Museum Studies MA

London, Bloomsbury

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, theory and research, the programme looks at all types of museums.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£12,900
£6,450
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£26,600
£13,300
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 20 Jan 2022

Applications open

Entry requirements

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

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

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 and working with their audiences and communities. 

Who this course is for

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.

What this course will give you

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most inter-disciplinary 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 library with specialist archaeology, heritage and museum studies literature 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, professional engagement 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. 

The foundation of your career

The MA in Museum Studies facilitates the development of both practical skills relevant to a professional career in the public museum 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 proposal development, and visitor 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.

Employability

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. Our latest data (2017) show that 90% of UK graduates from this degree take up employment in the museum sector within six months.

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.

25% of a student's time is spent in lectures, small-group seminars and study visits; 25% in working on asignments and the remander in independed study

Modules

Full-time

The taught modules take place in the first two terms.  You will identify a dissertation topic and supervisor in the second term. In the third term you will begin work on your dissertation, which continues over the summer and can be supplemented by research skills sessions organised at the Institute of Archaeology.  There are various ways in which you can undertake your placement. It may be spread over term three or in the vacation period, or could be spread through the year over several weeks or months, to suit the individual and the placement provider.

Part-time

Teaching takes place during Terms One and Two. In Term One, part time students normally come in one to two days a week, while in Term Two this will depend on the optional module to be chosen. In Term One during year one this is normally Tuesdays and Mondays, while during year two this is normally Thursdays and Mondays. Part time students need to attend 50% of the field trips each year. Term three and the Summer break is used to write the dissertation and complete the placement.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Museum Studies.

Placement

Students are required to undertake 20 days' work work - or the equivalent of 20 days for remote placements - in a museum (or similar organisation) 15 credits. This usually takes place one day a week during term-time, although other arrangements may be possible. Students create and present a poster at the end of the placement reflecting on their experience. 

Recent placements have included: Brent Museum, the British Museum, Croydon Museum, Burgh House and Hampstead Museum, Freud Museum, Hackney Museum, London Transport Museum, Museum of London, RAF Museums, Royal Academy, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Royal Historical Palaces, St Paul's Cathedral and UCL Museums & Collections.  

For any queries regarding the placement please contact Charlotte Frearson, Museum Studies Placement Facilitator. 

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: UCL Institute of Archaeology

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £12,900 £6,450
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: three studentships to the value of Home fees for the degree the successful applicant has been accepted onto. Home and International students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. The deadline for applications is 1st March 2022. For further information and to download an application see here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/study/graduate-taught/applying/ucl-institute-archaeology-masters-award Any queries please email Lisa Daniel. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2022.

Heritage and Museums Diversity Scholarship: The UCL Institute of Archaeology is funding a heritage diversity scholarship for a candidate from black and minority ethnic backgrounds as these groups are currently under-represented within the heritage sector. The scholarship covers course fees only for a Home student. 

For further details and an application form please see here

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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Heritage and Museums Opportunity Scholarship

Deadline: 1 March 2022
Value: Full Home Fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: UK

Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student Award

Deadline: 1 March 2022
Value: Up to £26,000 (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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. 

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. 

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021