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Museum and Gallery Studies MA

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week, plus placement year September 2020
Part time 2 years 1 day a week September 2020

Choose Kingston's Museum and Gallery Studies MA

Through this course you will acquire real-world experience of working in museums and galleries. Our imaginative, interdisciplinary, international approach advances your knowledge of contemporary developments in this vibrant and sophisticated area of culture, arts and heritage. Employment destinations of our previous students have included National History Museum, V&A, Museum of London, Tate, National Gallery and numerous other museums and galleries in the UK and around the world.

Key features

  • We provide you with transferable skills that are essential across this sector, working with museum and gallery professionals to nationally and internationally recognised museum standards.
  • Research opportunities inside museums and galleries allow you to develop your own interests and gain valuable research and practice-based skills.
  • Students have the option to manage and curate an exhibition and produce research towards a dissertation or work-based creative projects.

What will you study?

The course examines contemporary issues and practices, including those relating to collections management, interpretation, audiences and exhibition. You will study taught modules covering critical analysis and creative practice, and conduct research around the broad themes and subjects addressed by each module. As well as working with our own in-house museums - Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum - we work with four external institutions each year to develop real-world museum projects. Our partners include the Museum of London, National Maritime Museum, V&A, English Heritage, Turner's House Trust, Brooklands Museum, Salisbury Museum, Kingston Museum and Heritage Service, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art and Freud Museum, London.


Essays, project work, portfolio, and dissertation (12,000-15,000 words) or Creative Project (5,000 words and a piece of critically-informed creative practice).

Work placement scheme

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's tier 4 visa.

Invoicing on the placement courses is split into two stages. The standard course fee is payable in year 1 with the placement fee invoiced in year 2. Therefore, students starting in September 2018 would therefore be charged the placement fee of £1,230 in September 2019. Students commencing the course in September 2019 will be invoiced the placement fee in 2020 (provisionally £1,350).

This amount will only be charged to your account after you find a placement and are enrolled on the module. You will not be charged this fee if you do not manage to secure a work placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

About this course

You will study a series of dedicated taught modules that are concerned with issues of critical theory and analysis, research methodologies and creative practice. You will be expected to conduct research around the broad themes and subjects addressed by each module. This research will allow you to tailor your own path of study according to your particular interests and future aspirations.

Module collaborations

Modules are developed in collaboration with four external museum partners each year. Our previous and existing partners include:

V&A Museum V&A Museum

National Maritime Museum National Maritime Museum

The Salisbury Museum  The Salisbury Museum

Brooklands Museum  Brooklands Museum

Museum of London  Museum of London

Kingston Museum and Heritage Service Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

Estorick Collection of modern Italian art  Estorick collection of modern Italian art

Freud Museum London  Freud Museum London

Find out more about the modules on this course.

What is the focus of this course?

Creative practice

The Museum and Gallery Studies MA is a critical and creative practice-based postgraduate programme of academic study. It is ambitious in its aim to:

  • re-imagine the relationships between academy and profession; and
  • explore the implications and applications of this approach to accepted ideas of academic museum studies and museum practice.

Ideas of, and approaches to, practice are therefore central to the course, as are opportunities for engaging directly in experimental and creative practice-based research in both institutional and more-than-institutional contexts.

Located within the Kingston School of Art, the MA programme of study engages across artistic, urban planning, architectural and design practices as offering alternative creative approaches to museum study and practice. Our genuinely interdisciplinary approach to creative practice is one of the unique features of our curriculum.

A place-based approach

The programme develops through a strongly place-based approach to the contemporary museum. The broad aim is to:

  • offer a more sustainable, place-sensitive approach to our understandings of museums, museum practices and their academic study; and
  • further open the museum up to the world in an ethical engagement towards more-than-institutional futures.

Our place-based approach also draws on our location in London as a world city and museum metropolis. Place, locality, ecology and community are essential to museums and museum practices wherever they may be found and from whichever country our students might come from. The course aspires to be international in its scope and vision whilst always grounded in a sympathetic and progressive sense of place.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.


  • As sites of continuous research and communication, museums and galleries are never complete. They are always found in the process of being made and re-made; ideas and things in the process of arrangement. This module establishes a progressive interdisciplinary framework for critically and creatively exploring museums and galleries as ideas and institutions based on creative, practice-based approaches to their making.

  • Experience is central to the performance of public museums, galleries and heritage sites, and to our understanding of them as complex learning environments. This module provides a stimulating and engaging context within which to explore learning and experience as a series of critical and creative practices. Museums, galleries and heritage sites are conceived and operated by a range of governmental and non-governmental agencies, organisations and institutions, by individuals and communities, often by a visiting and participating public, and in an enormously diverse range of social and spatial contexts. In this module, students explore and apply different approaches to learning by constructing an experience for visitors within and through a specific institution or site.

  • A predominantly rational, ordered approach to exhibition has been central to the conception of museums and galleries. This module introduces new ways to analyse and engage with the idea of display through an emphasis on exhibition as a more open and less didactic space of encounter and association, focussed on an ongoing re-imagining of display and exhibition through invention and experimentation. Extending our understandings of display, this module also explores creative approaches to the performance of heritage by engaging with experimental practices and forms of interpretation, expression and communication.

  • Museums, galleries and heritage are more than physical, immobile landmarks in the landscape; they are ongoing, place-based processes crafted from diverse and often dissonant human and non-human materials, sites, identities and narratives. Because of this they are constantly open to change. They change due to debates from within the field and a variety of drivers and pressures from outside. In many ways change, and meeting the challenge of change, lies at the very heart of ongoing questions of sustainability, relevance and innovation in the field. This module explores museum and heritage futures, locating development within a more progressive, expanded sense of policy and place. Social, economic, and legislative concerns pertinent to the field are some of the key themes developed here.

  • The Major Project is the capstone module of the Masters programme. Focusing on skills of critical research, analysis and presentation, the capstone project enables you to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. It provides them with the opportunity to craft their own approach to the field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research, supported by a series of taught sessions, enabling a depth and breadth of engagement with research methods. The Major Project can accommodate research projects developed through a range of academic and professional contexts depending on the motivation and interests of the student. It can be presented either as a dissertation or as a creative project, such as a portfolio comprising a chosen medium or media, accompanied by a critical commentary. The intensity of the workload increases across the three teaching blocks, allowing increasing focus in line with the level of your expertise.


Professional placement year

  • The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Master's programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific professional skills in their chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for their subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform their decisions about future careers.


Keep in touch with news, events, awards and generally what's going on with the Museum and Gallery Studies MA at Kingston University.

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

Regulations governing this course are available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps
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