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Course Description

The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field in close proximity to world-distinguished museums and galleries. If you are contemplating a career in the museum and gallery sector and want to understand contemporary debates about museums and their cultural significance, then this is the course for you. Museums have been of enormous importance in shaping empires, nations and cities, and their collections are connected to wider histories of conflict and social change. To study museums is to study the development and fierce contestation of our collective cultural imagination and memory. 

Our MA gives you the chance to develop a range of key skills, from critical thinking and writing to practical experience through a supervised work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Previous work placements have been offered at the Tate, British Museum, Whitechapel Gallery and Horniman Museum. Past students have helped design and run schools programmes, documented collections that were previously uncatalogued, conducted visitor research and assisted curators in producing exhibitions. As well as regular gallery and museum visits, we also offer an exciting study trip abroad every spring. 

With our location in Bloomsbury in central London, you can explore some of the world's best architecture, galleries and museums, collections and art spaces. The British Library is within close proximity as is the British Museum, Sir John Soane's Museum, Foundling Museum, Wellcome Gallery, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A. 

You begin with a core course that introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of museums and a research skills module where you work collaboratively with your classmates. You then take two options in areas of specialist interest and either an independent research project or a work placement. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic. 

The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field in close proximity to world-distinguished museums and galleries. If you are contemplating a career in the museum and gallery sector and want to understand contemporary debates about museums and their cultural significance, then this is the course for you. Museums have been of enormous importance in...

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Course Content

The MA comprises a compulsory module, two option modules, a work placement or an independent research project, and a dissertation.

Full-time students take the compulsory module and an option in the autumn, one option in the spring, a research project or work placement in the summer term, and work on their dissertation from January.

Part-time students take the compulsory module in the autumn term, an option module in the spring term, and either a research project or work placement in the summer term. In Year 2, part-time students take a second option in the autumn and begin work on their dissertation in January.

The compulsory module introduces you to contemporary debates within museum cultures. The research module is a group exercise wherein the class decides upon and collectively researches a topic, under the supervision of their tutor.

Option modules offer you the opportunity to follow specific interests and areas of research.

COMPULSORY MODULE

  • MA Museum Cultures - Approaches, Issues, Skills

INDICATIVE OPTION MODULES

  • Art Museums in a Global Age
  • Curating as Critical Practice
  • Curating Difficult Histories: Museums, Exhibitions, Art Activism
  • Exhibiting the Body
  • Museums, Memory and National Identity

RESEARCH PROJECT/WORK PLACEMENT OPTION MODULES

  • Museum Cultures independent research project
  • Museum Cultures Work Placement

MA MUSEUM CULTURES DISSERTATION

  • MA Museum Cultures Dissertation

The MA comprises a compulsory module, two option modules, a work placement or an independent research project, and a dissertation. Full-time students take the compulsory module and an option in the autumn, one option in the spring, a research project or work placement in the summer term, and work on their dissertation from January. Part-time students take the compulsory...

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Entry Requirements

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

Apply now to secure your place and allow enough time for the application and enrolment process. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

COURSE SPECIFIC ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

A second-class honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent (for example, professional experience).

For students with a degree in a subject other than history of art, the one-year, part-time Graduate Certificate in History of Art and Architecture can be used as a conversion course. Students who successfully complete the graduate certificate with merit will normally be guaranteed a place on this programme and do not need to provide an admissions exercise.

A written exercise or sample undergraduate essay is required and applicants may be interviewed.

INTERNATIONAL ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement for international students is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university or an equivalent international qualification.

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. Some courses may require higher scores, particularly in the following subject areas:

  • arts management
  • cultural studies
  • development studies
  • film and media
  • geography
  • history
  • law
  • organizational psychology
  • psychology.

Please carefully check the Course-Specific Entry Requirements on your chosen programme for details of higher English language entry requirements.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

  • Courses of more than six months' duration.
  • Courses of less than six months' duration.
  • Pre-sessional English language courses.

International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification. We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support...

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Assessment Methods

Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete...

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