MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies
- Full Time
- Degree of Master of Arts
- Course Length
- 1 year
- Course Start Date
- September 2024
Museums and heritage bodies have a major influence on cultures and societies across the globe. They respond to and shape current moral, political, social, ethical and religious debates. By connecting the present to the past, they help shape the future.
On this Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies MA, you’ll develop an understanding of the history of museums and heritage bodies, and critically interrogate the theoretical models on which they’re based. At the same time, you’ll acquire knowledge of the practical approaches used in the 21st century museum and heritage sectors.
You’ll have opportunities to study the world-famous collection of art held in the Sainsbury Centre, itself a celebrated icon of modern museum architecture.
Placements are also a distinctive part of this course and offer you another way to develop your professional skills.
The greatest strength of this course is the way it combines the theory and practice of both cultural heritage and museum-based collections. You’ll be invited to think about museums and cultural heritage from a global perspective, whilst drawing on the wealth of nationally recognised institutions across the East Anglian region.
You’ll benefit from studying within the multi-disciplinary department of Art History and World Art Studies, learning from academic staff who approach museum studies and cultural heritage from a range of outlooks, including art historical, archaeological, and anthropological perspectives.
You’ll also have the chance to build your professional skills with the Museum and Heritage Practice module. This comprises a series of sessions that include presentations by senior industry experts and a work-based placement.
Placements might be in venues like the Castle Museum in Norwich, in country houses in East Anglia, or in the world-famous Sainsbury Centres. Wherever your work-based placement is located, you’ll develop a wealth of key skills. The course will prepare you for a variety of careers in the museum and heritage sectors. Alternatively, you can use it to launch yourself into further research in the rapidly advancing fields of museum studies and cultural heritage.
Study and Modules
On this course, you’ll take a number of compulsory modules covering a range of topics. By studying these two fields together you’ll gain a global perspective on heritage and museums, and the critical apparatus to consider practical industry issues and approaches.
In Critical Perspectives in Museums and Heritage, you’ll question and analyse approaches to collections, the built environment, and intangible heritage. In the module Interpretation and Participation in Museums and Heritage, you’ll become conversant with different theories of learning and learning styles. In the module World Heritage: Problems and Prospects, you’ll explore the 20th century development of heritage practices, particularly in view of UNESCO’s role in establishing key ideas such as ‘shared’ heritage, and their contemporary legacies. You’ll also choose an optional module which addresses historical and contemporary museum and heritage practices.
In addition, you’ll take the compulsory Museum and Heritage Practice module. Here you’ll gain industry-specific professional experience. As part of this module, you’ll undertake a minimum of 15 days on placement with an appropriate heritage organisation or museum. This could be local, within the UK or overseas. You’ll also attend a series of sessions covering topics related to professional practice and skills. These will include current ‘state of the sector’ assessments by invited expert industry professionals, and career-preparation sessions.
You’ll have the option either to write an independently researched Dissertation on a topic of your own choosing or to develop your own Critical Practice project. Both of these end-of-year options are supported by an academic supervisor. Your Dissertation is a chance to immerse yourself in the aspect of the course that interests you most. It’s also a chance for you to demonstrate the kind of innovative scholarship which progresses our discipline. Your Critical Practice project is a chance to further involve yourself, through your creative and critical inputs, in practical aspects of museum and heritage work.
Optional A Modules(Credits: 20)
Optional B Modules(Credits: 60)
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
You’ll be taught in seminar groups where you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to discussions and engage with specialist readings. Where appropriate, modules will also include field trips or site visits.
The ability to study beyond the classroom will be vital to your success at postgraduate level. For each module you’ll be given reading lists which act as your starting point. You’ll also be encouraged to engage with museums and heritage sites by visiting exhibitions, installations and festivals, and by reading newly published professional and academic literature. You’ll be given research methods training and discipline-specific skills to support you in your independent study.
You’ll be assessed exclusively on coursework. Formative work is used to help prepare you for submission of summative coursework. Most of your coursework will be essay-based, requiring fully referenced academic prose. For some assessments you might need to deliver an in-class presentation, a project, or piece of reflective writing.
- Degree Classification
- Bachelors degree - 2.1 or equivalent
- Degree Subject
- Humanities or Social Sciences
- English Foreign Language
Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):
IELTS: 6.0 overall with minimum 6.0 in Writing & Speaking and 5.5 in Listening & Reading
Test dates should be within 2 years of the course start date.
We also accept a number of other English language tests. Review our English Language Equivalencies for a list of qualifications that we may accept to meet this requirement.
If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:
This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. This course's annual intake is in September of each year.
Additional Information or Requirements
Our Admissions Policy applies to the admissions of all postgraduate applicants.
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2024/25 are:
UK Students: £9,975 (full time)
International Students: 21,200 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Course Related Costs
Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.
How to Apply
Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.
To apply please use our online application form.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying, please do contact us:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
By the end of the course, you’ll have acquired a balanced combination of practical experience, theoretical and historical knowledge, and critical awareness. This will make you attractive to arts and heritage organisations, cultural heritage sites, historic properties management, as well as to those involved in museum curation, collections care, learning, and development.
A degree at UEA will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. We've been ranked 1st for Job Prospects by StudentCrowd in 2022.
Examples of careers that you could enter include:
Collections and research manager
Education and outreach manager/assistant
Discover more on our Careers webpages.