Museum and Heritage Studies (MLitt) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

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.

Museum and Heritage Studies MLitt - University of St Andrews
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2025
One year full time
Graduate School

Application deadline

Thursday 8 August 2024

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

“My work-based placement had allowed me to build connections within the digital museum industry and learn from first-hand experience of shadowing current working professionals in the field, and the exchange to study at the Ecole du Louvre was a unique opportunity.”
- Selangor, Malaysia

Entry requirements

The MLitt 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.

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.

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

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

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 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, while select 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. 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 a summer exchange programme at our partner institution, the École du Louvre. 


The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

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. 

  • The Museum: Global Perspectives and Debates: provides 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 must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

Alternatively, students may choose to complete a summer Work-based Placement or to participate in the Group Public Engagement Project modules. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation, Work-based Placement or Public Engagement 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. 


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. 

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

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 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.


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

The School of Art History, where Museum and Heritage Studies academic staff find their home, 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. 




Application fee

Before we can begin processing your application, a payment of an application fee of £50 is required. In some instances, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Details of this, along with information on our tuition fees, can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust Scholarship, an award of £5,000, is open to application by students of Museum and Heritage Studies.  

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


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

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

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

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate online visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2032
Graduate School