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Department of Archaeology

MA Museum and Artefact Studies

Durham University's unique MA in Museum and Artefact Studies aims to provide students with high quality training relevant to a career in museums, the cultural heritage sector, and in the academic world.

In particular, it is intended to equip students with a sound knowledge and critical understanding of current professional principles, good practice and contemporary debates relating to museum and artefact studies.

It aims to help students develop a variety of skills:

  • Professional skills, relevant to the care, management and exhibition of collections in museums
  • Analytical skills, relevant to the study of a wide range of materials and artefacts, from different periods and cultures, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives
  • Research skills, relevant to studies of museums and artefacts, including an awareness of current theoretical issues
  • Communication skills - oral, written and visual - relevant to work in the museum profession and to academic research.

It also aims to encourage students to take personal responsibility for their own learning, team-work and professional conduct.

V6K607 Museum and Artefact Studies MA Postgraduate Taught  2017

Essentials

Essentials

Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time)
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website www.durham.ac.uk/archaeology
Email pgarch.admissions@durham.ac.uk
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1100
Download Download as a PDF

Course Summary

Course Summary

Description

Durham University's unique MA in Museum and Artefact Studies will provide you with the high quality training relevant to a career in museums, the cultural heritage sector, and in the academic world.

In particular, it is intended to equip you with a sound knowledge and critical understanding of current professional principles, good practice and contemporary debates relating to museum and artefact studies.

It aims to help you develop a variety of skills:

  • Professional skills, relevant to the care, management and exhibition of collections in museums
  • Analytical skills, relevant to the study of a wide range of materials and artefacts, from different periods and cultures, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives
  • Research skills, relevant to studies of museums and artefacts, including an awareness of current theoretical issues
  • Communication skills - oral, written and visual - relevant to work in the museum profession and to academic research.

It also aims to encourage students to take personal responsibility for their own learning, team-work and professional conduct.

Course Structure

Two distinct routes can be followed through the MA in Museum and Artefact Studies. These comprise different combinations of modules.

Route 1

The first route is intended for students who firmly intend to pursue a career in museums and galleries. It comprises six compulsory taught modules:

  • Approaches to Museum and Artefact Studies
  • Museum Principles and Practice
  • Artefact Studies
  • Care of Collections
  • Museum Communication
  • Research Paper.

Route 2

The second route through the MA provides you with a different choice of modules. It is intended for students with a strong interest in artefact studies, who may wish to pursue a career in the cultural heritage sector or undertake further postgraduate research in museum or artefact studies after completing the MA course, but who also wish to keep their options open. It comprises four compulsory modules (one of which is a dissertation) and a choice of a fifth module:

  • Approaches to Museum and Artefact Studies
  • Museum Principles and Practice
  • Artefact Studies
  • Dissertation.

And either

  • Museum Communication

Or

  • Care of Collections

Or

  • A module from the MA in Archaeology (e.g. Prehistory; Roman Archaeology; Medieval Archaeology; Post-Medieval Archaeology; or the Archaeology of Egypt, the Near East and India (when available).

Course Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University in 2016 please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate in the Museums sector. Tutorials, seminars and workshops then provide opportunities for you to discuss and debate particular issues or areas, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Finally, practical classes allow you to gain direct experience of practical and interpretative skills in Museum and Artefact Studies through placements and curating an exhibition and/or developing an educational programme for the University Museums.

The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the programme, as you develop your knowledge and ability as independent learners , giving you the opportunity to engage in research, professional practice, and developing and demonstrating research skills in a particular area of the subject. The programme aims to develop these key attributes in its students thereby preparing them for work or further study once they have completed the programme.

In Terms 1 and 2 you will typically attend 3-4 hours a week of lectures, up to 4 hours of tutorials or seminars, in addition to 2 workshops and 2-3 hours of practical sessions working with artefacts or museum environment-related matters or fieldtrips over the term. You will have a 20-day Museum placement at Easter in a museum or archive. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge. Professional speakers are brought in to engage the students with issues within the professional body.

