Arts Management and Heritage Studies MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
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
£12,000 (Total)
International fees
£25,250 (Total)

Course overview

Students on public art trail, looking at a sculpture.

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.

In this course you'll 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'll 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.

Additional highlights

You'll 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'll 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'll study a range of compulsory core and optional modules offered by the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and the School of Performance and Cultural Industries.

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 topics such as contemporary art, heritage, and curating science and technology – you will develop your own mini-research project which prepares you for your dissertation.

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.

You will study a core module and have the choice of optional modules run by the School of Performance and Cultural Industries:

In Arts Management and Cultural Leadership, you'll 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.

In Cultural Participation and Participatory Cultures, you'll develop a 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'll evaluate and analyse case studies of practice from within the cultural sector and develop your own participatory action.

You'll also be able to choose from a 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. Through optional modules, you could also have the opportunity to complete placement or consultancy activities in arts management or heritage. Previous students have undertaken work placement 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.

Core Modules

Interpretations (15 credits)
Interpretations will support you to develop critically-engaged, reflexive and practical understandings of interpretive practice in art galleries, museums and heritage. Interpretations is an action learning module. You will work collaboratively with other students to respond to a professional brief. By the end of the 11 Week semester you will have developed, designed and marketed your interpretative intervention.

Critical Issues (15 credits)
In Critical Issues you will be supported to locate interpretive, conservation, curatorial or marketing practices in the context of current conceptual and professional debates. Through a number of tailored strands, you will be supported to explore what is at stake in how professional practices have developed and are carried out. You will also explore how, through critical analysing, researching and adapting these practices, we can inform decision-making in art gallery, museum and heritage practice. The strands will draw on a variety of theoretical traditions and innovative examples of practice in order to explore urgent issues in the field.

Arts Management and Cultural Leadership (30 credits)
This module will contextualise and investigate the key theoretical concepts behind the emerging academic field of Arts Management. Through privileged access to arts and cultural partners and by critically evaluating contemporary issues such as cultural leadership, cultural value, participation and spectatorship, participants will explore the global challenges faced by arts managers and cultural leaders and learn to appreciate the challenges of synthesizing theory and practice.

Choose one from the two available dissertation modules:

Dissertation for the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies (60 credits)
The MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies dissertation will enable students to make an original contribution to knowledge and understanding of an aspect of arts management and/or heritage study. The dissertation workshops and individual supervisions will support the development of independent research and critical and conceptual thinking. Alongside this, there will be an emphasis on assessing the critical, theoretical and reflective skills necessary to independently develop research relevant to the arts management and/or heritage sector. A specific area of research will be developed by the student with the support of their supervisor, drawing from approaches developed throughout the MA programme.

MA Practice-led Dissertation (60 credits)
The MA Practice-led Dissertation will enable students to make an original contribution to knowledge and understanding of an aspect of their field of study. The dissertation workshops and individual supervisions will support the development of independent research and critical and conceptual thinking. Alongside this, there will be an emphasis on assessing the critical and practical skills necessary to independently develop new projects and interventions. A specific area of research will be developed by the student with the support of their supervisor, drawing from practice-led approaches.

Optional modules

Choose two optional modules – these vary year on year but may include:

Jewish Museums and the Display of Cultural Difference (30 credits)
Museums are increasingly conscious of the need to be socially inclusive. Traditional models of privileging high art and 'white western' art have come under sharp criticism. On this module, we will examine how museums have integrated (or failed to do so) the artefacts of the Jewish minorities in Europe and the USA. We will look at the historical reasons for the omission of Jewish culture from many museums, and the particularities of the models adopted for Jewish museums and Jewish exhibits in ethnographic and local history contexts.

Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust (30 credits)
The objectives of this module are to consider the continuing significance of the events known as the Holocaust or Shoah as they enter representation. The module will consider testimony and oral archives of survivors' witness, current moves to create Holocaust museums, artistic projects of memorialisation and counter-memory, autobiographical narratives and films, psychotherapeutic work with the generations of survivors' children. Cinematic attempts to respond to the Holocaust will also be studied. These voices, words and images pose the question of what it is that is struggling into or out of representation and what is means for everyone living in the shadow of this major event in western modernity.

Movies, Migrants and Diasporas (30 credits)
This module is dedicated to migration and diaspora in Europe as reflected in the cinema. It introduces students to the work of filmmakers with, for example, German Turkish, Black or Asian British, Maghrebi French, Roma or Jewish backgrounds, productions made by transnational Eastern European practitioners and films about migration and diaspora created by non-migrant/diasporic writers and directors. The module situates film analysis in the wider field of postcolonial/critical migration studies, diaspora criticism. The guided engagement with a selection of theoretical texts and relevant films enables students to recognise and discuss analytically the relationship between the (popular) representation of migrant and diasporic experiences and the socio-political discourses of ethnicity, 'race', immigration, national identity and cultural diversity.

Intersecting Practices: Questioning the Intersection of Contemporary Art and Heritage (30 credits)
Artist's 'interventions' in museums and heritage spaces are a significant form of interpretive practice in the contemporary visitor 'offer' at many museums and heritage sites. However, the role of artists within heritage interpretation needs critical attention to understand the benefits and challenges implicit within this practice. This module challenges the notion of the 'stable' heritage site, and 'temporary' intervention to enable students to understand the complexity which exists at the intersection of contemporary art and heritage, particularly in relation to interpretive methodologies and visitor experience.

