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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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

In term I, part-time students will usually attend one day a week and up to 5 Monday Museum study visits, while in term II this will depend on the optional module to be chosen.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 20 January 2020

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£11,830 (FT)
£5,885 (PT)
Overseas:
£24,250 (FT)
£12,120 (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 Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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

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

International students

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).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Museum Studies.

Compulsory modules

All students are required to take the following: 

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

Optional modules

Students also choose further options to the value of 30 credits normally from the list below. 

  • Antiquities and the Law
  • Archaeological Data Science
  • Archaeologies of the Modern World
  • Collections Curatorship
  • Cultural Memory
  • Curating Science & Technology (by arrangement with the Department of Science and Techonology Studies).
  • Exhibition Project
  • GIS in Archaeology and History
  • Heritage, Globalisation and Development
  • Oral History from Creation to Curation
  • Sources and Social Research Methods for Heritage and Archaeology
  • Working with Artefacts and Assemblages

The remaining options can be taken from above or from Master's modules available at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.  Please note not all modules are available every year. More detailed information on each module can be found here.

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.

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project on a museological topic which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words (60 credits).

Examples of recent projects include: 

  • the museum on display: exploring changing attitudes ot museum architecture at the V&A
  • memorial museums and the representation of genocide
  • rethinking 'Zulu' material culture in the British Museum's collections
  • digital technologies and museum communication

Placement

Students are required to undertake 20 days' work work 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 write an assessed 2,500 word report at the end of the placement reflecting on their experience. 

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

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


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

Additional costs

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

Accessibility

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

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 2020/21. 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 2020.

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. Transferable skills include independent research, writing and communication skills, interpersonal skills, use of IT, time management and group working.

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. 

Department: Institute of Archaeology

Application and next steps

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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information 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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
20 January 2020

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. 

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 6 November 2019