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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.

About this degree

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. 

Compulsory modules

All students are required to take the following: 

  • The Museum: Critical Perspectives
  • Managing Museums
  • Collections Management and Care
  • Museum Communication and Audience Engagement

Optional modules

Students also choose further options to the value of 30 credits from the following: 

  • Antiquities and the Law
  • Collections Curatorship
  • Cultural Heritage, Globalisation and Development
  • Cultural Memory
  • Exhibition Project
  • Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt
  • Oral History from Creation to Curation
  • Curating Science & Technology
  • Nature, culture and the languages of art: theories and methodologies of art interpretation
  • Archaeologies of the Modern World
  • GIS in Archaeology and History

Dissertation/report

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.

Placement

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.

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.

Funding

UCL Institute of Archaeology (IoA) Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2019/20. All UK/EU and Overseas fee-paying students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. For an application form please email . The deadline for applications is 1 March 2019.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

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.

Employability

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.

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.

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is intended primarily for those who wish to enter the museum profession in the UK or abroad or else pursue PhD studies on museological topics. It provides a balance of practice and theory for students from a wide range of academic backgrounds and cultures.

Application deadlines

18 January 2019

Due to the high demand for places on this programme, candidates are advised to submit their admissions application by mid December for September start the following year. Applications can only be considered once both references have been submitted. 

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Museum Studies at graduate level
  • why you want to study Museum Studies at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • an appropriate level of awareness of the museum sector
  • ability to demonstrate a critical engagement with museum environments and/or exhibitions as 'informed visitors, for example being able to discuss the strength and weaknesses of different museum exhibitions, displays or interpretative strategies
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

We look for experience of working in a museum or similar organisation, either paid or voluntary. 


Visit the Museum Studies MA page on the University College London website for more details!

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