This established programme shares best practice and expertise in various aspects of museum studies, cultural management, exhibition practice and care of collections. The modules draw upon the expectations of the museum standards programmes in UK and Ireland and present these within an international context. Lectures include points of discussion on key issues concerning the museum profession globally. Tutors are either lecturers in Ulster University or senior staff in the museum sector.
In developing the Museum Practice and Management programme we worked closely with the Heritage Council, and the course was designed to reflect the Museum Standards Programme Ireland.
There are four modules in the taught part of the programme:
Museums and Culture: Policies and Values
CUS 816 (30 credits)
This module considers the meaning, purposes and impact of museums. It looks at the value of objects, histories of museums as well as issues in relation to governance, museum ethics, social policies and display. It draws on key debates in the museum sector both nationally and internationally and encourages students to reflect upon the potential of museums.
Management and Strategy for the Museum
CUS 817 (30 credits)
Issues of management, marketing, finance and strategic planning are core to this module. Module content explores key thinking and principles in these areas and applies them to the museum sector.
Communication and Learning in Museums
CUS 818 (30 credits)
The focus of this module is museum communication through exhibition development and learning policies. Units relating to exhibitions focus on the importance of display, writing museum text and evaluation. Lectures also reflect upon contemporary learning theories, how these might be applied in museums, and writing an education policy for a museum. Consideration is also given to engaging lifelong learners and employing new media in museums.
Collections Care and Management
CUS 819 (30 credits)
Collections are the basis on which most museum work is developed. This module considers how to make collection management a strategic part of a museum service. It considers the development of standards and accreditation, issues relating to acquisition and disposal of collections as well as documentation. Lectures relating to the care of collections consider preventive conservation; care of collections; storage; object handling; movement of collections; disaster planning; and the broader context of collections care.
This is an entirely online programme, with no requirement to attend the Ulster University. However, there is an annual calendar of museum events in Ireland which many students attend and the tutors use as an opportunity to informally meet with students.
On request, we work with students and local museums or heritage properties to arrange work placements.
The majority of the students on this programme are working the museum or related sectors. Often these students want to learn more about museum practice and theory. Others are keen to enter the sector and the programme provides invaluable learning. Such students gain a lot from discussion with their peers and tutors. In addition, the Course Director can advise you on finding a work placement in a museum.
The MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies aims to provide students with critical understandings of issues in curatorship, museology and museum management. The course considers the ways in which material culture has been represented and interpreted by historians and cultural theorists, the methodologies behind museum practice and methods of display and interpretation, and also puts theory and practice into dialogue.
Through the course, students develop critical understandings of the histories of art galleries and museums and explore and challenge key ideas that have shaped museum practice. Students will also deploy these historical and theoretical understandings to develop innovative approaches to curation, interpretation and engaging audiences.
You will develop practical skills through working on an interpretation project in our archives and collections on campus, and undertaking a negotiated work placement. Supported by the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, you will gain the knowledge and skills for a successful career in the museum and art gallery sector.
You will study in the heart of a cultural hub for this diverse and vibrant region. Leeds is home to a wide variety of world-leading and innovative arts and heritage organisations, from the Royal Armouries, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Northern Ballet through to nine council-run museums, galleries and heritage sites and many contemporary art spaces.
We are also close to everything the rest of Yorkshire has to offer, from The Hepworth Wakefield to the National Science and Media Museum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Brontë Parsonage Museum. We have close links with many of these cultural institutions to support your practical learning.
Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage
All students on the degree become members of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and enjoy opportunities from networking events and links to alumni to conferences, seminars and reading groups.
A set of core modules form the bedrock of the programme, introducing you to the concept of the ‘museum’ and the ways in which Western museums have represented and interpreted history and historical material.
You’ll also use contemporary theory to consider 20th-century museum practice and key questions around curatorship, museology and museum management. The role of the curator, funding and sponsorship and the display and interpretation of objects are among the topics you’ll cover.
Your core modules will give you the chance to apply your theoretical knowledge and gain practical skills. You’ll take part in an interpretation project in the University’s Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, as well as completing a work placement in an external arts or heritage organisation.
All MA students in the School take two core modules which develop the research skills to complete research projects such as your essays and dissertation.
This will build to our unique MA Symposium in Semester 2, where you present some of your own research across interdisciplinary panels, and a dissertation which enables you to undertake research in a topic of interest to you.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
You’ll be taught by leading researchers and experienced practitioners in their fields, and you’ll benefit from a range of teaching and learning methods. They include lectures and seminars, gallery and museum visits, as well as hands-on experience of specific collections in library sessions.
You’ll also learn from practical experience when you undertake your work placement, and a variety of external speakers will give you an insight into contemporary practice in the sector. Independent study is an important element of the degree, allowing you to develop your research and critical skills.
