Natural History Museum’s PhD Program Is First in Nation

by - December 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm -

amnhThe American Museum of Natural History now operates a fully accredited graduate school, making it the first museum in the country to do so.

The museum’s school, The Richard Gilder Graduate School, offers a small comparitive biology PhD program that started offering classes in September 2008 and now has nine students enrolled. But until last month, the school had not yet received full accreditation, which gives it new access to federal support and serves as a validation by peers in the academic community.

The museum, at 77th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West, has collaborated with Columbia, NYU and CUNY in the past to offer academic programs, but until last year hadn’t offered its own degree. The New York State Regents voted to award full acrreditation to the school on Nov. 17, said John Flynn, the Dean of the Richard Gilder school and the Frick Curator of fossil Mammals, in an interview with the Westside Independent. The university offers students a generous aid package, and encourages them to travel throughout the world to study plant and animal life. One student is about to head to Madagascar for four months, Flynn said. The students, who are taught by the museum’s curators and scientists, also have access to the tremendous resources within the museum itself.

“They do field-based research and they have access to the museum’s 32 million objects and its state-of-the-art research labs,” he said. “They get to take on some novel innovative projects that help us advance scientific and educational frontiers.” (Photo by Jefrainmx via flickr)

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