Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Handy Dandy Guide to Studying Cultural Heritage: Undergrad Edition

Like so many wonderful things in life (generally, everything I've ever wanted to study ever), cultural heritage studies is the kind of thing you're not really allowed to sink your teeth into until graduate school. It's too specialized, apparently, which only means one has to fight that much harder to get one's way. Here are three schools that let you study it either as an undergrad or online as a certificate program, so if you're looking to apply/transfer/better yourself for this upcoming school year, these places will be happy to accommodate your passion.

1. The University of Minnesota's Anthropology Department has a Cultural Heritage Studies program that is built for both undergraduate and graduate students. Currently, the school offers two cultural heritage studies courses on a regular basis: Introduction to Heritage Management and Advanced Heritage Management. Undergrads interested in a cultural heritage concentration combine these courses with others in the anthropology offerings. For grad students, there is a two-year Cultural Heritage Studies Master's program, which is designed for students interested in working for a cultural heritage organization.

2. Rutgers University has an entire program for Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies (CHAPS). Most of the courses and information are for graduate students, but there is a certificate program in historic preservation for students in both undergraduate and graduate levels.

3. San Juan College in New Mexico has a new online program for cultural heritage technician courses, created with guidance from the National Park Service. The program has 15 credits worth of classes, plus one required internship to complete the program. Courses have titles like State and Local History Research and Structural Preservation Fundamentals. I'm pretty tempted.

OR apply to a school with an open curriculum, great humanities programs, and lots of resources. Bennington College definitely doesn't offer a cultural heritage studies program, but through anthropology and history courses and, when I need it, courses with our buddy, Williams College, I've got a pretty good start on breaking into this field with confidence.

If you know of any other schools that create opportunities for undergrads to learn about or be involved in cultural heritage programs, please let me know!

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