Develop your career and learn from key academics and practitioners in the museum and heritage sectors.
This well-established programme at Ulster University is delivered through the School of Arts and Humanities and is taught on the Belfast campus.
It has many links with the museum and heritage profession in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and students have the advantage of meeting with practitioners through lectures and visits. Graduates have been successful in securing positions in the museum and heritage sectors in the UK, Ireland and internationally - we frequently invite past students as guest speakers, sharing their knowledge and expertise of career development.
The degree programme has been designed for individuals seeking further career development in the heritage and museum sectors, as well for graduates of Art and Design, Art History, Geography, History, Archaeology, Sociology and allied disciplines, who wish to develop their research interests in these fields. There is a track record of graduates achieving funding for further research.
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About this course
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Key areas of investigation in this MA include:
- Policy concerns relating to heritage, museum and cultural sectors in UK and Ireland;
- Analysis of the social, economic and cultural contexts of museums and heritage;
- Exploration of issues in relation to collections care; exhibitions; learning and management in the heritage sectors; and,
- Consideration of national issues in the international context.
Modules have been designed to reflect innovative and current research in these areas and will equip both graduates and those already working in the heritage sectors with the appropriate skills for further academic and professional development.
This course is taught on the Belfast campus. The part time programme is a 3 year course. Students take 60 credits per year. The first two years of the programme is the taught course. Full-time students attend lectures and seminars two days a week (typically Tuesday and Thursday) and Part-time students one day a week (typically a Thursday in the first year and a Tuesday in the second year).
First Year Modules
- Exploring Heritage
- Cultures of Curatorship
Second Year Modules
- Exhibitions: Practice and Evaluation
- Strategic Management
- Research Methods for the Heritage and Museum Sectors
In the final year students undertake a research project, guided by a supervisor. This dissertation is completed at the end of Semester 2.
- September 2019
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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You should preferably hold a good honours degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant discipline. Typically applicants have a degree either in archaeology, history, geography, art or art history, social sciences or education.
Exceptionally, candidates who do not satisfy these requrements may, by virtue of relevant experience or learning, be admitted.
The deadline for submission of applications is 15th May. We will consider late applications but these may experience delays in processing.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Teaching and learning assessment
This course is delivered by academics in the fields of museum and heritage studies and the arts. We invite practitioners as guest lecturers on the programme. All assessment is by coursework.
Exemptions and transferability
Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. transfer from another institution) will be considered on an individual basis.
Careers & opportunities
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This programme was introduced in 2001 and since that time our graduates have pursued careers in museums, exhibition design, archives, the cultural sector and further education. Alumni from the programme now form a vibrant community and are having a positive impact on the sector. Past students are invited back to share their experiences with.
The areas graduates have gone on to include:
- Museums, Archive and Galleries, entry level posts such as collections management and curatorship, learning and public engagement;
- Specialist museum-related training e.g. in conservation of museum objects
- museum based internships
- The heritage sector (such as National Trust) and the arts
- PhD research
- Graduates also pursue other interests such as travelling.
For information on postgraduate research opportunities see: www.arts.ulster.ac.uk/rgs
Work placement / study abroad
We will support you in finding a work placement, which you complete alongside your studies. In the past students have had placements at National Museums Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Museums Council, local museums, Linen Hall Library, PRONI and the National Trust. There is also the opportunity to use your volunteering to inform assignments and as a basis of your dissertation research.
All lecturers on this programme contribute to the fields of museum and heritage studies or the arts, publishing in such journals as the International Journal of Heritage Studies and the book Companion to Museum Studies. We regularly invite people senior in the museum, heritage or arts sectors to contribute to our programme. Lecturers work closely with the sectors, for instance the Course Director is currently Chair of Northern Ireland Museums Council Board.
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Scholarships, awards and prizes
Part time students have a chance to apply for Curators Team Interships at Historic Royal Palces. The internship will be based at Hillsborough Castle. For more information please contact:
Course Director: Professor Elizabeth Crooke
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director: Professor Elizabeth Crooke
For Admissions queries please contact the Admissions Service:
For more information visit
Jenny Haslett, Education Officer, Northern Ireland War Memorial, Belfast
I applied for the Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies MA at Ulster University after completing an undergraduate degree in Fine and Applied Art and having gained experience in museums. While visiting museums for my BA degree I became interested historical textiles and the handling and interpretation of objects. After graduation from the BA I began voluntary work with the National Trust on a textile conservation project. Shortly after this I began to work casually with museums, community groups and schools as a textile and craft tutor. These experiences emphasized to me that I wanted to work in a museum. I was delighted to get a place on the MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. The full-time course consisted of two days of lectures a week, allowing me to continue to work casually in museums, while taking on some extra voluntary work. The work load was demanding but ultimately rewarding as I found my voluntary placements helped me to make sense of the learning theories and museum issues I studied in class. The course was well-structured and constantly interested me as I decided which area of museums I wanted to work in. The modules covered an array of topical issues encouraging lively debate and allowing us to explore our own interests in most modules. This allowed me to complete my dissertation in a subject I was truly passionate about. Immediately after graduation, I secured the position of part-time Education Officer in Northern Ireland War Memorial I am still working there and am now curator-manager.