Heritage is the physical and intangible cultural materials we choose to preserve and value. But heritage is also a matter of heated debate. How do we manage, preserve, and communicate our heritage today? In what ways is the past remembered or forgotten, exploited and renegotiated in the present? What are the differences between tangible and intangible, cultural and natural, physical and digital heritage?
Our interdisciplinary MA Heritage and Museum Studies offers specialist, practically-grounded and academic training exploring these questions and more. Our intensive degree emphasises the real-world relevance of debates surrounding cultural patrimony, and the ways in which it is presented and consumed.
The MA is made up of core and optional modules, where you will develop knowledge of the field and practical skills, all while pursing your own specialist interests in the field of heritage.
You will study topics including:
One of the major reasons for choosing Essex is the quality of the education you will receive. We are ranked 6th among Art History departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014), mainstream universities, THE 2014) and our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre boasts a wide range of innovative undergraduate and postgraduate courses grounded in an interdisciplinary ethos that fosters new ways of thinking and learning. Essex is also ranked Gold in the UK's Teaching Excellence Framework, for consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes.
Our core staff consists of a dynamic group of world-leading heritage specialists and art historians; Dr Paola di Giuseppantonio di Franco, Dr Gavin Grindon, Dr Michael Tymkiw, Dr Lisa Blackmore and Dr Matt Lodder. Their research interests span a range of cultures and media, from the early modern to the present, with core specialisms including digital heritage, exhibition making, alternative and political heritages, environmental heritage, public engagement, activism, artistic, social and political history. Other staff who will be teaching are scholars engaging with heritage, public engagement and museums from multiple disciplines.
At Essex, you have the best of both worlds: on the one hand, you are part of a tight-knit, campus community with close ties to several small but excellent museums and heritage sites in the nearby towns of Colchester ('Britain's First City'), on the other hand, you can travel from campus to London in an hour, which puts the world's best museums, galleries, and heritage sites at your fingertips.
Our facilities enable you to gain curatorial experience, engage in object-based learning, and learn digital skills, a cornerstone of our approach to heritage and museums.
We have close links with many cultural sites and institutions in Colchester, which support hands-on activities and your practical learning.
Supported by our Centre for Curatorial Studies, you will benefit from our partnerships with major arts and cultural organisations to find out what it means to be work in this challenging sector.
Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection.
Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an ongoing programme of contemporary art exhibitions, talks and workshops by curators and artists, as well as exhibitions organised by our postgraduate curatorial students.
Our university Special Collections include many objects and archives of contested heritage spanning hundreds of years, resources that can be the focus of MA student projects.
On completing this MA you will be well prepared to either undertake further postgraduate study in heritage, or to enter the workplace in the heritage industry, museums and related fields.
Graduates from our programmes are ideally prepared for roles in museums and galleries, in education (in schools, universities, and cultural institutions), as conservators and specialist art lawyers (with additional training and qualifications), as auctioneers, dealers and antiques specialists, the digital and creative media industries, in charities, in publishing, as PR agents, in fashion, or to run their own galleries.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies, including:
We also offer research supervision for PhD and MPhil for those who want to continue with research.
We also work with the University's Careers Service to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
A 2.2 Degree or equivalent in any discipline. Your Degree must contain at least three modules relating to visual culture.
Visual Culture modules include, but are not limited to: Aesthetics, Archaeology, Architecture, Art History, Curatorial/Museum Studies, Design Studies, Digital Imaging, Fashion, Fine Art, Film Studies, Film and Literature, Graphic Design, Advertising, Landscape Design, History, Media Studies, Photography.
if you do not hold a degree which includes relevant modules, then we can still consider you. You should be able to show that you have relevant professional experience. If you do not have a relevant degree or relevant experience, then we may ask you to provide a sample of written work which demonstrates your interest in this field.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
The example structure below is representative of this course if taken full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the modules will be split across 2 years.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
£18,800EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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