Museum and Heritage Studies (MLitt) 2022 entry

The MLitt in Museum and Heritage Studies prepares students for employment in museums 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: 5 September 2022
  • End date: 30 September 2023

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

For part-time options, please contact pgarthist@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Course duration

One year full time; two years part-time (plus five months for writing a dissertation)

Entry requirements

The MSc in Museum and Heritage Studies welcomes applications from students from all disciplines relevant to museum work, such as:

  • history
  • archaeology
  • anthropology
  • languages
  • media and communications
  • physical and natural sciences.

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: £10,395
Overseas: £21,390

Application deadline

Thursday 11 August 2022. 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 your own, single-authored 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 Heritage Studies is a taught postgraduate programme run by the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Studies, in association with the School of Art History and the Museums of the University of St Andrews. 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 those who wish to study while continuing with their work.

Highlights

  • The programme provides a grounding in both theoretical and practical elements of museum studies while offering the opportunity for specialism.
  • 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 may apply to undertake practical project work from a portfolio of options with a wide variety of host organisations, from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. This includes the Museums of the University of St Andrews, who steward and share more than 115,000 objects across a wide range of subject areas, from art to zoology, and deliver exhibitions, programmes and digital engagement. Practical project work is indicative, the number of projects available to students for application will vary from year to year.
  • Students may also apply to take part in an exchange programme at our partner institution, the École du Louvre.

Teaching format

All Museum and Heritage Studies students take two compulsory modules over in Semester 1, and choose from a range of optional modules in Semester 2. The taught modules are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and visits to museums and galleries.

Students complete a range of assignments per module in a variety of formats including:

  • an essay
  • a provenance research exercise
  • an exhibition or website review
  • an educational lesson plan.

The final three months of the course will be focused on writing the final assessment piece, a 15,000-word dissertation, an alternative format dissertation, or apply to take one of the following modules; an individual student project, or a public engagement project.

The Museum and Heritage Studies course is collaboratively taught by both academic and museum staff, who are actively engaged with museum work nationally and internationally, bringing theoretical and practical perspectives together. There are also visiting lectures, class visits and other contributions from the Scottish museums community.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. There are two compulsory modules in Semester 1, followed by a selection of optional modules in Semester 2 covering a range of topics. Further information on optional modules will be available on this page soon.

  • The Museum: Global Perspectives and Debatesprovides you with a thorough grounding in museum studies through investigation into global literature and case studies. The themes examined will include, among others, an introduction to theories in museology, museum activism, museums and climate action, decolonisation, and the post-digital museum. 
  • Museum Practice:  equips you with foundational skills required in a broad range of roles within the cultural sector.  Taught by highly experienced practitioners from the University of St Andrews Museums Team, the Museum and Heritage Studies teaching team, and staff from across the University, it will introduce the basic tenets of collections management, display and interpretation, education, outreach and access and digital skills, and how these and other elements fit together to create a cohesive and engaging museum programme

Optional modules allow you to broaden your learning in key topics relevant to the MLitt.

The available optional modules will be confirmed before the MLitt start date.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).

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. Students, with the support of University supervisors, will be responsible for identifying and securing permission to catalogue a collection in which they are interested.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation, student placement, public engagement or project summer 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 2022 entry.

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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. 

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.

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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.

Like the University of St Andrews, its museums are rooted in and draw inspiration from this 600-year history of research and teaching, and the pursuit of knowledge for the common good. The museums' collections are of national and international interest and importance and consist of around 115,000 artefacts and specimens. Museum collections are featured at the Wardlaw Museum and the Bell Pettigrew Museum, stored and studied in a dedicated Collections Centre, displayed across the University campus, and lent for exhibition nationally and internationally. The temporary exhibitions programme is the lifeblood of the Museums, stimulating curiosity and starting conversations. Events are fun and usually free.

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 Heritage Studies student by visiting the Facebook page.

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies was established in 2017 to foster interdisciplinary postgraduate education and scholarship. 
The ability to work across subject boundaries is now recognised as an essential skill. The Graduate School’s Masters degrees will help you to develop a more rounded, interdisciplinary understanding of your subject and to use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate your studies. 

As well as their interdisciplinary character, the Graduate School's Masters degrees are distinguished by an emphasis on the development and application of practical skills. In addition to broadening your subject knowledge, you will develop your skills of critical thinking and creativity, analysis and appraisal, problem-solving and decision-making, and project management and personal leadership. 

One of the most appealing aspects of joining the Graduate School is the welcoming interdisciplinary community. The Graduate School is a place where you can make social and intellectual connections across subject boundaries and where students form close networks within and across their Masters degree groups. 

Funding

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 Heritage 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 Heritage Studies

Careers

Recent Museum and Heritage 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. 

A paid four-to-five month David Nicholls Curatorial Internship at the South Georgia Museum in Antarctica is open exclusively to Museum and Heritage Studies graduates.

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.

"Studying at St Andrews has helped me not only expand my professional network, but also develop better strategies for independent research. I have been able to refine my communication skills, while also learning how to use museum programming to reach a wider and varied audience."

 

Madison
Madison
- Sydney, Australia

Contact

The Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of St Andrews
Old Burgh School
Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2032
Email: gradschool@st-andrews.ac.uk

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Policies

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.

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.

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