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MA Museum Studies

Dive deep in to the world of museums and their role in society.

Year of entry: 2023 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time,
3 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

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in the UK

QS World Rankings by subject 2022

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QS World Rankings by subject 2022

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The Times Higher Education REF results (2021)

Engage with a wide range of issues and develop a unique mix of practice-based and theoretical learning for your professional work or further research in the museum sector.

Our Museum Studies (MA) course gives you the opportunity to focus on museums, education and interpretation, and digital heritage. You'll also study contemporary issues of inclusion, wellbeing, public benefit and decolonising collections. The course combines critical academic study in museology with practical applications, and a curated museum placement in a local museum. The programme is enhanced by collaboration with our heritage partners, including York Museums Trust, York Archaeological Trust, Leeds Museums and Galleries, local authorities, heritage bodies, third sector and commercial organisations.

Course content

You will study 180 credits over the duration of your course. You'll take a variety of modules and a curated placement, then hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic. 

Modules

Core modules

  • Contemporary Issues in Museums
  • Museums, Audiences and Interpretation
  • Curated Placement Module

Option modules

You'll also study three option modules. Examples from previous years have included:

  • Presenting Historic Houses
  • Sustainable Conservation Challenges
  • Digital Creativity
  • Thinking through Material Culture

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For more information, please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Dissertation

You will carry out a piece of original independent research, using appropriate disciplinary skills in an imaginative way. You'll be assessed with a dissertation on your research.

You will have regular meetings with your supervisor who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the dissertation writing process.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an applied, systematic, in-depth understanding of essential disciplinary knowledge of museology and museum practice, and awareness of its breadth and its relevant academic, professional, and socio-economic contexts
  • Engage critically with current debates and advanced scholarship in local and international research and practice within museology and museum practice in order to evaluate the field of practice
  • Inform decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations by assessing and applying advanced museological theories and methodologies to diverse problems or forms of data
  • Confidently synthesise research findings and key scholarly debates, and communicate (through a variety of forms and media) to peers, public or professional audiences in such a way that demonstrates an ability to consider and adapt to their respective needs
  • Demonstrate originality in rigorous and imaginative independent inquiry, using advanced research skills, and a clear contribution to the work of a team
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the legislative, policy and theoretical frameworks that have an impact on museum practice and how they are applied in practice in the UK and internationally
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of ethics as they relate to museum practice and of expertise in mediating conflict over management, interpretation and learning in museums
  • Critically evaluate the diverse methods used to engage the public in museum practice in order to inform decision-making in museums.

Beautiful surroundings

York boasts historic buildings and significant remains from the Roman, Viking and Medieval periods. You'll study in King's Manor, a beautiful Medieval building in the centre of the historic city.

Feel at home

Informality is one of our distinctive qualities - the atmosphere in our department is friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We want you to develop your potential and thrive at York.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

Study modeUK (home) / International and EU
Full-time (1 year)
Part-time (2 years)
Part-time (3 years)

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

We don't anticipate there being any additional fees associated with this course. All books and resources you need will be available in the library or online and it isn't mandatory that you buy your own copies. You may wish to set aside a small budget for photocopying, depending on how you like to work.

Many of the modules have field trips associated with them. These are paid for by the department.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

We have a variety of funding options available within the department.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

One year in the Department of Archaeology was enough to gain a variety of useful skills that I will carry with me, miles away from York. MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) was a​s important for me​​​​ to develop critical thinking​,​ as to get a complete picture in the subject of conservation and manage to apply all that knowledge in the Mediterranean culture back home.
Anna, MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings)

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. The core modules include a field trip to a relevant site.

The skills modules can include hands-on practical classes, a combination of lectures and seminars and site visits. There is plenty of one-on-one guidance with staff and leading external experts in the conservation and heritage sector.

Teaching location

The Department of Archaeology is based in King's Manor, in York city centre. The majority of your teaching will take place there within the Department, with occasional teaching on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Depending on which modules you opt to take, these could include: 

  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Report writing
  • Dissertation
  • Alternative assessment methods such as film-making, blogging or posters

Careers and skills

You will engage with practical applications of museum practices through module assessment and a curated museum placement. You'll develop a wide range of employability skills by giving presentations, by writing management, exhibition or media plans, and working directly with local museums. Graduates have gone on to careers in archaeology and heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad. You'll also develop transferable skills that are applicable to a multitude of careers beyond archaeology and heritage.

Career opportunities

  • Museum Curator
  • Charity Fundraiser
  • Collections Officer
  • Education Officer
  • Museums Development Officer

Transferable skills

  • High level of written and oral skills
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Project management
  • Time management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in a Archaeology or a related subject such as History, History of Art, English, Geography, Anthropology, Politics or any related field.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 in all other components
Duolingo 120, minimum 120 in production and 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

We interview most applicants, unless you live or work overseas.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Helen Chan, Student Services Administrator
Dr. Harald Fredheim, Programme Director

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Department of Archaeology

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