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This course offers experience working alongside professionals in museums and galleries in the context of a scholarly, critically-informed programme of study. Students explore contemporary issues and practices, including those relating to collections, exhibitions and audiences today. All students have the chance to compete for our annual awards in Community Engagement and Outstanding Creative Practice.
Research projects in museums and galleries enable you to develop and pursue your own interests and gain valuable skills in critical analysis and creative practice.
|Full time||1 year||2 days a week||September 2023|
|Full time||2 years including professional placement||2 days a week, plus placement year||September 2023|
|Part time||2 years||1 day a week||September 2023|
|Location||Kingston School of Art, Knights Park|
On this course you'll re-imagine the relationships between academy and profession, exploring the implications and applications of this approach to accepted ideas of academic museum studies and museum practice.
This degree 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.
We aim to offer a more sustainable place-based 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.
As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.
Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines, enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.
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 critical research, analysis, and presentation, the capstone project enables students to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. The module provides students with an extensive programme of training and resources which are designed to aid them in the development, planning, research, and writing of their projects. It brings together students from several MA programmes in the School of Critical Studies and Creative Industries and embeds a range of interdisciplinary and practice-led approaches to their respective fields of study. It provides students with the opportunity to craft their own approach to their field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research. 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 written 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 Student Route visa.
Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.
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.
Applicants should have a 2:2 or above honours 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.
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 no element below 5.5. 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 recognised majority English-speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
You will find more information on country-specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.
Find your country:
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 learning and teaching activity.
13% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprises 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, scenography, 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.
If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.
If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.
If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.
If you are a UK student, resident in England and are aged under the age of 60, you will be able to apply for a loan to study for a postgraduate degree. For more information, read the postgraduate loan information on the government's website.
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:
International students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to pay a deposit in order to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from Kingston University. This applies to all full-time postgraduate taught masters courses.
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that 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, access to shared 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 buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.
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 which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.
In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.
Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.
You will have access to a range of facilities and resources, however you will need to purchase your own chosen art materials and tool kit at an estimated cost of £50-£100.
The materials and equipment, some of which you may already own, include drawing materials, pens, pencils, dip pen, scalpel, stanley knife, scissors, bone folder, A3 cutting mat, cutting compass, protractor, steel rule, type depth scale, sketch/note books, paper pads, tapes, glue, range of inks, paint brushes, etc.
You will need access to a smartphone and/or device capable of recording film and taking digital photographs. You will also be required to purchase your own digital back up storage such as USB sticks and a portable hard drive (approximately £50).
There will be opportunities for day trips to museums and galleries with an approximate cost of £50 per trip.
There may also be optional study visits and field trips. For example, a 5-7 day European field trip will cost approximately between £300-£350.
There will be costs for participating at external shows and exhibitions (approximately £60-£150). Entrance fees for museums and exhibitions are estimated at £50. You could also incur travel costs which will vary according to the location.
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:
From Kingston, it's just a 30-minute train journey to 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. These include: 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.
Find out more about research in Kingston School of Art.
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.
The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.
Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.
Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.