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MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies

Course Description

Course Description

The MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the issues surrounding curatorship, museology and museum management. It allows students to move into, or progress within, a career in museums, galleries or heritage, and/or, if suitable, progress onto a PhD and a career in academia.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, 'hands on' experience of specific collections, and a supervised negotiated work placement. Course tutors include professional curators and educationalists. The programme has close links with a number of important institutions both in the city and the region and previous student have completed placement at a wide variety of museums, art galleries and heritage organisations including Leeds Museum and Art Gallery, Harewood House, the Henry Moore Institute, the National Media Museum, the National Railway Museum, York City Art Gallery, Impressions Gallery, Fairfax House, Lotherton Hall, Abbey House Museum and the Royal Armouries. We have a special relationship with the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds and students complete an interpretation project there as part of one of their core modules.

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 AHRC scholarships. Former research students are now forging academic careers in the UK and US.

The Programme

Art Gallery and Museum Studies students examine a whole range of questions, case studies and ideas drawn from museum and gallery theory and practice. Each of the modules include project work, visits to a range of museums, galleries and heritage institutions and students are taught by both academic staff and current museum practitioners.

Like all our masters programmes, the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies is a modular degree with core and optional elements. Students aim to successfully complete 180 credits. Students undertake 90 credits of core modules, a 30 credit optional module, 10 credits of Essential Research Skills and a 50 credit dissertation on a subject of their choice. The dissertation is supervised on a one to one basis.

The first semester is comprised of two core modules, Object, Building, Text and Interpreting Cultures, which have been developed to provide students with a broad introduction to many aspects of museum theory, history and practice. Both modules encourage students to apply this knowledge to their own specific areas of interest and experience, through seminar discussions and their essays. The modules are assessed via two research essays. In second semester, students undertake a placement as part of Museum, Object, Practice. The School organises placements for all of the students based on a wide range of partnerships formed over many years with museums, galleries and heritage organisations in the region. If students have a particular ambition for their placement we will aim to facilitate this. On the placement module, students return to the classroom each week to consider key aspects of professional practice, in sessions which are frequently led by very experienced museum staff. The classroom sessions also allow students to discuss any issues or questions arising from their experience in the workplace. Students are assessed on the basis of a project derived from their experience. Students also select an optional module from the wide array on offer in the School. This allows them to specialise in their own areas of interest and do further work on many periods and themes in art history and cultural theory. On agreement, they may also select their option from the wider University array.

Throughout the year, students undertake Essential Research Skills training in preparation for the research and writing required for the essays and, ultimately, their dissertation. As a key part of this module, in semester 2, students present their initial dissertation ideas at a school wide symposium, where they benefit from feedback from their peers and academic staff. All masters students complete a dissertation.

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

Entry Requirements

2:1 degree at first degree level or above. Vocational experience may be taken into account. It is expected that all applicants have some form of experience in an appropriate field prior to entry onto the degree. This could be in the form of volunteer work. Please contact the School if you would like to check your experience against our entry requirements.

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