Certificate in Museum Studies FAQ

What is the CMS Program? 

The Ontario Museum Association Certificate in Museum Studies (CMS) is a museum studies training program offered on a part-time basis for museum workers, both paid and volunteer. A Certificate in Museum Studies is awarded to participants after successful completion of the nine required courses that cover museum operation at the basic level. 

Why do I need to be an OMA member to take CMS courses? 

You must be an Individual Member (Museum/Cultural Worker, Colleague, Supporting, Student) or a Commercial Member (Consultant) in good standing order to register for and graduate from the CMS Program.  Individual membership is required to participate because the Certificate is a designation earned by an individual that rests with them regardless of where their career may lead. Find out more about the benefits of membership in the OMA. 

How many courses are required? 

There are nine required courses in the CMS Program. A passing grade in all nine courses is required for graduation. The courses are: Artifacts, Care of Collections, Collections Management, Museums in Historic Buildings (Facilities Management), Exhibit Planning & Design, Education Programs, Organization & Management of Museums, Museums and the Community, and Museums in Context. Read the course descriptions.

Are the courses online or face-to-face? 

Courses are offered either online or face-to-face at museums across the province. 

  • Face-to-face format: A three day workshop delivered on-site at an OMA member museum. These courses change locations each year to ensure geographic accessibility. 
  • Online format: A course delivered to a class of participants online over 8-11 weeks. The participant completes readings, activities, and chats online and submits a final assignment. These are not completely self-paced courses, they must be completed during the scheduled time. 

Four of the courses are offered face-to-face and online in alternating years. One course, Museums in Context, is offered only online. Read the course descriptions. 

Do I have to complete the courses in a certain order? 

The courses may be taken in any order, with the exception of Care of Collections, which requires successful completion of Artifacts as a prerequisite. 

How long do I have to complete the Certificate? 

It is expected that candidates will complete all nine courses within five years. However, as we do understand that circumstances may prevent individuals from completing the program in five years, candidates may make a request for an extension in writing to the OMA. 

How much does each course cost? 

For the 2024-2025 fiscal year, each course, face-to-face or online, costs $395.50 ($350.00 + $45.50 HST). Payment is accepted by cheque, money order, VISA, and MasterCard. (Fees are subject to change.) 

Is there financial assistance available? 

The OMA offers one CMS Bursary each year to cover registration fees for one certificate course. Five courses must already be completed by applicant. 

The Canadian Museums Association (CMA) offers bursaries to assist museum professionals to attend professional development activities such as courses, seminars, workshops or other related museum studies programs. For more details on the CMA Bursary Program, please visit CMA website at www.museums.ca, or contact the CMA at 1-888-822-2907. 

Do I have to be working in a museum to take CMS courses? 

While participants are not required to be employed a museum to enroll in the CMS Program, it is highly recommended that participants who are not employed at a museum endeavor to volunteer at a museum in their area that will be supportive of their use of museum policies and practices for their final course assignments. 

The CMS Program is designed for museum workers who are affiliated with a museum as either a paid staff member or a volunteer. Course instruction and assignments are intended to encourage participants to relate topics to their own institutions and apply new knowledge and skills to real-life situations.