Find a Degree Postgraduate Taught Programmes Museum Studies

Programme Details

MLitt 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time


Museums have become an important field of study, with a wide range of research focusing on their history, collections, practices and social roles. The MLitt in Museum Studies makes much use of the University’s own internationally important collections and museums to explore these issues and to give practical experience of working in a museum, working closely with professional as well as academic staff. Information about these collections is available at

Contact Information

Neil Curtis
Head of Museums Programme Director for Museum Studies 


Postgraduate Office                                                                                               School of Social Science                                                                  


In the first half-session a core course ‘The Museum Idea’ focuses on the history and theory of collecting and museums, with the second half-session core course ‘Curating an Exhibition’ includings a wide range of practical experiences as students play the key role in creating the King’s Museum’s summer exhibition. Alongside these core courses, students will be able to choose two courses from a range of electives drawn from disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Business Studies, History of Art, History, Law and Literature. During the summer those students with a research interest are able to complete a dissertation, while those with a more vocational interest produce a project based on a 20 day placement in a museum.

‘The Museum Idea’ is structured in two blocks. The first block will focus on the history and philosophy of museums and collecting, while the second block will relate these theoretical positions to contemporary museum practice, drawing on fieldwork undertaken in galleries and museums. Most taught sessions will be held in the University’s museums, including display areas, conservation workshop and reserve collections. A field trip (to e.g. Dundee or Edinburgh) will include an opportunity to evaluate another museum and meet with other professional museum staff.

Working with a topic identified during the first half-session, the ‘Curating an Exhibition’ course enables students to take part in a wide range of intellectual and practical aspects of museum work leading to the opening of the summer exhibition in King’s Museum. Each student will take on a specific role as part of an exhibition team, including research, writing, design, mount-making, installation, events management and marketing, working closely with the relevant member of museum staff and making extensive use of the University’s museum collections.

Students who wish to graduate with the MLitt in Museum Studies will follow these taught courses with the ‘Museum Studies Dissertation’ or ‘Museum Studies Project’. The dissertation offers students with a research interest in museums the opportunity to write a 12,000 word dissertation with appropriate supervisory support. As an alternative, a minimum 20 day placement in a relevant museum or art gallery (to be approved in advance by the course co-ordinator) can lead to the writing of a 8,000 word ‘Museum Studies Project’ based on a topic studied during their placement. Placements will be offered at a range of museums in Scotland, but students can also identify other alternatives subject to the approval of the programme co-ordinator.


Core courses are assessed by continuous assessment, including essays, presentations and an independent assessment of the group exhibition. Elective courses are generally also assessed by continuous assessment, but some may include examinations.

Candidates who elect not to proceed via the Museum Studies Dissertation or Museum Studies Project to an MLitt shall be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma if they have achieved a total of 120 credit points, made up of 60 credits from the two compulsory courses, plus a further 60 credits from approved elective courses or from the Museum Studies Project. The degree of MLitt shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CAS mark of 9 or above in the Museum Studies Dissertation or the Museum Studies Project irrespective of their marks in other courses.


An important feature of the Museum Studies programme is its extensive use of the University’s museums and collections and involvement of both academic staff in a range of related disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Education and History of Art, and the professional staff of the University’s museums. Teaching of the Museum Studies courses is in small groups, with one-to one supervision for the Dissertation and Project.


This degree provides suitable preparation for working in the museums, galleries and similar institutions, those who wish to conduct further research in Museum Studies or related fields. It would also be useful for those who are interested in developing ways of communicating academic work to a wider public.

Candidates must normally possess a degree of 2.1 or above, or equivalent, in an appropriate discipline. Students who do not meet the normal entry requirement but who have appropriate professional experience may also be considered.

References are not required in order for applicants to submit an application. They are not usually required in order for a decision to be made but in certain cases applicants may be asked to provide a single academic reference at the request of the academic selector.

The English Language Requirement for all College of Arts and Social Sciences Masters programmes is an IELTS of 6.5 with 6.0 in the writing and reading (or equivalent TOEFL iBT or PTE). For more information see
Good English is required not only for the student's own academic success but also because it is necessary to be able to contribute at seminars and perhaps conferences, as well as reading texts and writing essays or papers.


Full details of tuition fees is available here


Prospective students should visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database

University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with a degree from the University of Aberdeen. The Alumni Discount Scheme applies to both home and overseas students, and applies to the self-funding element of the postgraduate tuition fee. This is the element of tuition fee which you are paying yourself and does not cover the element of tuition fee which is covered by a scholarship, funding body, your employer, a company, or any another source of funding. The Alumni Discount applies only to the tuition fee element and does not apply to any other costs such as additional programme costs or research costs. More Information can be found here.


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