Components Overview


Southworth & Hawes (American, active 1845-1861), Rollin Heber Neal, 1850, Daguerreotype, Courtesy George Eastman Museum

The University of Rochester–George Eastman Museum PPCM master’s degree program consists of three components:

  • Classroom work
  • Institutional Service
  • Master’s essay

In the Classroom

Classroom work provides our students with a well-rounded approach to the study of photographic materials and history, as well as the technical skills necessary to manage photographic collections. Electives taken at the University of Rochester provide a framework in which to understand the production and reception of photographs as objects in both a visual cultural and an art historical context.

Institutional Service

In addition to their coursework, PPCM students engage in Institutional Service Opportunities (I.S.O.).  These are practical, hands-on in nature, and occur under the supervision of a curator, registrar, collections manager, librarian, or other museum staff at the George Eastman Museum.  This ISO aspect of the program gives students insight into museum operations and provides students with real work experience.  Upon graduating, PPCM students will have tangible skills that can be brought directly into the workplace. 

Some examples of past opportunities include the following:

  • Exhibition preparation
  • Cataloging photographic objects
  • Library assistance
  • Creating housings for photographs
Curtis Promo Girl

Edward S. Curtis (American, 1868-1952), A Promo Girl, Photogravure print, Courtesy George Eastman Museum

Master’s Essay

In their last semester, all students in the PPCM program must complete a Master's Essay, which is the culmination of the knowledge and skills they have gained while in the program applied toward a subject of particular interest to them and which contributes to the field of photographic preservation and collections management in some way.  These projects may be practical, analytical, or a hybrid of the two.