Informal Education and Interpretation

College of Arts & Sciences

Learning doesn’t only take place in the classroom. Museums, zoos, aquariums, nature centers and historic sites all have something to teach their visitors – and sometimes do so even more effectively than formal curricula. This unique master’s program is geared towards those who are interested in understanding how informal education accomplishes learning, and who want to become leaders in this growing area of study.

1.5-2 years
Program Format
New Program Beginning September 2023

Some unique benefits of informal education include:

  • Expanding access to education for students who are typically left behind by more conventional, structured curricula.
  • Preserving and sharing diverse oral traditions, narratives and other sources of information that are historically overlooked.
  • Imparting real-world skills, such as team-based problem-solving, by more closely resembling actual situations and scenarios.
  • Complimenting the classroom experience by reinforcing formal learning.

Our interdisciplinary program rigorously examines how informal education shapes, enlarges and enriches learning at all levels. Students enrolled in the program will learn how to:

  • Think critically about the role of education in cultural, historical and scientific institutions.
  • Understand cognitive, behavioral, affective, constructivist and transformative learning theories.
  • Design impactful galleries, exhibits, interactive displays and digital learning spaces.
  • Research, propose and secure grants and other funding opportunities.

As science continues to understand more about how the human mind absorbs, processes and synthesizes information, it is increasingly clear that conventional methods of instruction are not enough for enough people. Graduates of the program will have the knowledge and skills to help bridge this learning gap.

Program Highlights

  • Compose a research outline, grant proposal, physical or virtual exhibit, or program plan that would serve the mission of a relevant organization.
  • Weeklong on-campus intensive introduces students to their colleagues, instructors and course material.
  • Remaining coursework is completed online.