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Museum and Gallery Studies (MLitt) 2021 entry

The MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies prepares students for employment in museums, principally as curators, with broad training in all types of museums, galleries and other heritage facilities.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

For part-time options, please contact

Course duration

One year full time. For part-time options, see above.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. The School welcomes applications from students from all disciplines relevant to museum work, such as history, archaeology, anthropology, languages, media and communications, and physical and natural sciences. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • Students will preferably have some museum work experience (through employment or volunteering).
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

Home: £9,900
Overseas: £20,370

Application deadline

Wednesday 11 August 2021. However, applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • personal statement (500 words)
  • sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies is a taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Art History. The MLitt is aimed at students wanting to start a career in museum or gallery work, or for those looking for a mid-career change. The part-time course is designed for museum and gallery employees or volunteers who wish to study while continuing with their work.


  • The degree provides broad training, covering all types of museums, galleries and heritage facilities, and includes the principles of conservation, museum education, exhibition planning and design, and management.
  • Teaching normally takes place in the University, and structured visits to museums, art galleries, historic houses, ships and other heritage sites inform the programme learning experience.
  • Students undertake practical project work with a wide variety of host organisations, from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. This includes the University's Museums collections which hold over 100,000 artefacts and specimens in a wide range of subject areas, from art to zoology.
  • As a core part of the course, and working in teams of six to nine, students have the opportunity to curate professional exhibitions in local venues (University museums and Fife Cultural Trust’s St Andrews Museum). This enables you to develop highly relevant practical and vocational skills and will give you the necessary edge over competitors once you start applying for jobs.
  • Students may also apply to take part in exchange programmes at our partner institutions

Teaching format

All Museum and Gallery Studies students take three compulsory modules over two semesters. The taught courses are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and visits to museums and galleries.

Class sizes typically range from 18 to 24 students, and exhibition teams range from 6 to 9 students. Students complete a range of assignments per module in a variety of formats including:

  • an essay
  • a documentation and database project
  • an object study
  • an exhibition or website review
  • a lesson plan
  • a management report.

The final three months of the course will be focused on writing the final assessment piece, a 15,000-word dissertation.

Substantial contributions to the course are made by the Scottish museums community which generously provides visiting lecturers and hosts class visits and individual student placements.

The Museum and Gallery Studies teaching staff are experienced museum curators who continue to be involved directly in museum work.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020-2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

  • Theory and Practice of Museums, Art Galleries and Related Organisations, Part 1: Collections in Context: covers topics such as the developments and purposes of museums, museum ethics, the history of collecting and collections management policies and procedures. 

  • Theory and Practice of Museums, Art Galleries and Related Organisations, Part 2: Audiences and Management: continuing from Theory and Practice in Semester 1, this module covers museum audiences and their needs, museum services and programmes, and museum and gallery management.

  • Project Work (whole year): involves hands-on learning and develops practical, specialist and transferable skills to prepare students for work in the museums, galleries, and heritage sectors. It normally includes a team exhibition project and an individual museum work project.

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words, or the Alternative Format dissertation, must be submitted by a date specified in August.

The Alternative Format dissertation is for students who want to become curators and develop their collections research skills. This format offers the opportunity to research and catalogue a discrete collection of museum objects, works of art etc, producing a critical and scholarly introduction to the collection and catalogue records for each object.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

The next virtual visiting day will be in November 2021.

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events

Conferences and events

The School of Art History supports a large, active and diverse postgraduate community. Postgraduate students publish the peer-reviewed North Street Review journal containing articles on a wide range of topics by students at St Andrews and other universities.

The School organises postgraduate research seminars and occasional symposia. Each year, they invite a number of artists and scholars to give lectures.

The Museums, Galleries and Collections Institute (MGCI) was established in 2005 and is a leading centre for consultancy, training and research in the heritage sector. It hosts an annual public lecture, usually given by an eminent museum director.

Outside of class visits, students are taken to the annual conference of the Scottish Museums Federation (SMF). One student every year is elected to sit on the SMF committee.

Learn more about what it's like to be a Museum and Gallery Studies student by visiting student exhibitions, project work and the Facebook page.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in National Trust for Scotland Studies. The MPhil comprises the taught element of Museum and Gallery Studies, plus an alternative format thesis. This thesis involves in-depth research on a particular area of NTS collections and will help enhance their catalogue records. It will include a critical and scholarly introduction to the collection, enhanced catalogue records including provenance, context etc, short 'label' text of around  50 to 100 words for each object or work of art, and a blog about their findings,

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.

PhD in Museum and Gallery Studies


Recent Museum and Gallery Studies graduates have gone on to work for a range of institutions, including:

  • Chicago Institute of Art
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Scottish Fisheries Museum. 

Two year-long paid traineeships within University Collections are open exclusively to Museum and Gallery Studies graduates, as is the paid four-to-five month David Nicholls Curatorial Internship at the South Georgia Museum in Antarctica.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

"There is something extraordinarily special about sharing the delight of learning with others. We each of us bring something different to our mix of collaborative learning. I did wonder if I would be the odd one out being a mature student but actually we are a mix of all ages, nationalities, backgrounds and experiences."

- Highland, Scotland


School of Art History
University of St Andrews
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2399

Art History website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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