Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture MA
University of Westminster
London, United Kingdom
Full time, Part time
GBP 17,000 / per year **
Request info *
Earliest start date
* we urge applicants to apply as soon possible and recommend applicants to apply at least three months before the course starts
** international | UK: £8,500
Masters Online Open Day - 28 February 12-13.30 GMT
To learn more about studying for a postgraduate degree at the University of Westminster, join our online open day. Speak to course leaders and current students online, and get advice on admissions. Follow the link for more information and to book!
The Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture MA studies how museums, galleries and other cultural institutions are changing to meet the needs of the 21st century. The MA is for you if you're pursuing a career as a curator, arts organiser, museum professional or another cultural manager, and in particular if you want to know how these institutions face contemporary issues. The course looks at the changing role of cultural provision and how agencies, festivals and flexible organisations shape, house, fund, and disseminate culture today. It also gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the contemporary debates about working practices in cultural institutions and the changing context in which organisations operate.
The MA focuses on professional practice, and you'll work closely with institutions such as the Museum of London and conduct case studies into creative projects run by organisations as diverse as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern, smaller independent galleries and London-based festivals and arts organisations. Classes are taught off-site at other institutions and involve professionals from the sector as much as possible to give you an understanding of vocational issues and a close involvement in the workplace.
You'll examine key issues and themes in the museum and gallery sector and explore how these are dealt with not just in theory but on a day-to-day basis by leading institutions. You'll learn about the challenges faced by museums and galleries, how they confront them and how they're developing innovative practices in relation to their collections, exhibitions and audiences.
Gaining professional knowledge is an important part of the course, and you'll be able to meet curators and museum professionals. The University also supports you in gaining internships, work placements and in working on professional projects.
In addition to the one-year MA, if you want your studies to include a work placement of a longer duration, you can take the two-year degree Museums Galleries and Contemporary Culture with Professional Experience MA. This degree pathway has the same taught content as the one-year Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture MA, but in your second year, you'll do a placement with an industry partner for three to six months.
The teaching team are curators, museum and gallery professionals, as well as university academics. You'll be taught through seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and workshops, together with an independent, student-directed study where you'll develop your own project. If you're interested in studying the broader theoretical context of museum and gallery issues, you can also take modules from other courses taught in the School of Humanities, such as Art and Visual Culture MA.
Assessment methods include written coursework – essays, presentations, proposals and project reports. You’ll be able to choose between an MA Dissertation or an MA Project.
Top reasons to study with us
- Study in London's museums and galleries – Classes take place off-site at museums and galleries in addition to at the University, giving you the opportunity to meet professionals in the places where they work.
- Learn from industry experts – You'll gain valuable knowledge through talking to museum and gallery professionals about their careers, and current issues and practices in the sector.
- Gain practical experience – The course has a strong vocational focus, and you'll have the opportunity to do practical projects for your assessments.
Why study this course?
Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture
Through our Institute, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy events including research seminars, symposia, guest lectures, conferences and screenings.
Learn in a vibrant, multicultural environment
You'll be learning alongside passionate students from around the world, collaborating on projects and exploring the culture of London together through the lens of the course.
Fit the course around your career
The MA is designed to facilitate studying while already working with cultural institutions – wherever possible, you'll be encouraged to focus your learning around your professional work.
Modules for this course have been designed as partnerships with The Photographers' Gallery and the Museum of London.
Upon graduating, you'll have the skills to work in a variety of positions in the cultural sector.
Build industry connections
Throughout the course, you're encouraged and supported to get involved with cultural institutions through internships, work placements and projects.
Experience cultural London
Based in the heart of central London, you'll be ideally placed to explore the city's museums, galleries and cultural institutions and immerse yourself in London's arts scene.
Employers around the world
The University’s Careers and Employability Service has built up a network of over 3,000 employers around the world, helping all our students explore and connect with exciting opportunities and careers.
You'll have the opportunity to gain valuable experience through projects with our partner museums and galleries, where you can work as a volunteer.
We also organise semester-long placements created with museums and galleries to give you the experience you can use in future jobs.
We work closely with major museums and galleries, including the National Maritime Museum, Museum of London, Hayward Gallery and The Photographers Gallery, teaching our classes at these institutions and others with the assistance of their curators.
In the past, we've welcomed international guest speakers from museums and galleries such as Aaron Bryant, Curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC, and artists such as Bahia Shahab, Cairo.
Graduates from this course have found employment at organisations including:
- Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
- Design Museum, London
- Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
- Migration Museum, London
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This course will prepare you for a variety of roles, including:
- Art gallery curator
- Arts and media strategist and adviser
- Collections manager
- Education and interpretation officer
- Funding officer
- Learning and education officer
- Museum curator
- Public events manager
Westminster Employability Award
Employers value graduates who have invested in their personal and professional development – and our Westminster Employability Award gives you the chance to formally document and demonstrate these activities and achievements.
The award is flexible and can be completed in your own time, comprising a set of core and optional extracurricular activities.
Activities might include gaining experience through a part-time job or placement, signing up to a University-run scheme – such as mentoring or teaching in a school – or completing online exercises.
The following modules are indicative of what you'll study in this course.
In addition to taking two core modules, you'll choose four modules from the list of optional modules below.
- Current Issues in Museums and Galleries
- MA Dissertation or MA Project
- Art Institutions and Contemporary Culture
- Collecting Today: Curating, Presenting and Managing Collections
- Curating Contemporary Art
- Education, Learning and Events
- Exhibiting Photography
- Museum Narratives
- Participatory Art and Social Engagement
- Representing World Cultures
- The Inclusive Museum: Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice
- Work Placement in Cultural Institutions
The University of Westminster is a leading provider in this academic discipline and is ranked 1st in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2022 for Research Quality in Art and Design.
Program Tuition Fee
Scholarships and Funding
The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.
English Language Requirements
Certify your English proficiency with the Duolingo English Test! The DET is a convenient, fast, and affordable online English test accepted by over 4,000 universities (like this one) around the world.