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Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies
MA

2020/21 Full-time Postgraduate course

Award:

Master of Arts

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

School of Arts and Humanities

Campus:

Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2020

Overview

Working with the heritage and museum professionals of the future.

Summary

This well-established programme produces the heritage managers and museum curators of the future.

On this programme you will:

  • have access to leading academics and practitioners in the field;
  • go on study visits to museums to learn about latest practice;
  • meet past students who have graduated from the programme and now work in the field; and,
  • undertake a placement to get hands on experience.

Key areas of investigation in this MA include:

  • Policy development and management issues relating to heritage, museum and cultural sectors in Ireland, north and south;
  • Analysis of the social, economic and cultural contexts of museums and heritage; and,
  • International context of key issues for the heritage and museum sectors.

Modules reflect innovative and current research and will equip you with the appropriate skills for further academic and professional development.


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About this course

About

Join us in 2020 when the MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies will be marking 18 years of preparing new professionals for the heritage and museum sectors in Northern Ireland, Ireland and GB.

Together we explore the sector knowledge and skills required to work in the heritage, museum and arts fields.

We will reflect on the achievements of our graduates working in learning and outreach, curatorship, conservation, and management. Our alumni work in National Museums Northern Ireland, local museums and heritage sites, the National Trust as well as in museums in Dublin, Scotland and England.

By exploring arts, heritage, museums and exhibition practice with us, you will be prepared for the next stage in your career.

Attendance

All modules are taught on the Belfast campus where you will find excellent teaching rooms, library facilities, and catering provision.

The campus located close to many arts, heritage and museum attractions in the city such as The MAC, Northern Ireland War Memorial, Titanic Belfast, Linen Hall Library, Crumlin Road Gaol and PRONI.

Start dates

  • September 2020

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:

Attendance and Independent Study

On registration you will be provided with an induction to the programme that includes further details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements

This postgraduate course is comprised of 180 credits. It has three 30-credit taught modules; two 15 credit taught modules and a 60 credit research module.Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort.

Teaching normally takes place on a Tuesday and Thursday mornings on Belfast campus. Visits to heritage and museum sites may require a full day attendance.

Assessment

This programme is assessed through coursework which is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, presentation, dissertation, and group work. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable.

The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons.

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.

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    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

Your Course Director is Prof Elizabeth Crooke, Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University.

  • Follow Elizabeth on twitter for regular posts about the MA programme and issues in the museum and heritage sectors @MuseumStudiesUU #MAmuseumsUU

Elizabeth has close links with the museum sector

  • Chair Board of Directors, Northern Ireland Museums Council(2015-2019) and University Representative
  • Current Member Museum Standards Programme Advisory Committeeof the Heritage Council (Ireland)
  • Member of the Historic Environment Stakeholders Group, Department for Communities;
  • Past Director Irish Museums Association.

Elizabeth has published three books in museum and heritage studies, as well as many peer reviewed journals and book chapters in the field. In 2018 she published a report with the Irish Museums Association.

Drawing on her extensive knowledge of the sectors, Elizabeth works with a team of expert and experienced tutors to deliver this programme.

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.

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    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.

Belfast campus

A globally recognised hub of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.


Accommodation

High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

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Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Belfast campus location info

  Find out more about our Belfast campus

Address

Ulster University
York Street
Belfast
County Antrim
BT15 1ED

T: 028 7012 3456

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.

Entry Requirements

We welcome people with an honours degree in an area relevant to museum and heritage practice, such as:

  • Arts and Humanities e.g. Archaeology and Anthropology, History, Fine and Applied Arts;
  • Environmental Sciences e.g. Geography (including human geography and historic geography);
  • Social Sciences e.g. Sociology, Policy Studies;
  • Business & Marketing e.g. Tourism Studies, Management Studies.

You will find that the diverse student group will greatly enhance your learning experience.

If you do not have an honours degree, but have relevant experience or learning, we will consider your application.

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.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America

Postgraduate

Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:

Qualification
Bachelor degree

English Language


Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Qualification
Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Career options

This programme was introduced in 2002 the destination of our graduates is a indication of the possibilities post graduation.

Our graduates are working at National Museums NI, Northern Ireland Museums Council, National Trust, Hillsborough HRP, National Heritage Lottery Fund projects, National Gallery Ireland, National Museums Scotland.

The areas graduates have gone on to include:

  • Museums, Archive and Galleriesin a curatorial role or working on exhibitions, documentation, education, and outreach.
  • Specialist museum-related training e.g. in conservation of museum objects;
  • Heritage sector such as working with built heritage, heritage landscapes and community projects; and,
  • Doctoral Research: we have a thriving PhD research community, many of whom are graduates of the MA.

Work placement / study abroad

We arrange a work placement for you in 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.

When volunteering in these insitutions it is very likely you will meet one of our graduates now working there. There is opportunity to use your volunteering to inform your assignments or as a basis for dissertation research.

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

In this section

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

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Course Director: Professor Elizabeth Crooke

T: +44 (0)28 7167 5431

E: em.crooke@ulster.ac.uk

For Admissions queries, please contact the Admissions Office.

Margaret Breslin +44 (0)28 7167 5494

m.breslin@ulster.ac.uk

admissionsmg@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

“The teaching was fantastic. It was challenging, it was informative. They really gave us the opportunity to have a lot of discussion, to ask questions and present our ideas” Shona MacKay 2019 Graduate

"I was attracted to the course due to its excellent reputation within the sector along with the wide range of learning perspectives it offered. The MA was an incredibly practical and informative experience. We had numerous on and off site visits to gain practical and first hand experience of the sector. We were given opportunities to make contacts within the sector and to gain valuable volunteering work." Charlotte Tracy 2013 Graduate

"The course was well-structured and constantly interested me and my voluntary placements helped me to make sense of the learning theories and museum issues I studied in class" Jenny Haslett, 2012 Graduate

"Shortly after enrolling on the course, I started at North Down Museum where my first project was to carry out research and help create a temporary exhibition. Working at a small museum meant that I had more responsibilities and opportunities. Six months later I was even given some paid work there!" James Scott, 2012 Graduate

"I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it both challenging and rewarding throughout" Gretta Halpin 2010 Graduate