Dec 14, 2018  
2017-2018 University Catalogue 
2017-2018 University Catalogue []

Museum Exhibition Planning + Design, Master of Fine Arts

Programs   >  Programs in the College of Art, Media, & Design  
Contacts     Description    Academic Plan     Program Requirements

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Polly McKenna-Cress \ \ 215.717.6328
Program Director


For over a quarter century, the Master of Fine Arts in Museum Exhibition Planning + Design (MEPD) program, the only one in the country, has grown and progressed to stay at the vanguard of the rapidly and ever-evolving museum field. The program is focused on community-centric practice that includes the design of interpretive experiences as driven by inclusive content and audience engagement. Students learn concepts such as environmental psychology, visualizing/systems design, storytelling and sensory perception, as well as drawing, digital skills, documentation, prototype testing, and building techniques all in service to redefining material culture and social impact.

The city of Philadelphia is a key creative incubator, with endless opportunities to attend art openings and to take field trips to large, formal museums and smaller eclectic ones. Students of the MEPD program hail from academic and professional backgrounds as diverse as the museums, firms, and institutions they go on to intern and work for; the MEPD program accepts students with varied backgrounds not limited to the design fields. 

Curriculum & Philosophy
Throughout the program students investigate museums and their role in the broader society, furthering the museum as a catalyst of new dialogue and potential action. Skill building is balanced with real-world challenges by partnering with museums, non-profits, schools, and cultural institutions. Students develop and refine skills of sketching, model-making, environmental graphic design, design research, audience research, prototyping/pilot testing, sustainable design practices, accessibility/universal design, academic, informal and exhibition writing, information architecture, and community engagement. 

Academic Plan

Academic plans provide a semester by semester suggested course sequence. Plans can be customized through discussions with academic advisors.

Program Requirements (60 credits)

Electives (10.5 credits)

  • Complete 10.5 credits of graduate level elective coursework. This requirement is satisfied by 500, 600, or 700 level courses.