Skip to main content
Through this course you will acquire real-world experience of working in museums and galleries. Our imaginative, interdisciplinary, international approach will advance your knowledge of contemporary developments in this vibrant and sophisticated area of culture, arts and heritage.
You'll develop transferable skills that are essential across this sector, working with museum and gallery professionals to nationally and internationally recognised museum standards. There are plenty of research opportunities in museums and galleries, which will allow you to develop your own interests and gain valuable research and practice-based skills. You'll also have the option to manage and curate an exhibition and produce research towards a dissertation or work-based creative projects.
|Full time||1 year||2 days a week||September 2021|
|Full time||2 years including professional placement||2 days a week, plus placement year||September 2021|
|Part time||2 years||1 day a week||September 2021|
|Location||Kingston School of Art, Knights Park|
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
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.
You'll take five core modules, working on live projects with our partners. Four of the modules are worth 30 academic credits each and the major project is worth 60. The course totals 180 credits.
Students can choose to complete a professional placement by opting to study for an additional year. This is not a compulsory part of the course which can be completed either with the placement year or as a single year.
You will study a series of 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.
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.
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.
The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject-specific professional skills in your chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for your subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform your decisions about future careers.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
Applicants should have a good BA (Hons) degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area, which may include:
We also welcome students with relevant professional practice experience should they not hold a higher education qualification.
For those students without professional experience in museums and galleries, voluntary museum work is not a requirement for acceptance on the course.
We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.
Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each element. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
You will be taught and assessed through essays, project work, portfolio, and a dissertation (12,000–15,000 words) or creative project (5,000 words and a piece of critically-informed creative practice).
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
The course can be studied full-time or part-time. For full-time students, two days a week are spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
13% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprise of a written dissertation and practical work with presentations/exhibitions, blogs, portfolios and critical reflective statements. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
Class sizes are generally small because we work on live projects with museums and galleries in a team. That means we get to know all our students well. The course normally enrols a hand-picked group of 15 to 20 students. Lecture sizes are small (approximately 15 students) with lots of opportunities for talking to lecturers and curators.
This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art, a highly creative and energetic environment that directly informs the programme and its teaching.
Key staff are responsible for leading individual course components. Their teaching is supplemented by a wide range of practitioners from our collaborating institutions, including curatorial, public engagement, learning, marketing, design, exhibitions, digital, research, management and archives.
Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.
I was not able to go to university when I was younger but always wanted to, so I was really pleased to be accepted as a mature student. I undertook the MA in Museum and Gallery studies during 2017/18 and had wonderful support. I found the lectures and tutorials really inspirational and would always come out buzzing with thoughts and ideas. When I set about writing my dissertation I had help and solid, knowledgeable support.
I particularly appreciated how practical and useful the course was; every day I use the knowledge gained during my studies. This has been integral to the displays and ideas I have put forward for the London Bus Museum. When I read the Museum Association magazine, I am reminded how relevant the course is to the present day, whether it be an article on colonialism, or corporate funding/sponsorship. I also cannot praise the Esteve-Coll Centre (and its staff) highly enough; it seemed to have every book, periodical and download I needed for the course and for my dissertation. It's a wonderful and precious asset.
I chose the Museum and Gallery Studies MA at Kingston University as I was looking for a course that would provide both a theoretical and practical understanding of the museum as cultural institution. I also wanted a course that approached the subject in a more imaginative, creative and experimental way than it is taught elsewhere.
I enjoyed the freedom of being able to follow my research interests and to develop them further in my final dissertation. The course also gave me the opportunity to gain new skills by working with creative practices not commonly associated with this field of study, such as film, scenegraphy, and creative forms of writing.
Studying at Kingston was a very versatile and stimulating experience. I studied the changing role of the visitor, the notion of institutional critique, and installation art. I attended field trips to museums and heritage sites in and around London, and developed ideas in response to a real-world exhibition brief. The course positively influenced my decision to pursue PhD research in museum studies.