Adventures in the Archive (30 credits)
Adventures in the Archives is an interdisciplinary module that overlaps discourses such as photography & moving image, curatorial studies, historical studies, anthropology, critical studies, architecture, and cultural studies. We invite students from a range of disciplines, to consider ideas around the notions of archive, memory and history; and their relation to contemporary life today.

Art & Money: the modern and contemporary art markets (30 credits)
The module is a chronologically ordered and thematic investigation of some of the key notions in the developments of the modern and contemporary art markets. It will direct critical attention to the role and function of the art market in the period 1850 to present day.

Art of the Silk Roads (30 credits)
The ‘Silk Roads’ were a complex of networks that connected China, Japan, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, East Africa, and the Mediterranean world from antiquity through to the fifteenth century. This module introduces students to some of the key centres and routes along these networks, exploring questions of cultural connectivity, collaboration, and innovation. It will interrogate ideas about and definitions of borders, cultural and religious identity, confrontation, collaboration, and appropriation by considering the role and agency of artworks within a series of interconnected mercantile, religious and social networks. It also explores the ways in which art (and sometimes artistic techniques) were created, exchanged, looted, censored, destroyed, and repurposed through time and across geographies.

Anthropology, Art and Representation (30 credits)
On completion of this module students will have a good grasp of anthropological perspectives on the category art. The course avoids the common view that the anthropology of art is only concerned with tribal or ethnographic art. Rather it uses anthropological and cultural theory to introduce students to a comparative perspective on cultural representation. Students will be introduced to a number of case studies ranging from post-colonial cinema to audience perspectives on African masquerades, via the global marketing of world music.

Placements in Context: Policy, Organizations and Practice (30 credits)
You will undertake a placement or piece of commissioned project work, which may involve collaboration with a cultural sector partner. By the end of the module, you will have critically reflected on your placement or project experience. You will do this through putting it in the wider contexts of policy, funders and funding streams and the mission and structure of the organizational contexts within which you are working. Through horizon scanning and identifying future trends, the module will enable you to understand your placement project and personal career planning within longer term shifts and changes within the cultural sector.

Creative Inquiry, Communication and Learning (30 credits)
Creative Inquiry, Communication and Learning is for postgraduate students seeking to understand the relationship between the creative arts and creative practice, communication and learning. The module will draw on research and pedagogy based on creative inquiry, defined as ‘any social research or human inquiry that adapts the tenets of the creative arts as part of the methodology’ (Leavy 2014: 1). It will be led by teaching staff involved in a range of research projects looking at communication, education and public engagement through creative inquiry. Students will engage in creative inquiry as part of the classes, but no previous experience of creative practice is necessary.

Creative Work (30 credits)
Creative Work provides an opportunity to explore and increase understanding about the labour market in the cultural industries. This is done through a combination of case studies, theoretical discussion and primary research. Through case studies and primary research, this module engages with critical debates about the conditions of labour in the cultural and creative industries, and its social, political and economic dynamics.

Performance and Collaborative Enterprise (30 credits)
The module offers opportunity for students from across MA programmes to share their diverse interests and skills through engagement in a collaborative venture. The intention is to create a series of negotiated interventions, performances and/or projects that either respond to a commission or are initiated and pitched as a response to the particular interests identified by the module participants. The module is intended to be multi-disciplinary, collaborative and informed by an ethos of performance praxis.

Audience, Engagement and Impact (30 credits)
This interdisciplinary module studies how artists and arts organisations can design meaningful and memorable audience experiences and how, in turn, these can be evaluated in terms of strategic and cultural value. Students will critically investigate a range of audience engagement strategies and explore different methods of capturing and evaluating the impact that the arts can have on audiences, whether live or digitally and whether locally or globally.

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 museum, archive and library sessions.

You'll learn from practical experience on projects alongside fellow students and sectoral professionals and a variety of external speakers will give you an insight into contemporary practice in the sector. You'll also utilise digital technologies and resources relevant to the museum and gallery 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.

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.

Applying from China

Due to the large numbers of applications we receive, we’re only able to offer places to applicants who have attended selected Chinese institutions. With regret, any applications we receive from applicants awarded a qualification in China from an institution that isn’t on this list will be rejected.


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

Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines.

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 at University of Leeds. Are there particular approaches to study, modules, research expertise or other factors that attracted you to the programme?

    • How has your academic experience to date prepared you to embark on postgraduate level study in Arts Management and Heritage Studies? Consider any theories, texts and academic assignments that relate conceptually to the work you will develop at Masters level.

    • 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 did you learn, find most surprising, and how did it improve your professional understanding of the sector?

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

Next steps

Qualified applicants may be invited to an interview.

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
School of Performance and Cultural Industries

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Taught Postgraduate Team



UK: £12,000 (Total)

International: £25,250 (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. Find out about awards and scholarships.

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

We have many optional modules which have a work or enterprise component, to allow you to gain first-hand experience of contemporary arts, museum and heritage practice.

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

Student profile: Laura Fungai Ganda

When I was looking for a place to study, I was looking for a city that allowed me to be involved in the arts easily and Leeds offered me that, with lots of volunteering opportunities for students.
Find out more about Laura Fungai Ganda's time at Leeds