Master in Museum and Gallery Studies


Read more about this programme on the school's website

Programme Description

The MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies prepares students for employment in museums, principally as curators, with broad training in all types of museums, galleries and other heritage facilities.

The MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies is aimed at students wanting to start a career in museum or gallery work, or for those looking for a mid-career change. The part-time course is designed for museum and gallery employees or volunteers who wish to study while continuing with their work.


  • The degree provides broad training, covering all types of museums, galleries and heritage facilities, and includes the principles of conservation, museum education, exhibition planning and design, and management.
  • Teaching normally takes place at the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), and structured visits to museums, art galleries, historic houses, ships and other heritage sites are an essential part of the programme.
  • Students undertake practical project work with a wide variety of host organisations, from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. This includes the University's Museum Collections which hold over 100,000 artefacts and specimens in a wide range of subject areas, from art to zoology.
  • Full-time students have the opportunity to curate professional exhibitions in the University's galleries and Fife Cultural Trust's St Andrews Museum, which enables you to develop relevant practical skills.
  • Students may also apply to take part in a summer exchange programme with the École du Louvre in Paris.

Teaching format

All Museum and Gallery Studies students take three compulsory modules over two semesters (or four semesters for part-time studies). The taught courses are delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and visits to museums and galleries.

Class sizes typically range from 18 to 24 students, and exhibition teams range from 6 to 9 students. Students complete three assignments per module in a variety of formats including an essay, a documentation and database project, an object study, an exhibition or website review, a lesson plan and a management report.

The final three months of the course will be focused on writing the final assessment piece, a 15,000-word dissertation.

Substantial contributions to the course are made by the Scottish museums' community which generously provides visiting lecturers and hosts class visits and individual student placements.

The Museum and Gallery Studies teaching staff are experienced museum curators who continue to be involved directly in museum work.

Part-time studies

The part-time course runs every two years. The taught element is delivered at four week-long residential schools in January and June of each year. There is an opportunity for you to use your practical experience towards the coursework and write up your professional activities for assessment. The Graduate Diploma can be converted to an MLitt on the production of a dissertation of 15,000 words, submitted five months after the formal end of the taught course.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.


  • Theory and Practice of Museums, Art Galleries and Related Organisations, Part 1: Collections in Context: covers topics such as the developments and purposes of museums, museum ethics, the history of collecting and collections management policies and procedures.
  • Theory and Practice of Museums, Art Galleries and Related Organisations, Part 2: Audiences and Management: continuing from Theory and Practice in Semester 1, this module covers museum audiences and their needs, museum services and programmes, and museum and gallery management.
  • Project Work (whole year): involves hands-on learning and develops practical, specialist and transferable skills to prepare students for work in the museums/galleries/heritage sector. It normally includes a team exhibition project and an individual museum work project.


Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Recent Museum and Gallery Studies graduates have gone on to work for a range of institutions from the Chicago Institute of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum to the National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

Two year-long paid traineeships within University Collections are open exclusively to Museum and Gallery Studies graduates, as is the paid four-to-five month David Nicholls Curatorial Internship at the South Georgia Museum in Antarctica.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. Students will preferably have some museum work experience (through employment or volunteering). The School welcomes applications from students from all disciplines relevant to museum work, such as history, archaeology, anthropology, languages, media and communications, and physical and natural sciences.
  • The part-time course is also open to students without a degree but with considerable professional experience in a museum or gallery.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV.
  • personal statement (500 words).
  • a sample of academic written work (2,000 words).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust Museum and Gallery Studies Award

This award is exclusively for Museum and Gallery Studies students and is open to those aiming for a future career as a curator of art.

Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated Apr. 2020

About the School

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete Uni ... Read More

As a 600-year-old institution, it's no surprise that the University of St Andrews is known across the globe as a world leader in education. We are Scotland’s best university ranked by the Complete University Guide 2019, and 2nd overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2019). Read Less
Saint Andrews