In Term 3 the balance shifts from learning the basic skills required, to applying them within a real-life museum environment in the module Museum Communications where students work together on a specific project(s) with an opening date in May, June or July. Typically, you could be spending the equivalent of a working week as you complete the work for your projects, under supervision.

The move towards greater emphasis on independent research and research continues in Term 3, where the use of research skills acquired earlier in the programme are developed through the Dissertation research project or the Research Paper. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom they will typically have between 3 and 5 one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research. The Dissertation is regarded as a preparation for further academic work while the exhibition and Research Paper route is designed for a more professional environment.

Throughout the programme, all students also have access to an academic adviser who will provide them with academic support and guidance. Typically a student will meet their adviser two to three times a year, in addition to which all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to attend as well as Friends of the Oriental Museum events.

Requirements and Admissions

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

Applicants should hold, or expect to be awarded, a 2:1 Honours degree or an international equivalent, such as a GPA of 3.3 or above and hold some museum work experience.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

www.durham.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £7,400.00 per year
Home Student £7,400.00 per year
Island Student £7,400.00 per year
International non-EU Student £16,500.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £4,100.00 per year
Home Student £4,100.00 per year
Island Student £4,100.00 per year
International non-EU Student £9,100.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

www.durham.ac.uk/postgraduate/finance

Open Days and Visits

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

www.durham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Overseas Visit Schedule

www.durham.ac.uk/international/office/meetus

Postgraduate Visits

PGVI or

www.durham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit/

Museum and Artefact Studies MA Class 2014-15 employment success:

Gemma Havelock - Exhibit Developer, International Centre for Life, Newcastle

Emma Wood - Outreach Coordinator, Heugh Battery Museum, Hartlepool

Lexie Hunt - Curatorial Research Assistant, Monterey Museum of Art, California

Sara Steele - Education and Widening Participation Administration Assistant, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Catherine Kendall - Learning Office and Education Officer, Oriental Museum, Durham

Emma Slinger - Exhibition Researcher, Palace Green Museum, Durham

Bridget McMahon - Visitor Services, Milwaulkee Art Museum, Wisconsin

Museum and Artefact Studies MA Class 2013-14 employment success:

Jeremy Thackray - Assistant Curator, Centre for Computing History, Cambridge

Alex Betts - Assistant Curator, Ohio History Connection, Ohio

Robert Falvey, Visitor Services and Administration Officer, Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Kent

Jennifer Bergevin and Jingju Peng - PhD Museum Studies students, University of Leicester

Joe Raine - PhD Heritage Studies student, Ironbridge Museum and University of Birmingham

Boya Zhang - PhD Visual Culture student, Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, Durham University

Ancient Egyptian funerary mask Chinese Neolithic small red painted earthenware vessel

Coralie Clover

The Museums and Artefacts Studies course is excellent because it's so flexible. I studied a module of Roman archaeology, as well as gaining an excellent grounding in museum studies, as part of Route II of the course. Staff in the department helped me every step of the way, and I was encouraged to get involved with artefact-based projects in Durham and outside it - including the opportunity to look after the finds for a dig in Italy. I would recommend studying at Durham to anyone - I could not have chosen better for my MA.

Coralie Clover - MA Museum and Artefact Studies, 2014-15.

Catherine Kendall

One of the best things about the course was how many opportunities we had to get involved with, and work with the fantastic museums within Durham. These links were encouraged through aspects of the course, such as the Museum Communication module, but also outside of lectures through volunteering on projects, and attending conferences and exhibition openings. The course is also designed with a large amount of focus on discussion and debate, encouraging fun interaction with your course mates but also providing a platform to allow you to argue for things you are passionate about. The whole year was a great experience.

Catherine Kendall - MA Museum and Artefact Studies, 2014-15.