Museum Studies MLitt

Museum Studies, MLitt

Introduction

Scotland has over 350 museums - a veritable treasure trove of inspiration, home to some of the most coveted art and artifacts in the world and an important part of the country’s culture and economy.

The Aberdeen MLitt Museum Studies provides you with a rich combination of the academic study of museums and collections since the Renaissance with the practical experience of thinking about and working in museums today.

Key Facts

Duration
1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time / Part Time
Start Month
September
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

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Overview

Museums are increasingly important in a modern world 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 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 and activities is available on The University of Aberdeen Museums website.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MLitt programme which runs in September.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

The Museum Idea (AT5026)

‘The Museum Idea’ course introduces Museum Studies, focusing on the history and philosophy of museums and collecting, relating this to contemporary museum practice. It is a taught by a team of academic staff in disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Education and History of Art, and the professional staff of the University’s museums. Many class meetings will be held in the University’s museums, including display areas, conservation laboratory and reserve collections and reserve collections, with a field trip to museums in another city in Scotland.

Optional Courses

30 credit points from the following electives:

Understanding People and Environment (extended) (AT5035)

This is a course in environmental anthropology, which explores theoretical ideas and major research areas in the field. It is an excellent option for students taking an MRes in anthropology who have an interest in environmental themes. It is also a great choice for students from other disciplines whose work is concerned with human-environment relations.

Research Skills in Anthropology (AT5033)

This course allows students to learn about and practice research skills in social anthropology through a series of workshops. It will encourage reflexive awareness of the role of research skill, technique and methodology in the discipline. Topics will include the history of methods in anthropology, participant observation, writing fieldnotes, interviews, analysis, and working with media technologies, historical resources and museums. Case studies of how these skills are combined in practical fieldwork will be held. Students will be expected to bring any previous experience of anthropological fieldwork to bear on the discussions, and to develop ideas for their future research practice.

Northern Worlds (AY5001)

In a series of research-led lectures and seminars, students investigate what characterises the Archaeology of the North from environmental, socio-cultural, and ideological aspects. We examine several inter-locking themes, from the first colonisations of the North tracing how these earlier populations established the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity that define later periods. Students will be introduced to the ecological characteristics of higher latitudes, and examine the diverse ways in which communities have made the Northern World their home. We also examine how human communities have responded to climate changes in the past, resilience and adaptation, technology, and spirituality amongst Northern peoples

Theory and Method in Research (AY5002)

In this course students will follow the development of archaeological thought from its roots in the scientific revolution of the 17th century through to the post-modern thinkers and finally discovering where the current theoretical debates stand. Students will explore the links between the theoretical development of archaeological research and the general developments in the history of science and philosophy. Students also explore different methodologies central to archaeological research, discuss what constitute archaeological data, and how to design a research project. Students will also discuss research ethics, and scientific agendas. These issues are explored through a series of lectures and seminars.

Marketing Management (BU5039)

The course will apply theoretical and practical content to explore the key concepts of marketing management to provide students with an understanding of planning, coordinating and controlling marketing activities. It aims to take students understanding beyond what has been labelled as a transaction-based approach to a relationship-based approach. As such the aim is to provide students with an understanding of the role of marketing in establishing, developing and maintaining relationships for mutual gain. This will be achieved through a combination of lectures, seminars, simulations and directed private study.

Introduction to Art History for Business (HA5029)

This introductory course will trace major developments in the history of art in the western world, from cave painting in the Stone Age to the beginnings of photography in the nineteenth century. Other aspects of European art to be explored through painting, prints, sculpture and architecture will include: Classicism in Greece and Rome, the rise of the Medieval Gothic cathedrals to the rebirth of Classicism in the Renaissance, the grandeur of the Baroque to the ornament of the Rococo, and the revolutionary order of Neo-Classicism to the imagination and emotion of Romanticism.

Art and Business (HA5032)

This course, which combines theoretical learning with a hands-on approach, exposes you to the realities of the art market and financial aspects of art dealing and heritage conservation. You will engage with professionals in the field who explain the reality of running an art business, including different types of gallery, an auction house, an historic venue, and an individual artist. The role of art as a major economic and social catalyst is explored through various regeneration schemes. There will be onsite visits to galleries and auctions, during which you will interview key practitioners in the field.

