This MA provides a broad academic and professional training in all aspects of museum work, and encourages students to reflect on the concept of the museum and its associated practices. The programme looks at all types of museum, from art galleries to science museums, without concentrating on any particular kind.
Students are equipped with a range of skills that they can apply in any museum and develop critically aware perspectives on professional practice and research processes. The programme's main aim is to provide an in-depth understanding of approaches to the research, documentation, communication, interpretation, presentation and preservation of curated materials in museums, while responding to their audiences and communities.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), two optional modules (30 credits), work placement (15 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Core modules - all students are required to take the following:
-The Museum: Critical Perspectives
-Collections Management and Care
Optional modules - students also choose further options to the value of 30 credits from the following:
-Antiquities and the Law
-Cultural Heritage, Globalisation and Development
-Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt
-Oral History from Creation to Curation
All students undertake an independent research project on a museological topic which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, practical workshops, museum visits and guest speakers. Students are required to undertake a work placement for a total of 20 days. Assessment is through coursework assignments, projects, essays, field reports, portfolio and the dissertation.
Students are required to undertake a 20 days' work in a museum (or similar institution). This usually takes place one day per week during term-time, although other arrangements may be possible. Students write an assessed 2,500 word report at the end of the placement reflecting on their experience.
Recent placements have included: Brent Museum, the British Museum, Croydon Museum, Event Communications, the Freud Museum, Hackney Museum, London Transport Museum, the Museum of London, RAF Museums, the Royal Academy, Royal Botanical Gardens, Royal Historical Palaces, St Paul's Cathedral, Tate Britain, UCL Museums & Collections.
Some recent graduates of the programme have gone to do complete a PhD while others have pursued a career in professional organisations associated with the museum and/or heritage sector. 90% of UK graduates from this degree take up employment in the museum sector within six months.
Top career destinations for this degree:
-Research Officer, Imperial War Museum
-Archivist, Madame Tussauds
-Assistant Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum
-Cataloguer, Historic Royal Palaces
-Museum Assistant, British Museum
The MA in Museum Studies facilitates the development of both practical skills relevant to a professional career in the museum and galleries sector and a solid understanding of, and critical engagement with, theoretical issues involved in contemporary museum practice. Core practical skills include collections care procedures, packing and storing objects, documentation, collections-based research, exhibition production, and display evaluation. A museum-based placement and optional modules can be chosen to enable students to focus on specific additional areas of theory and practice. Thansferable skills include independent research, writing and communication skills, interpersonal skills, use of IT, time management and group working.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study in related fields such as museum studies, heritage studies and conservation.
Its outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's main library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries.
London's many museums and galleries are a wonderful source of discussion and material for this degree, but in particular UCL's own important museums and collections are drawn upon for teaching, including those of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, the Art Museum, and the Grant Museum of Zoology. Students have access to MA degree programmes taught in other UCL departments. Please note that students need to contact the relevant programme coordinators to register their interest since there are only limited spaces available.