The Masters in Museum Studies will help you develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required of today’s versatile museum professional. It has been designed in conjunction with employers to meet their needs for well-rounded museum professionals trained in the latest theoretical and practical approaches.
Three different strands of the MSc Museum Studies are offered.
The Theory and Practice strand is our standard Museum Studies programme where the museum itself is the primary object of study.
Two specialist strands: Collecting and Provenance; and Artefact and Material Culture, enable you to combine courses in Museum Studies with specialist courses from Masters programmes provided by Archaeology and History of Art.
Each strand will give you a different mix of core and optional courses. All students take two 20 credit common core courses in Museology and Research and Professional Skills. You also take four 20 credit courses from your strand (a combination of strand core and optional courses) and one 60 credit research project.
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 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. Grounded in museum practice and research, the programme looks at all types of museums.
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, public engagement, 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).
All students are required to take the following:
Students also choose further options to the value of 30 credits from the following:
All students undertake an independent research project on a museological topic which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words (60 credits).
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, small group seminars, practical workshops, student-led panel meetings, 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 minimum of 20 days' work in a museum (or similar institution). Drawing from an extensive network of musuems we collaborate with, the aim is to arrange placements that match students' prior skills, interests and expectations. Placements usually take place one day per week during term-time, although other arrangements may be possible. Students create and present a poster, through which they are assessed, and organise a poster session and placement provider reception.
Recent placements have included: Brent Museum, the British Museum, The Jewish Museum, Freud Museum, Hackney Museum, London Transport Museum, Handle Hendrix Museum, Alexandra Palace, the Royal Academy, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Royal Historical Palaces, St Paul's Cathedral, Benjamin Franklin Museum, Islington Museum, the House of Illustration, Marx Memorial Museum, UCL Museums & Collections and the Wallace Collection.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Museum Studies MA
Some recent graduates of the programme have gone on to 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.
Recent career destinations for this degree
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. Transferable skills include independent research, writing and communication skills, interpersonal skills, use of IT, time management and group working.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
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 and research, including those of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, the Art Museum, and the Grant Museum of Zoology. Students participate in real-life projects through a number of courses and placements offered on the programme. Students also have access to MA degree programmes taught in other UCL departments. Please note that students need to contact the relevant programme co-ordinators to register their interest since there are only limited spaces available.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology
73% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The University of San Francisco offers a unique master’s degree in Museum Studies where students prepare for leadership positions in artistic, cultural, and heritage organizations that operate in a constantly changing social dynamic.
Our sixteen-month curriculum is flexible, providing students with the comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience to assume a variety of roles within cultural, artistic, and heritage organizations.
You can find more information on our website
The program prepares students for positions of leadership in artistic, cultural, educational and heritage organizations and for long-term professional growth.
The curriculum consists of core seminars, hands-on practical, one-on-one advising and mentoring, electives tailored to students' interests and a full-time summer internship in an institution of the student's choice.
The 300-hour formal internship is central to the professional training our program offers. We encourage students to intern at one of the Bay Area’s many renowned cultural institutions but also welcome them to intern at museums nationwide. Students must enroll in an internship course but can accrue their required internship hours throughout the duration of the program.
You can request more information by visiting our website
USF’s campus — situated in the center of the city — is within walking distance to the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, a short bus ride to SFMOMA and the Asian Art Museum, or an easy drive to world-class institutions in Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, and San Jose.
Art Gallery and Museum Studies (AGMS) has been taught at The University of Manchester for more than 40 years. It is one of the longest established MA degree courses in museum studies in the country, and our alumni have reached senior positions in museums and galleries throughout the UK and overseas.
Today, the AGMS course is continually being reviewed and developed in response to new research, emerging critical approaches and shifts in museum practice. Manchester's traditional focus on the art gallery remains, but is now balanced by course units which address history, theory and practice in a range of institutions.
Throughout the degree, you will examine diverse issues related to museum theory and practice, visit numerous museums, galleries and cultural organisations, and have many opportunities to discuss ideas and issues with professionals and academics in the field. The AGMS course combines both guided and independent study, and includes seminars, guest lectures and site visits.
Work Placement (Semesters 1 and 2)
One of the most popular aspects of the AGMS is the work placement that you undertake in a museum or gallery. Each placement involves a minimum of 20 days work on a specific project, such as exhibition development, collections management, or education programme. Many students find this such a positive experience that they carry on working in their museum when the work placement has finished, and each year a few students are offered jobs by their placement hosts. Work placements start in Semester 1 (November/December) and finish in Semester 2 (June).
You can take the work placement either as 15-credit or 30-credit course.