Connoisseurship: Art in Scotland (HA5033)

This course is appropriate both for budding professional art historians and those hoping to enter the art trade. It provides training in making decisions about attribution, fakes and forgeries through studying classic puzzles about forgery, deception and attribution. Modern methods of authentication, such as technical analysis, will also be examined to develop the key skills of visual and scientific analysis that are essential for art dealers.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Curating an Exhibition (AT5508)

The ‘Curating an Exhibition’ course leads to the creation and opening of the summer exhibition in King’s Museum. Working together as a team, each student also takes on a specific role, including research, writing, design, installation, events management and marketing, working closely with the relevant members of museum staff. The course makes extensive use of the University’s internationally-important museum collections and gives students an opportunity to reflect on an important aspect of museum practice.

Developing A Theory of Practice: Learning and Museums (ED553E)

This course will focus on the theoretical and professional issues relating to learning and museums, including informal and formal learning, professional identity, regulatory and curriculum contexts, relationships between community and professional providers and social inclusion. Alongside seminars, normally held in the University’s museums, tutor-directed activities will include visits and observation of learning activities in local museums and similar organisations.

The course is intended to enable participants to reflect on current provision and practice in relation to learning in museums through critical consideration of current constructions and understandings of the ways in which museums are sites of learning for visitors.

Optional Courses

Managing People at Work (BU5554)

Whether you are intending to manage other people or be responsible for HR functions in a company, this course is intended for you.

You will learn the theories that are the basis for good practice, the skills that are required to put them across and the employment law which governs what we are expected to achieve with our people

This course is run by tutors who have been experienced managers themselves and it will prepare you to pursue a career in management confident and competent to carry out what is expected of you

The Leadership Challenge (BU5584)

This course provides an opportunity to explore and develop an understanding of your own leadership behaviour. Through seminars, group activities and discussions we investigate how personality, past experience, current situations and culture shape the way each of us behave in a leadership role. Using this information as a starting point we then explore how different leadership theories and approaches can be used as frameworks for developing a deeper understanding of leadership behaviour. You will also have an opportunity to try out a range of practical tools and techniques to assist you in the development of your own approach to leadership.

Approaching Archives (HI552L)

What is an archive and how can it be used? Students are introduced to some archives in Aberdeen and learn how to make best use of these important resources for research. They learn transcription methods using the mediaeval burgh records held at Aberdeen city archives. Lectures and seminars investigate the history and philosophy of archival collections and museums; statistical approaches to the contents of archives and qualitative analyses of specific collections. Assessment is based on a 5000-word essay in which students are asked to identify and analyse a specific Aberdeen, Scotland, or UK collection.

Northern Peoples and Cultures (AY5501)

In a series of text based student-led seminars we study past Northern Peoples and Cultures through key topical debates, characteristic for different cultural regions and time periods. In the seminars students examine a range of northern contexts, from prehistory to more recent times all over the Circumpolar North. Students encounter topics as versatile as animal domestication in Northern Eurasia, Scandinavian Vikings, and Colonial North America illustrating the diversity of life and thought in Northern communities. Each seminar will also explore how particular key issues have become central to the ‘identity’ of archaeological research in the respective areas

Advanced Archaeological Approaches (AY5504)

As an advanced engagement with current trends and approaches in Northern Archaeology students examine current cutting edge debates associated with new theories and methodologies in archaeological research. Students will encounter the versatility of methodological and theoretical approaches in Northern research through four different themes central to the Archaeology of the North; Body and Death, Heritage and Memory, Social Space and Structures, Human and Environment. Each theme is explored through series of research led seminars and a practical, approaching the theme from different theoretical/methodological angels. The main assessment of the course is an Internal Masters Conference on these four themes.

Cultural Property Issues: Law, Art, and Museums (LS55UU)

Taught by museum and law academics, this course will examine cultural property issues such as treasure trove, looting and repatriation, forgery, sacred and street art, and the derogatory treatment of art. Objects from the University Museum and collections worldwide will be drawn on to illustrate aspects of the course. Museum practice and operational experience will also inform certain aspects. Students will be encouraged to explore and develop their own ideas. Facilitating this, the course will include a programme of case studies and/or issue papers to be presented by students for class discussion.

Working with Local Communities: Methods and Theory in Museum Practice (AT5541)

One of the most striking trends in museum practice over the past two decades has been the effort made to develop a curatorial practice shaped by indigenous perspectives on collections and on partnership. This course traces the emergence of this new form of curatorship, drawing on case studies from around the world, but with a particular focus on the experience of museums and local communities in the Circumpolar North.

