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Museum and Heritage Development MA / PGCert; PGDip

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: One year full-time / two years part-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

  • 100% of NTU’s research in History was assessed to be world-leading or excellent in terms of its impact - REF 2021.
  • Highly collaborative, this course is delivered with museum and heritage organisations and professionals.
  • You'll develop a rich portfolio of professional practice and experience during this course.
  • Study in a city steeped in history, with museums and heritage sites on your doorstep.

Museum and Heritage Development is an innovative professional practice-based course exploring new approaches to the successful and sustainable development of museums and heritage sites and the development of the workforce.

The course combines professional and academic practice and the need to learn core skills with the opportunity to experiment with new creative practices; from collections management to filmmaking, from institutional planning and audience development to exhibitions and curating live public events. By developing a rich portfolio of professional practice and experience during the course, we help students to develop the confidence and courage to see themselves as the future of the field, to begin to establish themselves within the sector, and to prepare them for the workplace.

If you have any questions about our Museum and Heritage Development course, you can now chat to our experienced lecturers and course leaders through Unibuddy.

The course equips students to join the workforce, be brave and take risks, and is grounded in the realities of working in the sector. This is very encouraging. The sector is much more competitive than it was and the course prepares students well for this. The best students recognised the realities of the sector as well as demonstrating creativity and fearlessness in their work.

Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums Trust and founder of The Happy Museum Project

What you’ll study

Special features

The course responds to how museum and heritage practice is changing and the demands and expectations this places on the workforce and its development. We are helping students to develop key personal qualities required of the museums and heritage workforce of today and tomorrow, combining core skills training with imaginative creative practice and risk-taking, all within a supportive environment. The course is therefore highly collaborative and delivered with museum and heritage organisations and professionals.

Modules

The taught course is comprised of six core modules that each build towards a major independent Research Project completed at the end of your studies on an academic subject and/or area of professional practice of your choosing, depending on your career aspirations.

  • Purpose, Planning and Development
  • This module explores the purpose of contemporary museums and related heritage organisations and the increasingly diverse and progressive roles they seek to perform. The module leads students both intellectually and practically through an innovative approach to museum planning and development whilst reflecting the diversity of museums and heritage as a cultural resource in the 21st century and the complexity of the sector in the UK and internationally.

  • Materiality and Memory
  • The material world lies at the heart of museum collections and cultural heritage. In the 21st century the primacy of tangible heritage is being supplemented by other ways of knowing and remembering and that recognise and embrace different philosophies and frameworks as the hybridisation of practice accelerates. This module explores this expanded field of materiality, memory and experience through an international and interdisciplinary engagement with official and unofficial heritage, tangible and intangible heritage, objects and collections, place, architecture and landscape, and digital heritage.

  • Interpretation 1: Fieldwork
  • Museums and related heritage organisations are centres of research; they are field-based cultural institutions that ask questions of material and immaterial worlds and create interpretations of them for, and increasingly with, diverse communities. This module explores interpretation as the defining outcome of museum and heritage development within an innovative interdisciplinary and multifunctional framework that is international in scope. The module encourages and supports students to engage confidently with different forms of creative practice.

  • Interpretation 2: Contemporary Narratives
  • As part of a wider effort to remain relevant cultural institutions, the museums and heritage sector is developing more active and activist roles in contemporary life. This module explores the possibility of museums and heritage organisations as agents of civil engagement. It does this by focusing on interpretation as their defining, and ever diversifying, research outcome that makes things happen and makes a difference for society and its development. It specifically looks at digital means to tell new stories and engage a broader audience. The module further develops the creative practice skills and competencies established during Interpretation 1: Fieldwork.

  • Working in Museums and Heritage
  • Central to this module is a four-week (or equivalent 20-day commitment) Work Placement, where students are placed by the course team at a range of museum and heritage organisations. The module also provides a practical introduction to core skills and competencies in audience development and collections management. Many students successfully extend their placement beyond the formal four-week commitment, often forming the subject of their final Research Projects.

  • Museum and Heritage Futures
  • This module explores the future of museums and heritage and their successful and sustainable development. Possible futures are examined through scenarios, case studies and the development of leading museums and related heritage and cultural organisations internationally. Scenarios consider political, social, technological and cultural trends both within the UK and globally. The module aims to provide a critical and creative platform from which students are able to imagine possible museum and heritage futures that may challenge convention and accepted ways of thinking and doing.

