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Museum and Heritage Development MA / PGCert; PGDip

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
  • Start Date(s): September 2024
  • Duration: One year full-time / two years part-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


This course embodies the dynamic evolution of the museum and heritage sector, emphasizing creativity, decolonization, and sustainability. You will graduate as an innovative scholar-practitioner with a global perspective, poised for diverse career paths. Beyond traditional skills, you will acquire business, leadership, and digital expertise.

Our uniqueness lies in blending scholarship and creative practice to address global challenges facing cultural institutions. Through transdisciplinary exploration, we engage with international and national entities, fostering critical thinking on issues like decolonization and social justice.

Our distinctive teaching methods include live projects, collaborative learning, and industry engagements, enhancing entrepreneurial and digital skills. The course empowers you to challenge norms and cultivate reflective practice, entrepreneurial prowess, and technological proficiency.

With an inclusive approach, partnerships, and placements with local and international organizations, you will not only be able to adapt to change but lead innovation in the dynamic landscape of museums and heritage.

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.

Introduction to critical issues in museum and heritage development (20 credits)

This module establishes museum and heritage studies as both a creative practice and academic field. It offers you a critical introduction to themes, language, and theoretical concepts, serving as a foundation for diverse academic backgrounds. You will delve into historical and contemporary roles of museums and heritage organizations, addressing core concepts and fostering critical analysis.

Global heritage management (20 credits)

Examine the documentation, categorization, safeguarding, and development of tangible, natural, and intangible heritage on an international scale. You will analyse various frameworks, networks, and concepts, including UNESCO designations and explore alternative approaches to heritage management, acknowledging diverse perspectives beyond Western values.

Creative museum practice (20 credits)

Explore museums as dynamic creative producers, evolving into hubs of ideation and audience engagement. Integrating creative and technological practices, you will delve into themes like emotional communication and audience experiences, and how leveraging digital technology and creativity can enhance community access and engagement, aligning with project funders' and partners' expectations.

Engaging local and global communities (20 credits)

You will critically analyse how museums and heritage sites engage with communities locally and globally, emphasizing social sustainability through audience inclusion, active citizenship, activism, museums and migration, and memory. Explore collaborative models, including the ladder of participation and co-production.

Sustainable heritage, well-being and place (20 credits)

Delve into sustainability and regenerative practices in the heritage sector, analyzing diverse approaches. You will focus on environmental and cultural sustainability, health and well-being, and holistic heritage practices. The aims include exploring sustainable practices, assessing engagement with people and place, and empowering you to address societal challenges, advocate for the sector's significance, and inspire climate action.

The Entrepreneurial Museum (20 credits)

You will consider the economic sustainability and financial dimensions of the museum and heritage sector, by viewing museums as social enterprises,. You  will understand how they innovate to create income streams, and focus on vision and marketing. Gain the skills to identify strategic, sustainable, and viable opportunities for commercial income and public funding.

Transforming your career (20 credits)

Strategically assess and plan your skills and career growth, including beyond museums and heritage. You will consider creative and third-sector careers, supporting your development of professional identity and transferable skills through mentoring, independent learning, and work-like experiences. The module incorporates a 70 hour placement and a Chartered Management Institute "Employability Bootcamp".

Research project (40 credits)

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 an understanding 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 a written dissertation, a creative-practice project or a response to a client brief.

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

Student Profiles

Marnie Shell

Museum and Heritage Development

I was drawn to how practical the course was, with so many opportunities for experience in the field.

Feixue Huangdu

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

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.

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.

Field trips

All students will be expected to pay up to £50 per year towards the costs of optional residential UK or international field trips (subject to availability). There might be multiple trips per year - student contribution is limited to a maximum of £50 across the course.

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. Previously, we have visited Berlin, developing an itinerary together with our students, to enjoy and critique the many cultural organisations it has to offer.


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 the practice undertaken.

Work Placements

Students undertake at least 120 hours of work-like experience, including the Chartered Management Institute's "Employability Bootcamp", and at least 30 hours of work-related learning and a 70 hour placement of their choice in the Transforming Your Career module. Work-related learning could include formal project management training leading to an additional externally accredited qualification in Project Management, volunteering, work insights or short consultancy projects.

During the Creative Museum Practice module you will be working with communities and partner organisations to develop public-facing resources and media content. And during the Engaging local and global communities and The entrepreneurial museum modules you will take part in a consultancy based project. Other placements or work-like experiences may be available in other modules depending on availability.

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.

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.

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.

Staff Profiles

Sophie Fuggle - Associate Professor

School of Arts & Humanities

Dr Fuggle is Senior Lecturer in French at Nottingham Trent University. She is an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow (2018-2020). Her current research specialises in recent and contemporary continental philosophy,

Graham Black - Emeritus Professor of Museum Development


Graham Black

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 Gregson - Senior Lecturer

School of Arts & Humanities

Charlie Gregson is a Senior Lecturer in Museum Studies, specialising in knowledge exchange, community co-production, and employability.

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. Transferable skills also open opportunities in the charity sector and private industry, such as marketing and communications.

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.

Campus and facilities

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 2024:

CourseFull-time Home (UK) tuitionPart-time Home (UK) tuition*

MA Museum and Heritage Development



* 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.

Alumni Discount

We’re happy to be able to offer a 20% alumni discount to most current NTU students and recent NTU alumni. This discount is currently available for those starting an eligible postgraduate taught, postgraduate research or professional course.

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.

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 2024:

CourseFull-time International and EU tuitionPart-time International and EU tuition*
MA Museum and Heritage Development £17,500 £8,750

* 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.


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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