skill sets so that graduates are able to take on leadership roles in the digital life of the museum. 

I. Theory and Practice (6 credits/2 courses)
Students focus their studies on museum theory and practice from its foundation in information science, museum informatics, and digital cultural heritage to the development of using digital tools and technology in the physical museum, the virtual museum, and museums and the web.

LIS 679 Museums & Digital Culture: Theory & Practice (required)  

AND select one from the following: 

LIS 681 Community Building & Engagement
LIS 697 Museums, Community & Culture

II. Museum Collections and Services; Digital Preservation and Curation (12 credits/4 courses)
This area of study includes digitization, organization, description, access, use, curation, and preservation including digital art and born-digital collections.

LIS 655 Digital Preservation & Curation (required)
LIS 663 Metadata Description and Access (required)
LIS 697 Digital Analytics: Web, Mobile & Social Media (required)

AND select one from the following: 

LIS 629 Art Collections: Research & Documentation
LIS 647 Visual Resources Management
LIS 661 Art Documentation
LIS 669 Digital Asset and Media Management
LIS 670 Linked Open Data for Libraries, Archives & Museums
LIS 695 Photography Collections (summer session)

III. Digital Tools and Technologies (3 credits/1 course)
Museums are utilizing digital tools across a wide spectrum of museum function and activity including management of collections, exhibitions, publications, audience engagement and participation, and education for users.

Select one course from the following list:

LIS 638 Web Development
LIS 657 Digital Humanities
LIS 658 Information Visualization
LIS 664 Programming for Cultural Heritage
LIS 665 Projects in Digital Archives
LIS 666 Projects in Rare Books & Digitization
LIS 668 Projects in Moving Image & Sound Archives
LIS 680 Instructional Technologies
LIS 697 Digital Strategy: Museum Planning and Management

IV. User Experience, Education, and Information Design (3 credits/1 course)
This area focuses on the use of technology and digital tools to create and improve museum visitor engagement, education, and experience both in the physical and virtual museum.

Select one course from the following list:

LIS 642 Content Strategy
LIS 643 Information Architecture & Interaction Design
LIS 644 Usability: Theory & Practice
LIS 675 Museum & Library Education & Outreach

V. Field Research and Practicum (6 credits/2 courses)

This area supports a culminating research project requiring research methods, field research, and a practicum in a museum. Students learn research methods focusing on practice-based research and carry out research based on fieldwork in museums from which they produce a digital project. 

LIS 698 Practicum/Seminar (required)

AND select one from the following: 

LIS 608 Human Information Interaction
LIS 630 Research Design & Methods
LIS 697 Audience Research and Evaluation

Elective Courses (2 courses, 6 credits)

Students can select from a number of options to fulfill the remaining open electives.

  1. Any two courses from the School of Information.

  2. Two relevant courses from departments in other Pratt schools such as History of Art and Design or Digital Arts (department approval required).

Culminating Research Project

To meet this requirement, students are required to take LIS 630 Information Science Research OR LIS 608 Human Information Interaction OR LIS 697 Audience Research and Evaluation, and LIS 698 Practicum/Seminar, which forms the basis of their culminating project. Practicum may be taken in sequence or concurrently with one of the required research courses above. Projects must demonstrate the student's research abilities and mastery of the five program-level student learning outcomes (SLOs):

  1. Theory and PracticeStudents gain critical understanding of museum theory and practice for the digital world and can demonstrate a broad knowledge of the field and its development from information science, museum informatics, and digital cultural heritage.
  2. Digital Collections and Services; Preservation and CurationStudents are able to digitize, describe, manage, and curate digital collections for access and use and related services, and to understand and apply digital preservation strategies and techniques including preservation of digital art.
  3. Digital Technology and ToolsStudents are able to use digital technology, tools, and social media effectively to enhance museum experience and activities and to engage, educate, and inform museum audiences.
  4. Fieldwork and ApplicationStudents are able to carry out museum fieldwork using observation, data collection, and analysis focused on the museum’s digital activities and programs, and demonstrate how findings can be applied to enhance museum services, user experience, and engagement.
  5. ResearchStudents are able to apply information science research methods to produce a culminating research digital project accessible on the web and which is based on their museum practicum.

Advanced Certificates

Students enrolled in the MDC degree may choose to complete any of the following advanced certificates within the Museums + Digital Culture degree.

If you intend to complete an advanced certificate, once enrolled in the program please submit the Certificate Declaration Form at your earliest convenience. Note that to complete the Museum Studies certificate, please contact the History of Art and Design department

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university in the arts, humanities, social sciences, or sciences. Applicants must have a superior scholastic record or otherwise give evidence of ability to perform work on the graduate level. Applicants are expected to offer evidence of maturity and leadership potential for the profession. All applicants must apply using the online application. Required documents include:

  • Official transcripts of all previous postsecondary education
  • A statement of purpose describing interest in the program as well as personal goals
  • A current resume/CV
  • Request two letters of recommendation online from academic or professional sources

International students whose first language is not English must submit the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. The minimum required TOEFL score is 82 (Internet), IELTS of 6.5, and PTE score of 53. Students who are not international but whose first language is not English must submit the GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Applicants may choose to apply for non-matriculated status and take up to six credits.

Apply Now

Program Coordinator
Cristina Pattuelli, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us at si@pratt.edu or 212.647.7682. Also, be sure to checkout the Museums and Digital Culture blog, which includes stories written by students and faculty.


Requirements for Ms in Museums and Digital Culture, 2017