  • Research Project
  • The Research Project is the culmination of the MA and provides students with the opportunity to craft an in-depth project in an area of particular interest to them. The Research Project accommodates projects developed through a range of academic, professional, and geographical contexts depending on the motivation, interests and future ambitions of the student. Taught elements of the module introduce students to understandings of research practice relevant to the field and the potential of the Research Project to be used for academic and/or professional development goals.  Students can produce either an extended piece of writing or a shorter piece of written work supporting an example of professional practice, e.g. publication, film, exhibition, digital content, report etc.

  • International Field Visit (Not-for-Credit)
  • Reflecting the international perspectives the programme takes to the field of museums and heritage, each year in the Spring after the placement, we organise a week-long not-for-credit field trip to a European city (subject to future Covid restrictions)

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Laura Simpson

Museum and Heritage Development

The depth of experience you get on field trips and live projects will equip you with the skills you need to go into the workplace.

Alice Turnbull

Museum and Heritage Development

I knew that this course would give me the skills and opportunities to do something different and something that wasn’t traditional within the heritage sector

Eva Sanchez

Museum and Heritage Development

"This broad and wide-ranging MA has helped me improve my skills and knowledge within a vast area, I’ve got to engage with the museum sector within many different contexts and environments and met some wonderful people along the way!”

Feixue Huangdu

Museum and Heritage Development

I’ve not only gained a great deal of academic knowledge about museums and heritage, but I was also able to engage in curating two live exhibitions with the National Justice Museum in Nottingham and the Canalside Heritage Centre in Beeston.

Tamsin Greaves

Museum and Heritage Development

The combination of interactive teaching and placements at Southwell Minster and the Bonington Gallery greatly improved my knowledge and confidence and helped me realise I did have transferable skills.

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How you’re taught

Industry Collaboration

The course is designed and delivered through a range of collaborations and partnerships with diverse museums and heritage organisations, elements of which ensure students are delivering real work within real-world professional contexts, including opportunities for public engagement.

In recent years we have worked with a number of organisations that reflect something of the diversity of the sector and its workforce: Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, National Justice Museum, Nottingham Castle Trust, Canal & River Trust, , Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Canalside Heritage Centre, Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Belton House (National Trust), Green’s Windmill and Science Centre, , William Booth Birthplace Museum, British Horological Society (Museum of Time), Barker Langham, and Museum Development East Midlands.

Active Learning and Professional Development

Our approach to learning and professional development throughout the course is active and hands-on. Students engage with real-world issues and approaches, producing assessed work that includes professional, academic and creative practices. Classroom-based sessions combine debate with workshop activity to put ideas into action, and further workshops support the development and delivery of assessed work.

Field Visits

Classroom-based sessions and visits to collaborating institutions are supplemented by visits to sites directly related to a specific module so we get the most out of the places we visit in support of students, their work and professional development. In addition to these more local/regional visits, we also organise an annual trip to London, one of the world’s major museum cities.

International Field Visit (Optional)

Reflecting the international perspectives the programme takes to the field of museums and heritage, each year in the Spring after the placement, we organise a week-long not-for-credit field trip to a European city (where Covid restrictions permit this). Previously, we have visited Berlin, developing an itinerary together with our students, to enjoy and critique the many cultural organisations it has to offer.

Assessment

Students are assessed through a range of projects appropriate to individual modules. The diversity of our approach to assessment is reflective of the increasing diversity of professional practice within the museums and heritage sector, and is undertaken within the spirit of creativity, risk-taking and core skills development. Student work ranges from reports and many other forms of publication, to creative writing, photography, film, exhibitions and live events. Academic essays provide an intellectual context for practice undertaken.

Research Opportunities

Every student taking the MA delivers a major Research Project at the end of their studies. The whole course and Research Project can act as a foundation for doctoral level research for those interested in developing their careers in a more academic direction. Our students are successfully pursuing PhDs after the MA.

Work Placements

Students undertake a 100 hour placement in Term 3 and/or over the summer, the format of which is negotiated between the student and the organisation in order to best suit both. Students are supported through in-depth self-reflective work in the Working in Museums and Heritage module to analyse the current arts job market, identify their skills gaps and secure a placement that develops their aspirations and skills. There is an emphasis on professionalism, flexibility and development, so students’ placements can be designed to fit around existing job roles and commitments.

