Arts Management and Heritage Studies MA

Year of entry

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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 any component
UK fees
£11,250 (total)
International fees
£22,750 (total)

Course overview

two students talking in the library

The Arts Management and Heritage Studies MA aims to develop your understanding of the changing political, policy and practice contexts within which the arts and heritage sectors operate today.

Compulsory modules explore the nature of heritage and how meanings of objects, artworks and buildings change in different contexts. You will examine the challenges faced by arts managers and cultural leaders, and the changes that have led some museums to move towards the role of the ‘manager’ rather than the ‘curator’.

You will choose from optional modules to tailor your Masters degree to your interests or career plans – including the opportunity to undertake a work placement or consultancy project role in either arts management or heritage. Previous students have undertaken placements focused on collections, digitisation work, digital interpretation and community engagement.

Supported by our Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage, you will benefit from our partnerships with major arts and cultural organisations to find out what it means to work in this challenging 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 through to museums, galleries and heritage sites and many contemporary art spaces.

We are 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.

This course is developed in close collaboration with the School of Performance and Cultural Industries and allows you to undertake compulsory and optional modules in both Schools. 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 arts management, theatre, arts galleries, museums and heritage, including collections, curatorial, education and engagement work:

Course details

You will study compulsory core and optional modules.

In Interpretations, you will work on a digital interpretive intervention. This experience prepares you for the option of undertaking a negotiated work placement 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, and curating science and technology – you will develop your own mini-research project which prepares you for your dissertation.

You will choose between two core modules run by the School of Performance and Cultural Industries:

In Arts Management and Cultural Leadership, in which you will examine theoretical concepts in the emerging field of arts management and the challenges faced by arts managers and cultural leaders. Dialogue with our arts and cultural partners will give an insight into the exciting possibilities opened up by bringing theory and practice together. You can build on this work and specialise in your own areas of interest, through optional modules that explore a variety of key issues, such as audience engagement and impact, cultural entrepreneurship, and contemporary cultural strategies, technologies and media.

Cultural Participation and Participatory Cultures in which you will develop deeper understanding of the participation agenda which is of growing international importance. You will better understand the role of cultural participation in society, as well as develop approaches to using techniques from cultural participation to bring about social change. You will evaluate and analyse case studies of practice from within the cultural sector and develop your own participatory action.

Through our Advanced Research Skills modules, you are equipped to undertake assessments and ultimately develop your own research project. The modules build to a symposium in semester two where you can present initial research findings towards a dissertation on a research topic of interest.

You will choose from range of optional modules offered by the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and the School of Performance and Cultural Industries. These include the opportunity to complete placement or consultancy activities in either arts management or heritage. Previous students have undertaken work placements projects focused on collections, digitisation work, digital interpretation and community engagement.

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 Arts Management and Heritage Studies MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Arts Management and Heritage 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

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

Module Name Credits
Africa Displaying / Displaying Africa 30
Arts Management and Heritage Studies Dissertation 50
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
Art & Money: the modern and contemporary art markets 30
Art of the Silk Roads 30
Procuring Representation: Contemporary Art, East Asia, Gender 30
Anthropology, Art and Representation 30
Individual Directed Study 30
Placements in Context: Policy, Organizations and Practice 30
Creative Inquiry, Communication and Learning 30
Creative Work 30
Performance and Collaborative Enterprise 30
Audience, Engagement and Impact 30

Learning and teaching

You will be taught by researchers and experienced practitioners in their fields, and you will benefit from a range of teaching and learning methods. These include weekly seminars, group learning sessions, tutorials and lectures. You will also benefit from the expertise of visiting speakers, visits to cultural institutions and practical experience. We encourage you to build up a portfolio of project work to help with future job applications. Independent study is also vital and allows you to develop your individual skills and prepare for taught sessions.

The University Library offers free classes and resources on topics such as academic integrity and plagiarism, public speaking, searching for information and structuring essays.

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 usually include essays, individual and group presentations, digital interpretation projects, portfolio building, in-course assessment and project work. You may also be asked to complete a reflective log for your projects, allowing you to look back and critically assess your own practice.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons). 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, contemporary art, cultural policy, and/or heritage organisations, is required. We do not require a specific length of time to have been spent in work experience, however you must have engaged meaningfully with the sector and 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 any component. 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 Arts Management and Heritage Studies.

    • How has your academic experience to date prepared you to embark on postgraduate level study in Arts Management and Heritage Studies?

    • Reflect on any practical or conceptual connections you have already made to the arts, 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 Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
School of Performance and Cultural Industries

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

This postgraduate degree is designed to equip you to fill a gap in the current market and become a cultural leader of the future. We encourage you to build up a portfolio of project work to help with future job applications, and you have opportunities to gain practical work experience.

As well as the in-depth subject knowledge you will gain, you will improve your skills in research, analysis, communication and critical and cultural awareness. You will also benefit from the contacts gained through work with partner organisations and the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage.

Graduates from our School have gone onto work as heads of collections, curators and educators in a range of organisations such as local authority museums, national heritage organisations like the National Trust and charitable trusts. They have also found success in arts marketing and public relations.

Others have also continued with their research at PhD level, many of whom work in academia in the UK as well as the US, Hong Kong and Korea.

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 have number of optional modules with a work or enterprise component to gain first-hand experience of contemporary arts, museum and heritage practice.

One of these modules is Placements in Context: Policy, Organisations and Practice. Placements in Context 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.

The School has close links with a number of important institutions both in the city and the region.

Previous students have worked on projects at a wide variety of museums and heritage organisations including Leeds Museum, Leeds Art Gallery, Harewood House, the Henry Moore Institute, the National Science and Media Museum, the Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Grand, Lotherton Hall, Abbey House Museum and the Royal Armouries.

Some students have worked on projects at the University’s own museums and archives, including the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and the Marks and Spencer Archive.

Student profile: Richard Hill

The hub that is the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies building is a modern, friendly environment to support you through your journey.
Find out more about Richard Hill's time at Leeds