Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA

Year of entry

Masters Study and Funding online event

Watch on demand to receive expert advice on how to fund your Masters and invest in your future. Book your place

Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons)
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components
UK fees
£11,250 (total)
International fees
£22,750 (total)

Course overview

postgraduate Art Gallery and Museum Studies students

The Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA aims to provide you with a critical understanding of issues in curatorship, museology and museum management.

This Masters course considers the ways in which material culture has been represented and interpreted by historians and cultural theorists, the methodologies behind museum practice and methods of display and interpretation, and also puts theory and practice into dialogue.

Through the course, you will develop a critical understanding of the histories of art galleries and museums and explore and challenge key ideas that have shaped museum practice. You will also deploy these historical and theoretical understandings to develop innovative approaches to curation, interpretation and engaging audiences.

Supported by the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, you will gain the knowledge and skills for a successful career in the museum and art gallery sector.

You will study in the heart of a cultural hub for this diverse and vibrant region. Leeds is home to a wide variety of world-leading and innovative arts and heritage organisations, from the Royal Armouries, Opera North, Leeds Playhouse and Northern Ballet, to museums, galleries and heritage sites and many contemporary art spaces.

We are also close to everything the rest of Yorkshire has to offer, from The Hepworth Wakefield to the National Science and Media Museum, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Brontë Parsonage Museum. We have close links with many of these cultural institutions to support your practical learning.

You will become a member of the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage and enjoy opportunities from networking events and links to alumni to conferences, seminars and reading groups.

Course tutors include researchers with a background in collections, curatorial, education and engagement work:

Specialist facilities

Housed within a single central campus location, the School offers a modern and well-equipped learning environment with several studio and exhibition spaces.

Project Space is the School’s multi-purpose space designed for the development of curatorial practice and visiting exhibitions.

The Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections - valuable assets for your independent research.

In addition to the wide range of museums and galleries in the city and beyond, the University campus features:

Course details

You will study compulsory and optional modules.

History and the Museum traces the emergence of art galleries, museums and country houses in western Europe and opens up critical questions about how the past is presented in art galleries and museums. You can build on this work and specialise in your own areas of interest, through choosing from an array of optional modules in the School that explore contemporary curatorial strategies, technologies and media, cultural memory and material culture.

In Interpretations, you will work on a digital interpretive intervention based around selected museum, gallery and heritage collections. This experience prepares you for the option of undertaking a work placement project with an external organisation or optional modules exploring audiences, participation or engagement in semester two. Read about exhibitions and activities curated by our students.

In Critical Issues, you are supported to locate interpretive, conservation, curatorial or marketing practices in the context of current academic and professional debates. Through a number of tailored strands – covering contemporary art, heritage, participation and the digital – you will develop your own mini-research project which prepares you for your MA dissertation.

Through our Advanced Research Skills modules, you are equipped to undertake assessments and ultimately develop your own research project.

The optional module Placements in Context: Policy, Organisations and Practice supports you to deliver a collaborative group project responding to a brief set by one of our many gallery, museum and heritage partners. Previous projects have collaborated with organisations such as the National Science and Media Museum, Leeds Museums and Galleries, The Tetley, and Hyde Park Picture House., We work with a range of organisations in Leeds and beyond to develop placement projects that have a direct impact on the work of our partners and give you a crucial insight into employment in the sector.

If you choose to study part-time, you will take fewer modules each year. It is expected that you will be timetabled for around between three to five contact hours per week. See the link below to view module arrangements. The part-time option may be of special interest to those who are working in related fields as part of their career development.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Art Gallery and Museum Studies MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Research Skills 1 5
Advanced Research Skills 2 5
Interpretations 15
Critical Issues 15
History and the Museum: Representation, Narrative and Memory 30
Dissertation 50

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Jewish Museums and the Display of Cultural Difference 30
Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust 30
Intersecting Practices: Questioning the Intersection of Contemporary Art and Heritage 30
Adventures in the Archive 30
Art & Money: the modern and contemporary art markets 30
Anthropology, Art and Representation 30
Placements in Context: Policy, Organizations and Practice 30
Creative Inquiry, Communication and Learning 30
Audience Engagement and Impact 30

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by leading researchers and experienced practitioners in their fields, and you will benefit from a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures and seminars, group learning sessions, as well as gaining insights into specific collections in library sessions.