Past roles have been as diverse as the students and host organisations themselves: students have engaged audiences with historic objects, catalogued archival material, designed exhibitions, identified inequalities in collecting to create more diverse collecting policies, researched audience needs, created interpretation and delivered heritage marketing campaigns. Host organisations have included, but are not limited to, independent museums, Local Authority cultural services, historic churches, art galleries, archives, community projects and global heritage consultancy. See the table below for a selection of host organisations.

Recent placement and voluntary work activities included

Projects and job titlesCompanies
Visitor services and events assistance National Trust: Tyntesfield, Hardwick Hall, Sudbury Hall, Kedleston Hall, Southwell Workhouse, Mr Straw's House, Belton House, Alnwick Castle
Visitor consultation and questionnaires British Museum, Interpretation Department; Wollaton Hall; University of Cambridge Museums
Site evaluations and reports Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service (VAQAS)
Collections relocation, documentation The Collection, Lincoln
Decorative art collections research Nottingham Castle Museum
Visitor surveys Nottingham City Museums
Schools loans service research and collections management Access Artefacts, Nottingham City Museums
Collections, exhibitions and educational activity assistance Museum of English Rural life, University of Reading; Bedford Museum
Exhibitions development Snibston Discovery Park, National Justice Museum
Interpretation, collections management DH Lawrence Heritage
Heritage site interpretation leaflets Bunny Wood Woodland Trust; Peak National Park
Project administration assistance HLF East Midlands
Collections research Leicester Jewry Wall Museum
Archives research National Justice Museum; Bromley Library

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn another new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Learning a new language can enhance your communication skills, enrich your experience when travelling abroad and boost your career prospects. Find out more about the University Language Programme.

Staff Profiles

Duncan Grewcock

Principal Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Duncan Grewcock

Stuart Burch

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Stuart Burch is the course leader for the MA Museum and Heritage Development and also teaches on postgraduate courses in Broadcast Journalism as well as Media and Globalisation.

Katharina Massing

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Dr Massing is the module leader for the MA Museum and Heritage Development Research Project, Materiality and Memory and Museum and Heritage Futures.

Charlie Pratley

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Charlie Pratley is the module lead for Purpose, Planning and Development and Working in Heritage and Museums for the Museum & Heritage Development Masters course. She teaches at NTU and…

Rebekah Pickering Wood

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Dr Pickering Wood joined the School of Arts and Humanities at NTU in 2019 and contributes to scholarly activity, module leadership and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level on BA…

Careers and employability

The course, your placements and live projects will give you experience and skills that are highly valued by museums and the wider heritage industry employers. As well as museum curators, educators, and visitor service managers in museums and the heritage field, this course also provides the opportunity to work with and join a heritage consultancy company.

Recent graduates (of our previous course, MA Museum and Heritage Management) have gone on to work for a wide range of museums and authorities including:

  • The National Trust;
  • English Heritage;
  • Museums, Libraries and Archives Council;
  • Museum database software suppliers;
  • Heritage Lottery Fund; and
  • local authorities and independent museums.

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a UK honours (minimum 2.2) degree or equivalent, in any subject area
  • Alternatively, recent practical experience with a professionally run museum or heritage organisation may be considered for applicants without the standard entry qualifications above.

Applications from candidates with non-standard entry qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

Recognition of Prior Learning

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

You will need the equivalent to:

  • a UK honours (minimum 2.2) degree, in any subject area
  • Alternatively, recent practical experience with a professionally run museum or heritage organisation may be considered for applicants without the standard entry qualifications above.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Postgraduate preparation courses (Pre-Masters)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Pre-Masters courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for September 2023 will be confirmed in late 2022

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. Please take a look

at our postgraduates’ guide funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

* Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Fees may be subject to change.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Tuition fees for September 2023 will be confirmed in late 2022

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your postgraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government.

Scholarships

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

How to apply

Ready to join us?

Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow our step-by-step guide. You can apply for this course throughout the year. Most of our postgraduate and professional courses are popular and fill up quickly though, so apply as soon as you can.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Apply online through our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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