SAU, WIU-QC Offer Integrated Art History/Museum Studies, Bachelor's/Master's Degree


Intergrated Art History/Museum Studies, Bachelor's/Master's Degree

A newly-signed Memorandum of Understanding between Western Illinois University and St. Ambrose University has resulted in a strategic educational partnership between the WIU-Quad Cities' Museum Studies graduate program and St. Ambrose University's (SAU) Art History Department.

"The partnership with Saint Ambrose University provides outstanding educational opportunities for a student to earn an advanced-level degree in museum studies in a reduced amount of time. We are pleased to enter into this partnership with St. Ambrose. This new program provides yet another accessible option for individuals who wish to continue their education beyond a bachelor's degree," WIU President Jack Thomas said.

Through the agreement, beginning Fall 2019, the institutions will offer an integrated baccalaureate and master's degree program for students who wish to pursue an art history bachelor's degree at St. Ambrose University and a museum studies master's degree at WIU-QC.

"St. Ambrose is pleased to formalize a pathway for further education for our students that some were already using," said SAU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Koch. "Importantly, this partnership allows students to shorten their time to the completion of a graduate degree that allows them to enter the workforce sooner in a high demand area."

After completing their bachelor's degrees at SAU, students can enroll at WIU-QC to obtain their master's degrees in one year.

"An integrated baccalaureate and master's degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years," said Pamela White, WIU Museum Studies graduate program director. "We have had a number of undergraduate students come to us from Saint Ambrose University's Art History Program, so we know firsthand what excellent students they are. We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with SAU."

The Master of Museum Studies program provides a professional curriculum that complements the liberal arts preparation of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art History, that trains students to see the world holistically, as the sum of its art historical, social and cultural parts. Art History is one of the foundation disciplines for museum work as it deals with study of art and culture. The MA in Museum Studies prepares students to interpret artistic, ethnographic and archaeological collections to the general public, work in registration or collections management and to become specialized art historians, educational or research staff for a range of institutions, from small local museums to larger international museums.

"The St. Ambrose University Art History and Museum Studies program is thrilled to offer an integrated BA/MA between the SAU Art History major and the Museum Studies master's degree at WIU. Around 18 St. Ambrose alumni have pursued the MA in Museum Studies at Western over the last 10 years, so this is clearly a relationship that will benefit our students," said Terri Switzer, professor and director of the SAU Art History and Museum Studies Program. "The SAU Art History & Museum Studies program is noteworthy for its focus on professional development and preparation for careers in the discipline, and the new integrated degree with WIU will help us to continue to attract quality students interested in the practical applications of these fields of study."

For more information, contact White at (309) 762-9481 or or Switzer at (563) 333-6142 or

"We are excited by the educational opportunities that this new partnership brings to the region," said Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning Joe Rives. "These new programs further serve our regional students' needs and further enhance our community partnerships."


Addy Nelson ’23 was born with an entrepreneur’s spirit. With her parents owning the bowling alley in her hometown of Gregory, South Dakota—the same place she perfected her game to earn a scholarship to St. Ambrose University—she learned early to be innovative, customer-focused and business-minded.

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