Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies


2023/24 Part-time Postgraduate course


Master of Arts


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Arts and Humanities


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2023

This course is now closed for International applications for September 2023


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:

  • 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.

We’d love to hear from you!

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:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

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.

About this course


For the past 18years the MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studieshas beenpreparing 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 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.

Start dates

  • September 2023

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The academics leading this programme have decades of heritage and museum practice experience, evident in their publication record and experience working closely with the heritage and museum sectors. The Course Director, Professor Elizabeth Crooke was for 5 years Chair Board of Directors Northern Ireland Museums Council and continues to lead research projects with the sector. This extensive knowledge of the sector informs teaching, learning and assessment. Course content and assignments are designed with employability in mind, to prepare you for a successful career in the sector.

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

  • Principal Investigator, UK Research and Innovation-funded project in partnership with Museums Association, National Heritage Lottery Fund, NI Museums Council, working with local museums (2020-22);
  • Principal Investigator, AHRC/Northern Bridge-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with Irish Museums Association(2020-24)
  • Chair Board of Directors, Northern Ireland Museums Council(2015-2021) and current University Representative
  • Current Member Museum Standards Programme Advisory Committeeof the Heritage Council (Ireland)

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.

Belfast campus


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

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

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

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  

Belfast Campus Location

The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.

Find out more about our Belfast Campus.

Campus Address

Ulster University,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP

T: 02870 123 456


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.

Year two

Exhibitions: Practice and Evaluation

Year: 2

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.

Research Methods in Heritage and Museum Studies

Year: 2

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: 2

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.

Year three

MA Research Project

Year: 3

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

Standard 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.

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 Historic Royal Palaces, 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 institutions 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.


Start dates

  • September 2023

Fees and funding

Fees (total cost)

The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.

For modules commenced in the academic year 2023/24, the following fees apply:

Credit PointsNI/ROI/GB CostInternational Cost
5 £186.65 £440
10 £373.30 £880
15 £559.95 £1,320
20 £746.60 £1,760
30 £1,119.90 £2,640
60 £2,239.80 £5,280
120 £4,479.60 £10,560
180 £6,719.40 £15,840

NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.

Additional mandatory costs


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 the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

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:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

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.

For more information visit


“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

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