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Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies

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

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.

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.

Entry requirements

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
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.

Teaching and learning assessment
Course delivery will include lectures, seminars, tutorials and, in some cases, visits to museum/exhibitions. As well as lectures, students will also be expected to pursue self-directed learning and will be given advice for reading and other forms of research. Sessions are lead by academics who are active in the fields of heritage, arts, and museums. Often we invite guest speakers who work in the sector to share their expertise. All modules are assessed via coursework.

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


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.

Careers or further progression

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:

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.

Further enquiries

Course Director: Professor Elizabeth Crooke
T: +44 (0)28 7167 5431
E: 

School of Arts & Humanities: Catherine Russell
T: +44 (0)28 7167 5431
E: 


Academic profile
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 Chairperson of Northern Ireland Museums Council.

Assessment method

Teaching and learning assessment

This course is delivered by academics in the fields of museum, heritage 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.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2018.

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

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!