Undoubtedly the most exciting feature of the Museum and Gallery Studies MA at Kingston was the element of collaboration between the University and some of London's most famous and respected museums. This allowed students to tackle realistic, real-world challenges within the safe confines of the course's academic projects.
The course provided a valuable introduction to the myriad practicalities of managing museums in our modern world; to the continually shifting debate surrounding collections and their interpretation; and to a broad spectrum of the academic theory in which they are situated.
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses.
In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.
Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
Knights Park campus is situated on the Hogsmill River, with a restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside. The relatively small campus has a friendly, creative feel and includes a reception area with a gallery, art shop and the light and airy open-plan library.
The workshops and studios are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize-winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.
At the heart of the building are state-of-the-art workshop facilities, which include:
All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.
The University has its own on-site galleries, including:
Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access world-famous museums and galleries.
We have an extensive network of alumni who have successfully completed this course. Graduates have progressed to roles at prestigious organisations in the UK and around the world, including: Tate Gallery, Natural History Museum, V&A, National Gallery, Ministry of Stories, British Council, Imperial War Museum, National Trust, Strawberry Hill House, Ben Uri Gallery, Museum of Brands, Madame Tussaud's, Brooklands Museum, National Maritime Museum, Museo Andino de Historia, Arte y Cultura Viva Peru, William Morris Gallery, Baldwin Gallery, National Museum Prague, Kingston Museum, London Postal Museum, Churchill War Rooms, English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces, London Bus Museum, Sir John Soane Museum, Wallace Collection, Museum of London and The Barbican.
Students have also progressed onto PhD studies at University College London, Sheffield Hallam University and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Several of the modules on this course are developed and assessed in partnership with museums, galleries and other practitioners. This will include visiting lecturers who are leading practitioners in their field.
Previous partner institutions for this course have included Brooklands Museum, English Heritage, the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, the Salisbury Museum, the Museum of Futures, the Museum of London, the National Maritime Museum, Turner's House and the V&A.
All staff and student researchers in the faculty are part of a research centre. They engage both with collaborative and individual projects and with local, national and international research events, including workshops, seminars, visiting lecture series, conferences and symposia.
Museum and gallery study is located within the interdisciplinary Visual and Material Culture Research Centre. The centre enables academics, emerging scholars, and students to conduct research in a stimulating and collegiate environment that actively seeks to shape the future of visual and material culture as field of inquiry. The centre is committed to the continuing development of a wide range of interdisciplinary research methods and activities. It provides an intellectual infrastructure through which researchers engage with both individual and collaborative projects.
Staff and students untangle the knotty historiographical and methodological questions of the past, present, and future of the history of art, architecture, and design. Interests and expertise include: History and Genre Painting; patronage, dealers, and the art market; English and European avant-gardes; the history of the art school; inter- and cross-disciplinarity; archives; and the practice of 'research' itself in the Arts and Humanities.
Researchers are committed to interrogating the historical and theoretical comprehension of local, national, and international identity, of located-ness and dis-location in our contemporary global visual and material cultural context. Interests and expertise include: Museum and Gallery Studies; public sculpture; art beyond the gallery; transcultural practices; Arab women artists; Japanese popular culture; contemporary Chinese art; Orientalism and the Middle East; and the global art market.
Staff and students engage with thorny discourses of gender, technology, and the human image in our volatile, mediated, and often traumatising visual, material, and immaterial cultures. Interests and expertise include: beauty; fashioning the body; performance art; feminism; masculinity and conflict; heterosexuality; mass media; new media; photography; film; informational networks; technological reproducibility; and our bio-cultural futures.
Art has a long and celebrated history in struggles for social change. Drawing on and working across thematic and critical areas, this research group brings together researchers and artists to engage with the historical and theoretical connections between artists and social movements, the cultural production of social movements, and the many important but often overlooked practices which occupy a liminal space between these disciplinary positions.
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.