Museum Studies MA
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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £10,410 (FT) £5,240 (PT)
- £21,440 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants should also have gained experience of working in museums or related organisations (this experience is often gained in a voluntary capacity).
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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.
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:
- The Museum: Critical Perspectives
- Managing Museums
- Collections Management and Care
- Museum Communication
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
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.
Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2018/19. 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 Lisa Daniel. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
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
- Assistant Keeper, Historic Royal Palaces
- Exhibition Project Manager, Athens Biennale
- Assistant House and Collections Officer, National Trust
- MA in History of Art, Sapienza University of Rome
- Archivist, Madame Tussauds
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.
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.
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.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Student / staff numbers
› 63 staff
including 25 postdocs
› 246 taught students
› 115 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
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.
Application and next steps
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.
Application fee: There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. More details about the application fee can be found at 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.
- All applicants
- 19 January 2018
Due to the high demand for places on this programme, candidates are advised to submit their admissions application by the end of December for September start the following year.
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.