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Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA

Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA

Different course options

Full time | University of Leeds | 12 months | 27-SEP-23

Study mode

Full time


12 months

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Museum Studies / Museology Museum / Gallery / Conservation Skills & Studies Arts / Culture Administration

Course type


Course Summary


The Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA aims to provide you with a critical understanding of issues in curatorship, museology and museum management.

This Masters course considers the ways in which material culture has been represented and interpreted by historians and cultural theorists, the methodologies behind museum practice and methods of display and interpretation, and also puts theory and practice into dialogue.

Through the course, you will develop a critical understanding of the histories of art galleries and museums and explore and challenge key ideas that have shaped museum practice. You will also deploy these historical and theoretical understandings to develop innovative approaches to curation, interpretation and engaging audiences.

Supported by the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, you will gain the knowledge and skills for a successful career in the museum and art gallery sector.

You will study in the heart of a cultural hub for this diverse and vibrant region. Leeds is home to a wide variety of world-leading and innovative arts and heritage organisations, from the Royal Armouries, Opera North, Leeds Playhouse and Northern Ballet, to museums, galleries and heritage sites and many contemporary art spaces.

We are also close to everything the rest of Yorkshire has to offer, from The Hepworth Wakefield to the National Science and Media Museum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Brontë Parsonage Museum. We have close links with many of these cultural institutions to support your practical learning.

You will become a member of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and enjoy opportunities from networking events and links to alumni to conferences, seminars and reading groups.

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by leading researchers and experienced practitioners in their fields, and you will benefit from a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures and seminars, group learning sessions, as well as gaining insights into specific collections in library sessions.

You will learn from practical experience when you undertake your work placement and a variety of external speakers will give you an insight into contemporary practice in the sector.

Independent study is an important element of the degree, allowing you to develop your research and critical skills. The University Library offers free classes and resources on topics such as academic integrity and plagiarism, public speaking, searching for information and structuring essays.

As part of the course, you will be encouraged to build a portfolio of project work to support future job applications.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Career opportunities

Through a combination of theory and practice, this course produces graduates who are able to develop professional careers in the museums and heritage sector whilst retaining a critical and reflexive eye on their own practice and that of the institutions in which they work.

It will equip you with a good understanding of the issues and approaches to art gallery and museum studies, as well as practical work experience – a combination which is very valuable to employers. You will also develop advanced skills in communication, research and analysis as well as cultural awareness.

Our graduates work as heads of collection, curators and education staff in local authority museums, for national heritage organisations like the National Trust, charitable trusts and in arts marketing and public relations.


This module introduces students to the ways in which Western museums have represented and interpreted history and historical material. The module directs student attention to the dialectic between history and the museum and the role of the museum as a 'frame' for history and historical knowledge. The module considers the writings of historians, philosophers, curators, architects and cultural theorists, focusing on a broad conception of the 'museum', including art galleries, de-industrialised 'heritage', and the City as 'museum'. Texts considered include key writings by Hume, Burke, Carr, Walsh, Habermas, Foucault, White, Barthes, Bourdieu, de Certeau, Maleurve, Samuels, Ranci? and Jencks. The aim of the module is to introduce students to the key theoretical texts that we repeatedly encounter in the bibliographies of museology and museum studies and to consider the history of museums in relation to questions of philosophy of history, the constructions of identity and role and function of the museum in the historical representation of culture and society.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject. Previous academic work should indicate an ability to develop critical thinking around the sector. Professional experience will also be considered. Experience of volunteering or working in a relevant field, such as museums, galleries, auction houses and/or heritage organisations, is required. We do not require a specific length of time to have spent in work experience though you must be able to critically reflect on your experience in your personal statement and at interview.

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