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.
This course offers you the opportunity to specialise in either Composition or Musicology & Ethnomusicology and is taught in the heart of London with access to major arts centres. It covers a wide range of subjects: the Composition pathway enables you to work closely with your lecturers to study a variety of musical genres and styles and,if you choose Musicology, you will benefit from seminars with leaders in the field covering the evolution of different musical forms and their role in and expression of the cultures in which they developed.
You can specialise in either Composition or Musicology and Ethnomusicology by selecting from a wide range of modulesacross Arts and Humanities.
On this course you may specialise in either Composition or Musicology & Ethnomusicology. Please note, we do not offer a Performance pathway. If you follow the Composition pathway, you will work closely with your teachers and study a variety of musical genres and styles. If you choose Musicology, you will benefit from seminars with leaders in the field covering the evolution of different musical forms and their role in and expression of the cultures in which they developed. We encourage you to choose modules that reflect your particular interests, and up to a third of your choices may be from other Arts & Humanities departments, meaning you can build a broad and truly individual study pathway.
Our specialist modules will teach you current approaches to academic writing on music as well as advanced techniques for research and composition. At the end of your course, you will submit a special study – either a dissertation or a substantial work of 8-15 minutes in duration (the composition must be notated in a conventional manner) – for which we will give you one-to-one supervision.
Our aim is to nurture leaders in musicology, ethnomusicology and composition. If you intend go on to research or composition at doctoral level, or if you want to build on your existing skills, this course will be ideal for you.
For students intending to go on to research or composition at doctoral level, or wishing to build upon their existing skills. To provide training beyond undergraduate level in current techniques of music research and composition. To nurture leaders in musicology, ethnomusicology and composition.
Modules worth 120 credits, plus a special study (dissertation or portfolio) worth 60 credits.
If you are studying the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway, we will give you six hours of teaching each week (if you are a part-time student, this is two to four in your first year, and one to two in your second) through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 24 hours (12 hours for part-time) of self-study.
If you are studying the Composition Pathway, we will give you four hours of teaching each week (one to two hours if you are a part-time student) through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 26 hours of self-study (13 hours for part-time).
Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
We will assess you entirely through coursework. If you are studying the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway, you will write a 12,000-word dissertation or critical edition. If you are studying the Composition Pathway, you will compose a substational work lasting 8-15 minutes.
This is a programme geared towards preparing you for higher research into the interaction of the classical world with the Near East - partly through direct research training, and partly through modules taught by experts in their field in small-group seminars.
The relationship between the classical world and neighbouring civilisations is among the most important and most rapidly expanding areas of classical scholarship, and we have particular strength in this field: we offer tuition in Akkadian, and can draw on the resources of the Oriental Museum in Durham and the expertise pooled in the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East. The programme lasts for one year full-time (two years part-time).
You will take modules to a total of 180 or 190 credits. The structure of the course is as follows:
MA modules are 30 credits; you may substitute two undergraduate (20 credit) modules for one MA module. You may also take up to 40 credits of modules offered by other Departments (subject to approval).
Not all modules will be offered every year, and new modules (both elective and core) are added regularly.
Optional modules are offered according to the current research interests of members of staff. In recent years, optional modules available in the Department have included:
The MA in Greece, Rome and the Near East is principally conceived as a research training programme which aims to build on the skills in independent learning acquired in the course of the student’s first degree and enable them to undertake fully independent research at a higher level. Contact time with tutors for taught modules is typically a total of 5 hours per week (rising to 7 for someone beginning Latin or ancient Greek at this level), with an emphasis on small group teaching, and a structure that maximises the value of this time, and best encourages and focuses the student’s own independent study and preparation. On average, around 2 hours a week of other relevant academic contact (research seminars, dissertation supervision) is also available.
At the heart of the course is a module focused on the range of research methods and resources available to someone working in the field of Classics. This is run as a weekly class, with a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions. Three or four further elective modules deal with particular specialised subjects. You must choose one module involving work with a relevant foreign language (ancient or modern; beginners modules in each language and specialised text seminars for those who have already studied Greek and Latin are offered every year), and one dealing directly with research on interaction between the ancient Mediterranean and the ancient Near East. All the modules offered will form part of the current research activity of the tutor taking the module. Numbers for each module are typically very small (often no more than five or six in a class). Typically, classes are two hours long and held fortnightly, and discussion is based on student presentations. (Modules for those beginning ancient Latin or Greek are typically more heavily subscribed, but their classes also meet more often: 3 hours per week.) All students write a 15,000-word dissertation, for which they receive an additional five hours of supervisory contact with an expert in their field of interest.