During the MA, students have opportunities to design and participate in live projects with cultural organisations in Manchester. These include curating a collection, developing exhibitions, producing cultural events and working on creative collaborative projects.
Most teaching takes place in small interactive seminar groups, involving, as appropriate, directed-reading, fieldwork in museums and galleries, staff and student presentations, discussion, debate, problem-solving and group-work.
Most courses run one day/week over 12 weeks and there are variations in the number of class hours per teaching day depending on the course/week (i.e. 2-5 hours). As a general rule, a 30 credit course includes 300 learning hours, which can be roughly divided as follows: a third in classes or class-related work; a third in independent study; and a third in preparation of assignments.
Students undertake also a collections management group project (as part of the 'Managing Collections and Exhibitions' and an exhibition group project (as part of the 'Professional Practice Project' course) in collaboration with a museum, gallery or related cultural organisation in Manchester or the North West of England.
Postgraduate life in the Centre for Museology
Both the Centre for Museology and the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures host a varied programme of activities and events for postgraduate students, including occasional master classes and workshops, as well as our regular calendar of:
Full-time or part-time?
The AGMS MA is available as a 1 year Full-time or a 2 year Part-time course. We particularly welcome part-time students and there are many advantages in combining study with work practice, whether you already have a museum post, or are just setting out on your career. Each year, a number of mid-career professionals take the MA degree on a part-time basis and find that the University provides a valuable space for reflection as well as for further learning. Part time students have classes one day per week (usually Tuesday or Thursday; although in Semester 2 it might be a different day depending on the option course you choose). On this one should also add our Thursday 5pm research, professional practice and academic skills workshops. You should also count time for library work/fieldwork that may require you coming to Manchester and although sometimes this can be done on the day of teaching, often one needs to come in a second day (and if you do this on Thursdays then you can combine it with the 5pm workshops). When the work placement kicks off (about November/December in Year 1 or Year 2) you should also count one more day/week (on average) at the Work Placement institution (which, if appropriate or relevant, can be the organisation where you currently work; but undertaking a project different to your day-to-day work) - this is of course if you decide to take the Work Placement module.
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.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees:
Find out more from the programme page
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs..
Find out more about:
Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs
Durham University's unique MA in Museum and Artefact Studies will provide you with the high quality training relevant to a career in museums, the cultural heritage sector, and in the academic world.
In particular, it is intended to equip you with a sound knowledge and critical understanding of current professional principles, good practice and contemporary debates relating to museum and artefact studies.
It aims to help you develop a variety of skills:
It also aims to encourage students to take personal responsibility for their own learning, team-work and professional conduct.
Two distinct routes can be followed through the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies. These comprise different combinations of modules.
The first route is intended for students who firmly intend to pursue a career in museums and galleries. It comprises six compulsory taught modules:
The second route through the MA provides you with a different choice of modules. It is intended for students with a strong interest in artefact studies, who may wish to pursue a career in the cultural heritage sector or undertake further postgraduate research in museum or artefact studies after completing the MA course, but who also wish to keep their options open. It comprises four compulsory modules (one of which is a dissertation) and a choice of a fifth module:
The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate in the Museums sector. Tutorials, seminars and workshops then provide opportunities for you to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Finally, practical classes allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Museum and Artefact Studies through placements and curating an exhibition and/or developing an educational programme for the University Museums.
The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and ability as independent learners , giving you the opportunity to engage in research, professional practice, and developing and demonstrating research skills in a particular area of the subject. The programme aims to develop these key attributes in its students thereby preparing them for work or further study once they have completed the programme.
In Terms 1 and 2 you will typically attend 3-4 hours a week of lectures, up to 4 hours of tutorials or seminars, in addition to 2 workshops and 2-3 hours of practical sessions working with artefacts or museum environment-related matters or fieldtrips over the term. You will have a 20-day Museum placement at Easter in a museum or archive. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. Professional speakers are brought in to engage the students with issues within the professional body.
In Term 3 the balance shifts from learning the basic skills required, to applying them within a real-life museum environment in the module Museum Communications where students work together on a specific project(s) with an opening date in May, June or July. Typically, you could be spending the equivalent of a working week as you complete the work for your projects, under supervision.
The move towards greater emphasis on independent research and research continues in Term 3, where the use of research skills acquired earlier in the programme are developed through the Dissertation research project or the Research Paper. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have between 3 and 5 one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. The Dissertation is regarded as a preparation for further academic work while the exhibition and Research Paper route is designed for a more professional environment.
Throughout the programme, all students also have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet their adviser two to three times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend as well as Friends of the Oriental Museum events.
Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.