Curating an Exhibition (AT5508)

The ‘Curating an Exhibition’ course leads to the creation and opening of the summer exhibition in King’s Museum. Working together as a team, each student also takes on a specific role, including research, writing, design, installation, events management and marketing, working closely with the relevant members of museum staff. The course makes extensive use of the University’s internationally-important museum collections and gives students an opportunity to reflect on an important aspect of museum practice.

Developing A Theory of Practice: Learning and Museums (ED553E)

This course will focus on the theoretical and professional issues relating to learning and museums, including informal and formal learning, professional identity, regulatory and curriculum contexts, relationships between community and professional providers and social inclusion. Alongside seminars, normally held in the University’s museums, tutor-directed activities will include visits and observation of learning activities in local museums and similar organisations.

The course is intended to enable participants to reflect on current provision and practice in relation to learning in museums through critical consideration of current constructions and understandings of the ways in which museums are sites of learning for visitors.

Art and Business (HA5032)

This course, which combines theoretical learning with a hands-on approach, exposes you to the realities of the art market and financial aspects of art dealing and heritage conservation. You will engage with professionals in the field who explain the reality of running an art business, including different types of gallery, an auction house, an historic venue, and an individual artist. The role of art as a major economic and social catalyst is explored through various regeneration schemes. There will be onsite visits to galleries and auctions, during which you will interview key practitioners in the field.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Either AT5908 or AT5909

Museum Studies Dissertation (AT5908)

*

Museum Studies Project (AT5909)

As a practice-based alternative to a dissertation, students take part in a 20 day placement in a museum or gallery followed by writing an 8,000 word Museum Studies Project. Some students opt for a four-week placement in the early summer, while others choose to make a regular arrangement to volunteer in a local museum during term-time. Placements are offered in a range of museums in Scotland, but students can also identify other possibilities themselves.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

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.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects

Assessment

By a combination of coursework, written and oral examinations as prescribed for each course, the degree of MLitt shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGC mark of D3 or above in the Museum Studies Dissertation or the Museum Studies Project irrespective of their marks in other courses.
Candidates who elect not to proceed via the dissertation to an MLitt shall be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma if they have achieved a total of 120 credit points.

Why Study Museum Studies?

  • You learn by applying your intellectual skills to live museum situations, providing you with a portfolio of experience along with your MLitt Museum Studies when you graduate.
  • You will learn how to interpret academic and specialist knowledge for a wide public: a skill needed by a wide variety of careers.
  • Museum Studies at Aberdeen allows you to customise your MLitt Museum Studies to specific areas of interest with regard to the type of collections and extra knowledge in which you wish to specialise.

At the University of Aberdeen, an MLitt in Museum Studies allows you to carry out innovative novel research as part of a dissertation, or you can choose to work on a practical museum project in a placements offered by a partner museums in the region and beyond, adding to your live experience.

  • Apart from practical experience built on-site, you are able to visit a museum in Scotland to further your knowledge of this area.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

For international students entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study.

Fees and Funding Table for HOME, EU, RUK and International Students
Nationality Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition fee for main award £4,500
International Students Tuition fee for main award £13,800
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trip courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Museums Fill in Our Past to Create Our Future

Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment by understanding the past and how it created our present and how it influences our future.

Entry Requirements

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with at least 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body. In exceptional circumstances, applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience, appropriate to the field of study.

Qualifications

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.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Facilities

As well as academic facilities, you will work within the University’s museums, including:

  • King's Museum (changing displays of diverse collections in a historic building, with an emphasis on the lives of people).
  • Zoology Museum (worldwide in scope, from protozoa to the great whales, including taxidermy, skeletal material, study skins, fluid-preserved specimens and models.
  • Museums Collections Centre (the location of most of the human culture collections).
  • Sir Duncan Rice Library

    Sir Duncan Rice Library

    The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

    Find out more
  • Zoology Museum

    The museum’s displays are worldwide in scope, from protozoa to the great whales, including taxidermy, skeletal material, study skins, fluid-preserved specimens and models.

  • King's Museum

    King’s Museum lies at the heart of the University's Old Aberdeen campus. As well as being Scotland's newest museum, it may also be the oldest as its origins lie in a museum collection established in King's College in 1727.

    Find out more

Careers

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.

Contact

Address
School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
Aberdeen

AB24 3QY
Email
Phone
+44 (0)1224 272762
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