You will learn from practical experience when you undertake your work placement and a variety of external speakers will give you an insight into contemporary practice in the sector.

Independent study is an important element of the degree, allowing you to develop your research and critical skills. The University Library offers free classes and resources on topics such as academic integrity and plagiarism, public speaking, searching for information and structuring essays.

As part of the course, you will be encouraged to build a portfolio of project work to support future job applications.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Depending on the modules you choose, you may experience a range of different assessment methods. These can include essays, individual and group presentations, digital interpretation projects, portfolio building and project work.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject. Previous academic work should indicate an ability to develop critical thinking around the sector.

Professional experience will also be considered.

Experience of volunteering or working in a relevant field, such as museums, galleries, auction houses and/or heritage organisations, is required. We do not require a specific length of time to have spent in work experience though you must be able to critically reflect on your experience in your personal statement and at interview.

Please contact the School if you would like to check your experience against our entry requirements.


Our admissions team are experienced in considering a wide range of international qualifications. If you wish to discuss whether your qualifications will meet the necessary entry criteria, contact the School’s admissions team.

You can also check the accepted qualifications for your country or region.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

  • Your degree certificate and transcripts, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.

  • A recent CV.

  • Evidence of your English language qualifications if English is not your first subject.

  • A personal statement. Please directly respond to the four questions listed below. To help structure your personal statement, copy and paste the four questions and answer each one in turn.

    • Please explain your reasons for applying to this particular MA course in Art Gallery and Museum Studies.

    • How has your academic experience to date prepared you to embark on postgraduate level study in art gallery and museum studies?

    • Reflect on any practical or conceptual connections you have already made to the museum, gallery and heritage sector, both through your studies and wider experience.

    • What are your specific career aspirations for the future, on completing postgraduate studies – is there an aspect of the museum/gallery/heritage sector that particularly motivates and attracts you?

Next steps

We undertake group interviews for applicants that are both academically and professionally well-qualified for this course, though if it is thought that you would benefit more from ‘one-to-one’ discussion to assess your skills, experience and knowledge in relation to course requirements, you will be invited to an individual interview.

If you are based outside of the UK, your interview will take place via video link such as Skype. The interview is an opportunity for you to ask questions and discuss your interest in the subject.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular Schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

Contact us

Taught Postgraduate Team



UK: £11,250 (total)

International: £22,750 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans, scholarships and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

The School offers a Head of School Excellence Scholarship (International) for international applicants.

Career opportunities

Through a combination of theory and practice, this postgraduate course produces graduates who are able to develop professional careers in the museums and heritage sector whilst retaining a critical and reflexive eye on their own practice and that of the institutions in which they work.

It will equip you with a good understanding of the issues and approaches to art gallery and museum studies, as well as practical work experience – a combination which is very valuable to employers. You will also develop advanced skills in communication, research and analysis as well as cultural awareness.

Our graduates work as heads of collection, curators and education staff in local authority museums, for national heritage organisations like the National Trust, charitable trusts and in arts marketing and public relations.

A significant number choose to return to the School to complete a research degree and have secured scholarships to pursue their research topics, including Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) scholarships. Former research students are now forging academic careers in the UK, Canada and the USA.

The National Heritage Training Group provides further information about careers in museums, heritage and conservation.

Reach your potential

Hear more about the School and Faculty support you can access from our employability lead, Anna Douglas.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

You can sign up for a group placement project to gain first-hand experience of contemporary museum and gallery practice.

We have close links with many of the major cultural institutions and organisations in the region, meaning there are plenty of opportunities and themes across the sector for you to explore.

Alongside placement activities, you will receive guidance on key aspects of professional practice, in sessions which are frequently led by experienced museum staff.

Placement projects vary from year to year, but in the past our students have engaged on placement projects in collaboration with organisations including Leeds City Museum, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds Discovery Centre, Harewood House, the Henry Moore Institute, National Science and Media Museum, York City Art Gallery, National Railway Museum, Nostell Priory, Impressions Gallery, The Tetley, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Lotherton Hall, Abbey House Museum and the Royal Armouries.

Student profile: Rachel Noronha

I have learned how to market to a wider audience and have gained a greater understanding of researching, planning, and producing exhibitions because of working with museums both physically and electronically.
Find out more about Rachel Noronha's time at Leeds