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Course overview

  • Explore emerging critical approaches and shifts in museum practice and theory.
  • Undertake a work placement in a museum, gallery or related cultural organisation in or around Manchester.
  • Develop a career in the museum sector.

Open days

Visit us on one of our taught master's open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2019, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
  • UK/EU students (per annum): £9,500 
  • International students (per annum): £18,500
  • MA (part-time)
  • UK/EU students (per annum): £4,750

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued.


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of  School awards  and  Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the  School's funding page.

See also  the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

Entry requirements

English language

An overall grade of 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

Please refer to the following School page regarding subject-specific requirements. These are in addition to the basic prerequisites as shown under entry requirements:     


For references, please email the following link to your referees:

References for master's applications

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of: 

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here :http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/new-approved-english-tests.pdf 

Portfolio requirements

The following courses require a portfolio of works in order for a decision to be made:

  • Composition/Electro-acoustic Music Composition
  • Creative Writing

The specific details can be found here .

Teaching and learning

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 course units 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 (ie 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.

You will also undertake collections management group project (as part of the 'Managing Collections and Exhibitions' unit) and an exhibition group project (as part of the 'Professional Practice Project' unit) in collaboration with a museum, gallery or related cultural organisation in Manchester or the north-west of England.

Course unit details

This MA is a modular degree made up of 180 credits.

You will take 120 credits of core and optional course units plus a dissertation worth 60 credits.

Semester 1

Full-time students take two core course units: 'Introduction to Museum Studies' and 'Managing Collections and Exhibitions' (each 30 credits).

Part-time students take 'Introduction to Museum Studies' in Year 1 and 'Managing Collections and Exhibitions' in Year 2.

All elements in Semester 1 are compulsory.

Semester 2

Full-time students take 60 credits of optional course units (which are offered as 15 or 30 credits).

Part-time students take 30 credits of optional course units each year.

You may choose to take one optional course unit in a related subject area, eg Archaeology, History, or Social Anthropology.

Note that not all optional course units may be available every year.

Dissertation (Semester 2 and summer)

On successful completion of the coursework, you proceed to write a dissertation (60 credits) on a topic of your choice, agreed in conjunction with your dissertation supervisor.

  • Standard : 12,000-15,000 words.
  • Practice-based A : Exhibition. An exhibition, show or plan thereof. Outcome - exhibition and/or plan plus 8-10,000 words reflection.
  • Practice-based B : Policy. Develop a piece of museum policy. Outcome - policy or report plus max 8,000-10,000 words reflection.
  • Practice-based C : Digital/online (building on skills developed in Digital Curating). Outcome - digital media application plus max 8,000-10,000 words reflection.

CPD opportunities

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.

Career opportunities

This course offers an important entry-level qualification for anyone seeking to pursue a career in museums or galleries.

These skills in research design and planning are transferable to jobs in the museum sector, as well as being a vital first step to PhD research.

Job destinations vary according to the interests, ambitions and skills of each individual, but most of our students are successful in obtaining professional posts in collections, exhibitions, education, interpretation, or some aspect of museum/arts management soon after completing the MA.

Visit the MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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