The Master of Science in Museums and Digital Culture (MDC) is a museum studies graduate program designed to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing cultural landscape. Students explore how museums, galleries, and other cultural heritage organizations use digital technologies to enhance their services, manage collection information, engage visitors across physical and virtual contexts, and conduct visitor research and evaluation. The MDC program prepares students for such high-demand museum and gallery positions as digital producer, web content editor, collection information manager, digital analyst, social media specialist, digital asset manager, and more.
The Museums and Digital Culture unique and specialized curriculum was developed by faculty with expertise in key areas of the field, including museum information management, digital engagement strategies, digital analytics, audience research, and digital curation. Our full-time faculty is enriched by highly experienced museum professionals from New York City’s most prominent and influential museums, galleries, archives, and libraries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art. Moreover, students go onsite to see firsthand how New York’s leading museums and museum professionals are using emerging technologies to enhance their practice.
The MDC program is designed for people from any background; no previous experience is required. For international students, please note that the MDC program is designated as a STEM program by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and thus qualifies for the STEM optional practical training (OPT) extension for F-1 students.
Graduates of the MDC program are working in the following roles when surveyed 9-months after graduation:
Digital Cataloguing Assistant, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Assistant Registrar, The Paley Center for Media
Assistant Registrar, American Museum of Natural History
Collection Information Specialist, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Collection Database and Website Assistant, the Frick Collection
Digital Communications Officer, Norton Museum of Art
Darwin Manuscripts Project Research Assistant, the American Museum of Natural History
Knowledge Engineer, Morgan Stanley
Registrar, Fairfield University Art Museum
Research Associate, Randi Korn & Associates (RK&A)
Research Assistant, Spellerberg Associates
Assistant Curator, The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York
Throughout the MDC program, students will create a digital portfolio to highlight the work they have completed and demonstrate they have met the program’s five student learning outcomes (SLOs):
Foundations of Museums and Digital Culture – Analyze and articulate the role and function of information and digital technologies in shaping the evolving social role and practice of museums and related cultural heritage institutions.
Museum Information Management and Technologies – Describe and manage analog and digital information and collections to increase the inclusivity, accessibility, and sustainability of cultural heritage.
Digital Technology and Tools – Select and effectively employ digital technology to enhance museum and cultural heritage services that inform and engage diverse communities.
Research – Investigate information environments and audience needs, behaviors, and experiences through appropriate research methods and data analysis.
Professionalism – Engage with relevant ethical, technical, and practical issues and construct a strong professional identity.
School of Information courses are small in size (average class size is 12 students) and are held at 11:30 AM, 3 PM, and 6:30 PM, with the evening session offering the most options to help accommodate students who are working during the day. 80-90% of courses are held in-person at Pratt Manhattan Center, and 10-20% are held online. Select required courses in the MDC program include:
Courses at the School of Information often engage in projects with museums, including INFO 644 Usability Theory and Practice and INFO 685 Digital Analytics: Web, Mobile and Social Media. Museums include MoMA, Canadian Museum of Nature, The Met, Jewish Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, J. Paul Getty Trust, and Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can find more information on these projects at Center for Digital Experiences at Pratt Institute’s website.
If you intend to complete an advanced certificate, once enrolled in the program, please submit the Certificate Declaration form at your earliest convenience.
Our faculty are comprised of full-time faculty, who are researchers and scholars holding doctoral degrees, and our part-time faculty who are accomplished professionals holding a range of roles in New York City institutions and companies. Full-time faculty act as advisors to students and help connect career goals with the program curriculum, and teach over half of the courses.
All applicants are considered for merit scholarships during review of applications; a separate scholarship application is not required. Scholarships are significant and can cover up to 80% of the cost of tuition. For students in good academic standing (i.e., if the student maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA), merit scholarships are automatically renewed for the second year of study.
Second-year students in the MDC program can apply for a 9-month fellowship with a leading NYC museum or other cultural heritage organizations. Students have completed fellowships at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney, among others. Read Sydney Stewart’s blog documenting her fellowship with the Brooklyn Museum to learn more.
Support for research-based scholarly and/or creative projects that enhance students’ professional development—individually or through small student teams—are available through the Graduate Student Engagement Fund (GSEF). Students can also take advantage of research opportunities working closely with individual faculty or with the team through graduate assistant funding, including at Semantic Lab at Pratt and the Center for Digital Experiences.
The School of Information has five student groups that enrich the academic experience by organizing guest lectures, workshops, tours, site visits, and other events that will help deepen and expand your professional network. MDC students formed a registered chapter of the Emerging Museum Professionals Network: Pratt Emerging Museum Professionals (PEMP). PEMP serves as a resource for graduate students in the School of Information to engage with other museum professionals across all stages of their careers. Students can also form new organizations through Pratt’s Office of Student Involvement.
MDC students also participate in School of Information activities, such as the annual showcase of student work (Infoshow).
Located at the crossroads of the Greenwich Village and Chelsea neighborhoods, our home at Pratt Manhattan Center offers an excellent environment that provides easy access to all that New York City has to offer. Our specialized facilities facilitate our hands-on curriculum: from usability eye-tracking studies to archival reformatting projects and beyond.
Join us for School of Information Open Forum on Friday, December 8th at 4:45p-5:30p in PMC 610 or Zoom. If joining via Zoom, please register for the link (available via the link in our bio). The semi-annual Open Forum includes Dean Cocciolo providing updates from across the school to the SI community, and taking in feedback from the community. And stick around for the holiday party right after!
We are pleased to announce a new @prattischool fellowship for the spring '24 semester in the area of archives with the Hauser & Wirth Institute (@hauserwirthinstitute). The Hauser & Wirth Institute Archives fellow will work on the archival appraisal and selection of part of the institutional records of The Drawing Center (@thedrawingcenter). The Drawing Center is a museum and a nonprofit exhibition space in Manhattan, New York City, that focuses on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary. Application deadline is December 15th! For more details and to apply, please visit our Fellowships page (very bottom); link available in our bio.
On this Giving Tuesday, consider supporting our fellowships that fund students to engage in significant work at NYC's cultural institutions. Give to the Fund for Pratt - School of Information. More on our giving and our fellowships via the link in our bio.
What library school did Mary eventually enroll in? There is only one correct answer. Priority admissions deadline for our Masters in Library & Information Science and other MS programs is January 5th! #PrattInstitute #ParkerPosey #PartyGirl1995.
Join us Friday, December 8th at 5:30pm for the School of Information Holiday Party on the 2nd floor of Pratt Manhattan Center. Wine, hors d’oeuvres and karaoke will be served. Please RSVP via the email invitation; if you did not receive one please email Dean Cocciolo (email@example.com). Open to the School of Information community, friends and family.
Hello! We present to you the A.E.I.O.YOU toolkit for ethics in technology and design practice.
The A.E.I.O.YOU toolkit provides technology practitioners with reflective tools to learn about their ethical awareness, responsibility, and trajectory from the perspectives of Artifacts (methods or designs created), Ecology (your company or team), Interactions (with other roles), Other Practitioners, and YOU (as individual practitioners). The vowels in the A.E.I.O.YOU toolkit describe flavors that evoke and surface various kinds of support needed by technology and design practitioners to investigate. You can interact with these toolkits on the website: https://shruthichivukula.com/aeiou-toolkit through printed materials or #miro boards. Link available in our bio.
If you/ your team are a group of UX Designers/ Researchers, Software Engineers, Product Managers, Data Scientists, Hardware Engineers interested in reflecting on ethical positions, responsibilities, dilemmas, and include ethics in your everyday work, this toolkit is for you.
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The A.E.I.O.YOU Team