The programme is offered full-time over one calendar year (September to September) and part time over two years. The MLitt requires the successful completion of 180 credits, including two core 30-credit courses (‘The Museum Idea’ and ‘Curating an Exhibition’ or 'Learning and Museums') and one elective course each half-session from related disciplines, such as Anthropology, Archaeology, History and History of Art. Masters students normally submit a 60-credit work-based project following a placement in a museum or art gallery. Candidates who do not complete a Dissertation or Project can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma if they have achieved a total of 120 credit points.
‘The Museum Idea’ course focuses on the history and philosophy of museums and collecting, relating this to contemporary museum practice. The ‘Curating an Exhibition’ course leads to the creation and 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. The 'Learning and Museums' course leads to the running of the Uniuversity Museums' 'Night at the Museums' event whihc attracts about 1000 people to musuems on a May evening. Most taught sessions 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. During the summer, most students takepart in a 20 day placement in a museum or gallery followed by writing a 8,000 word Museum Studies Project, though writing a Dissertatiuon is a possible alternative. Placements will be offered at a range of museums in Scotland, but students can also identify other possibilities.
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. An important feature of the Museum Studies programme is its extensive use of the University’s museums and collections and the involvement of both academic staff in related disciplines such as Anthropology, Archaeology, Education and History of Art, and the professional staff of the University’s museums.