We use a range of assessment methods including essays, presentations, assignments and literature reviews among others, depending on the modules you choose.
Through a combination of theory and practice, the programme produces graduates who are able to develop professional careers in the museums and heritage sector whilst retaining a critical and reflexive eye on their own practice and that of the institutions in which they work.
It will equip you with a good understanding of the issues and approaches to art gallery and museum studies, as well as practical work experience – a combination which is very valuable to employers. You’ll also develop advanced skills in communication, research and analysis as well as cultural awareness.
Our graduates now work as heads of collection, curators and education staff in local authority museums, for national heritage organisations like the National Trust, charitable trusts and in arts marketing and public relations.
A significant number have also returned as research students and have secured scholarships to pursue their research topics, including Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) scholarships. Former research students are now forging academic careers in the UK, Canada and the US.
To get a flavour of the kinds of career trajectories our graduates have taken see the ‘news’ section of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and the alumni pages of the School website.
This well-established programme at the Ulster University is delivered through the School of Creative Arts and Technologies and is taught on the Belfast campus. It has many links with the museum and heritage profession both north and south and students have the advantage of meeting with practitioners through lectures and visits. Graduates have been successful in securing positions in the museum and heritage sectors both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. To support your learning, we arrange a placement for all students in a local museum or heritage site.
The degree programme has been designed for individuals seeking further career development in the heritage and museum sectors, as well for graduates of Art and Design, Art History, Geography, History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Education, Sociology and allied disciplines, who wish to develop their research interests in these fields.
Key areas of investigation in this MA include
Modules have been designed to reflect innovative and current research in these areas and will equip both graduates and those already working in the heritage sectors with the appropriate skills for further academic and professional development.
The MA requires successful completion of five taught modules and one research module.
MA Research Dissertation
If you choose not to do the research dissertation you may exit with a PGD, postgraduate diploma.
The MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies is delivered at the York Street Campus in Belfast to both full and part-time students.
Your Course Director is Elizabeth Crooke, Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University. Elizabeth works with a team of expert and experienced tutors to deliver this programme. In September 2015 Elizabeth was elected Chairperson of Board of Directors Northern Ireland Museums Council. Elizabeth is currently a member of the Museum Standards Programme Advisory Committee of the Heritage Council (Ireland) and member of the Board of Directors Irish Museums Association.
This course is taught on the Belfast campus.
Full-time students attend lectures and seminars two days a week (typically Tuesday and Thursday) and Part-time students one day a week (typically a Thursday in the first year and a Tuesday in the second year).
We support all students in finding a work placement, which they complete alongside their studies.Students have had placements at National Museums Northern Ireland, local museums, Linen Hall Library, PRONI and the National Trust.
This programme was introduced in 2001 and since that time our graduates have pursued careers in museums, exhibition design, archives, the cultural sector and further education. Alumni from the programme now form a vibrant community and are having a positive impact on the sector.
The areas graduates have gone on to include:
Museum studies allows you to understand all there is to know about showcasing historic artefacts to a variety of different audiences. You are taught by a combination of practical application and focus on history, collections, practises and understanding of the social roles of museums. MLitt in Museum Studies is ideally situated to take advantage of the University’s own internationally important collections and museums to explore these issues and to give you the opportunity for practical experience of working in a museum, working closely with professional as well as academic staff.
You are able to study collections from around the world within the university as Aberdeen holds collections within its own museums and galleries. Kings museums provides a constant range of collections and annual event 'Night at the Museum,' the Zoology museum provides all sorts of study materials to help with understanding of animals, there is also a Kings College and MacRobert ArtSpace which provides contemporary exhibitions. You can also look at items gifted to Aberdeen, and special collections in the library plus online virtual museums.
Within the city there is an art gallery showcasing major works from all periods and artists globally. There are regular UK wide touring exhibitions showing regularly within the city. Many of the regions well known castles provide wide ranging collections of well known artefacts from different periods of art, allowing tours and special exhibitions. If you want to go further afield Edinburgh and Glasgow provide many of the national museums of Scotland within the city centre featuring major global works of art, and special exhibitions year round.
Optional courses from the programme allow you to study other related disciplines and knowledge within the museum and gallery sector such as understanding more about connoisseurship in art galleries and Art in Scotland, Northern artefacts, New World literature, researching for museum collections, and specific marketing or arts business courses.
The Museum Idea
Understanding People and Environment (extended)
Research Skills in Anthropology
Theory and Method in Research
Introduction to Art History for Business
Connoisseurship: Art in Scotland
Researching Museums Collections
Business for Arts
New World Narratives Literatures: Discovery and the Americas
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
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*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page
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