All staff teaching on the MA are available for consultation by students, and advertise office hours when their presence can be guaranteed. The MA Director acts as academic adviser to MA students, and is available as an additional point of contact, especially for matters concerning academic progress. MA students are strongly encouraged to attend the Department’s two research seminar series. Although not a formal (assessed) part of the MA, we aim to instil the message that engagement with these seminars across a range of subjects is part of the students’ development as researchers and ought to be viewed as essential to their programme. In addition, MA students are welcomed to attend and present at the ‘Junior Work-in-Progress’ seminar series organised by the PhD students in the Department. Finally, the student-run Classics Society regularly organises guest speakers – often very high-profile scholars from outside Durham.
Edinburgh has one of the largest concentrations of South Asianists in the UK, constituting a wide range of expertise.
Examples of our recent research include the study of:
Other cross-disciplinary areas where students are particularly welcome include:
The MSc by Research in South Asian Studies offers core research skills and conceptual grounding for a research career or further study.
The PhD and MPhil programmes combine work on an individual thesis project with systematic training in research skills.
The Centre for South Asian Studies hosts a weekly research seminar as well as regular workshops and conferences.
The University’s Main Library has many manuscripts in oriental languages originating from the countries of the Middle East and South Asia.
You will also have access to rich library and archive resources across the University including divinity and Celtic and Scottish studies, as well as the National Library of Scotland (holding the papers of several Viceroys of India) and the Scottish National Record Office.
Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:
The MA in Visual Arts and Culture at Durham is a distinctive interdisciplinary programme that invites students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and of visual culture. To study visual arts and culture is a way of paying attention to phenomena that are literally everywhere. The concept of ‘visual culture’ acknowledges the pervasive nature of visual phenomena, and signals openness towards both the breadth of objects and images, and the range of theoretical and methodological perspectives needed to understand them adequately. Drawing upon research strengths across the departments that contribute to the programme, the MA in Visual Arts and Culture encourages you to take a broad view of geographical and chronological scope, while allowing you to engage with a wide range of visual phenomena, including fine art, film, photography, architecture, and scientific and medical imaging practices.
The importance of critical visual literacy in the contemporary world cannot be exaggerated. ‘The illiterate of the future’, wrote the Bauhaus artist and theoretician László Moholy-Nagy, ‘will be the person ignorant of the camera as well as of the pen’. This observation was made in the 1920s, when photography was first used in the periodical press and in political propaganda. The rich visual world of the early twentieth century pales in comparison with the visual saturation that now characterises everyday experience throughout the developed societies and much of the developing world. But the study of visual culture is by no means limited to the twentieth century. Turning our attention to past cultures with a particular eye to the significance of visual objects of all kinds yields new forms of knowledge and understanding.
Our programme facilitates the development of critical visual literacy in three main ways. First, it attends to the specificity of visual objects, images and events, encouraging you to develop approaches that are sensitive to the individual works they encounter. Second, it investigates the nature of perception, asking how it is that we make meaning out of that which we see. Finally, it investigates how our relationships with other people, and with things, are bound up in the act of looking.
The course consists of one core module, two optional modules and a dissertation. The core module sets out the intellectual framework for the programme, offering a broad overview of key conceptual debates in the field of Visual Culture, together with training in analysis of visual objects of different kinds, an advanced introduction to understanding museum practice, and key research skills in visual arts and culture. The optional modules provide further specialised areas of study in related topics of interest to individual students, and the 12,000-15,000 word dissertation involves detailed study of a particular aspect of a topic related to the broad area of visual culture.
Previously, optional modules have included:
The Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC) brings together scholars from across and beyond Durham University in order to provide a dynamic setting for wide-ranging interdisciplinary research and debates about visual culture, a field that entails the study of vision and perception, the analysis of the social significance of images and ways of seeing, and the attentive interpretation of a range of visual objects, from artworks to scientific images.
The Centre brings together scholars from across and beyond Durham University in order to provide a vibrant and dynamic setting for wide-ranging interdisciplinary research and debates about visual culture. The Centre provides a focus for cutting-edge research on visual arts and cultures: it aspires to train new generations of scholars through innovative postgraduate programmes, it fosters informed debate both nationally and internationally, and it offers an engaging, open environment for researchers at all levels.
CVAC takes a generous view of what constitutes visual culture and it is broad in both geographical and chronological scope, encouraging debate about the range of approaches, methods and theories that are most generative for research on visual phenomena. Durham’s current visual culture research includes the study of word and image, art and religion, medicine and visual representation, film, the history of photography, architecture, urban culture, heritage and philosophical aesthetics. It also includes the development of pioneering visual research methods and the study of vision.
Durham’s location itself provides a rich and inspiring environment for this field of research. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes Durham Cathedral; its acclaimed Oriental Museum is a significant asset which houses three Designated Collections, recognised by the Arts Council as nationally and internationally pre-eminent; alongside an outstanding collection of twentieth-century and contemporary art. CVAC has many established relationships with major national and international cultural organisations, and aims to develop further its links with museums, galleries and heritage sites.
For further information on the Centre see http://www.durham.ac.uk/cvac