Master of Arts
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Arts and Humanities
Working with the heritage and museum professionals of the future.
This well-established programme produces the heritage managers and museum curators of the future.
On this programme you will:
Key areas of investigation in this MA include:
Modules reflect innovative and current research and will equip you with the appropriate skills for further academic and professional development.
In this section
For 20 years the MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studieshas been preparing new professionals for the heritage and museum sectors in Northern Ireland, Ireland and GB.
Together we explore the sector, providing you with 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 practices with us, you will be prepared for the next stage in your career.
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.
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.
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:
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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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 methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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.
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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Your Course Director is Prof Elizabeth Crooke, Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University.
Elizabeth has close links with the museum sector
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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
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) by Advanced HE - 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.
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 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
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
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.
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.
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.
This module gives students the opportunity to conduct supervised research in an area of museum studies, chosen in consultation with their tutors.
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.
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.
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
We welcome people with an honours degree in an area relevant to museum and heritage practice, such as:
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 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 (with a pass in each component) also meets this requirement.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. transfer from another institution) will be considered on an individual basis.
In this section
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:
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, National Museums Northern Ireland, 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.
Fees illustrated are based on academic year 22/23 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
If your study continues into future academic years your fees are subject to an annual increase. Please take this into consideration when you estimate your total fees for a degree.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees. See www.ulster.ac.uk/student/fees-and-funding/tuition-fees/tuition-fees-202223/ni-roi-students for most up to date costs.
We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.
Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:
For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.
For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.
We look forward to hearing from you.
"My experience of the MA was thoroughly enjoyable and fulfilling. The course has enabled me to initiate a very exciting career path: I got my final results and a job offer with the National Trust in the same week. The Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies MA helped make this possible" Sarah Preston 2021 Graduate
“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