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Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies - MA

Develop your career and learn from key practitioners and academics in the museum and heritage fields.

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Overview

Develop your career and learn from key practitioners and academics in the museum and heritage fields.

Summary

This well-established programme at the 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 both north and south 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 both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We often invite our past students to talk about their career progression. To support your learning we support you in securing a voluntary placement in a local museum or heritage site.

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, Anthropology, Education, Sociology and allied disciplines, who wish to develop their research interests in these fields.

Key areas of investigation in this MA include

  • Policy concerns relating to heritage, museum and cultural sectors in Ireland, north and south
  • Analysis of the social, economic and cultural contexts of museums and heritage
  • Management issues relating to museums and heritage sites
  • International context of key issues for the heritage and museum sectors


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.

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About this course

In this section

About

The MA requires successful completion of five taught modules and one research module.

Taught Modules

- Exploring Heritage
- Cultures of Curatorship
- Exhibition: Practice and Evaluation
- Strategic Management for the Heritage and Museum Sectors
- Research in Museum and Heritage Studies

MA Research Dissertation

If you choose not to do the research dissertation you may exit with a PGD, postgraduate diploma.


The MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies is delivered at the York Street Campus in Belfast to both full and part-time students.


Your Course Director is Elizabeth Crooke, Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University. Elizabeth works with a team of expert and experienced tutors to deliver this programme. Elizabeth is currently Chairperson of Board of Directors Northern Ireland Museums Council. She is also a member of the Museum Standards Programme Advisory Committee of the Heritage Council (Ireland) and has served as a member of the Board of Directors Irish Museums Association.

Attendance

All modules are taught on the Belfast campus where you will find excellent teaching rooms, library facilities, and catering provision. We also make full use of Blackboard Learn, opening up digital resources to all students.

Start dates

  • September 2019
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Content

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor

- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement

- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

Assessment

Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

Read more

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Exploring Heritage

Year: 1

This module allows students to engage with key questions and issues relating to "heritage". Students will explore the professional and personal dimensions of discourses and practices of heritage. Students are asked to consider the ways in which people talk about, think about, and represent notions of "heritage" in a variety of local, regional, national, and international contexts.

Cultures of Curatorship

Year: 1

This module considers the political and social basis of museum activity and encourages critical examination of the work and procedures of museums. Though primarily concerned with museum development in Ireland, emphasis will be placed on locating the key issues in an international context. The module will be assessed through a written assignment and oral presentation.

Exhibitions: Practice and Evaluation

Year: 1

This module is concerned with the exhibition process in museums. It explores the way museums communicate through exhibitions and how this is enhanced through use of space, objects and language.

MA Research Project

Year: 1

This module gives students the opportunity to conduct supervised research in an area of museum studies, chosen in consultation with their tutors.

Research Methods in Heritage and Museum Studies

Year: 1

This module emphasises the importance and role of research within the heritage and museum sector, explores the research agendas underpinning heritage and museum studies, and leads students in the development of research projects in the field.

Strategic Planning for Heritage and Museum Management

Year: 1

Organisations that continuously critically appraise their present performance and develop strategies to plan for the future are more successful in the long term than those that do not. This module equips students with the knowledge and skills to evaluate the importance of strategic planning within heritage and museum organisations and enables them to develop a strategic plan for their organisation.

Entry conditions

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.

In this section

Entry Requirements

Postgraduate Diploma: You should normally hold a degree in a relevant discipline.

MA: You should preferably hold a good honours degree in a relevant discipline.

Exceptionally, candidates who do not satisfy these requirements may, by virtue of relevant experience or learning, be admitted. Students who satisfactorily complete the Postgraduate Diploma at the required level will automatically be considered for progress to the MA.

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.

Exemptions and transferability

Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. transfer from another institution) will be considered on an individual basis.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

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

Please see the testimonials below and others on the following page: http://ulster.academia.edu/ElizabethCrooke

The areas graduates have gone on to include: Museums, Archive and Galleries (such as documentation, education, and outreach); further museum-related training (e.g. in conservation of museum objects; museum based internships; Archaeology (mainly excavation and research); Heritage (such as National Trust); PhD research; Education; graduates also pursue other interests such as travelling.

Work placement / study abroad

We arrange a work placement for each student with a museum, heritage or arts centre. Over the years our students have volunteered at Northern Ireland War Memorial, National Trust in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Museums Council, Ulster Museum, and local museums. There is opportunity to use your volunteering to inform your assignments or as a basis for dissertation research.

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

The deadline for submission of applications is 15th May. We will consider late applications but these may experience delays in processing.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

In this section

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:
£5,900.00

International:
£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

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5431

E: em.crooke@ulster.ac.uk

Additional mandatory costs

None

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.

Contact

Course Director: Professor Elizabeth Crooke

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5431

E: em.crooke@ulster.ac.uk

For Admissions queries please contact the Admissions Service:

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7890

E: admissionsjn@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Arts and Humanities

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.

Testimonials

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 workload 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. Just after graduation I successfully secured the position of part-time Education Officer in Northern Ireland War Memorial. I am now curator-manager.

Please see the testimonials below and others on the following page: http://ulster.academia.edu/ElizabethCrooke