MLitt Art and Business prepares you for a dynamic career in the commercial world of art and heritage.

Key Facts

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

Interested in this Degree?

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The MLitt will appeal to you if you wish to embark on a career in the art and heritage business. The programme is designed for you if you have a background in either history of art or business. You are not expected to have studied both disciplines prior to entry but a general knowledge of galleries and museums is necessary.

Through the study of both art in situ and contemporary business theory and practice, you will gain first-hand experience of the art and heritage market place. Options provide training in art history, as well as legal and business methods. The programme is delivered as a collaboration between leading commercial professionals and academics. The core business skills are taught in the Business School, alongside an international cohort of MBA students.

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.

Degree Structure


The course is taught on campus, starting in September. The Masters degree can be pursued on a full-time (one year) or part-time basis (two years). Or students may leave after the taught component (120 credits) with a Diploma.

Compulsory Courses

All Art and Business students will take the following courses:

AW1007 Academic Writing for Divinity, History and Philosophy (0 credit points)
BU5068 Business for Arts (15 credit points)
BU5021 Business Economics (15 credit points)
HA5033 Connoisseurship: Art in Scotland (15 credit points)

HA5032 Art and Business (30 credit points) * to extend through both semesters

Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

View detailed information about this course.

Business Economics (BU5021)

This course focuses on the economics of business allowing students to understand the economics that underlie a whole host of business issues. The course will cover the functioning of markets, consumer behaviour, pricing, production and costing problems, monopoly and the business implications of inflation, economic growth and economic policy.

View detailed information about this course.

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. Download course guide.

View detailed information about this course.

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. Download course guide.

View detailed information about this course.

Optional Courses

Students with no background in History of Art may wish to audit HA1004: Introduction to Art History (15 credit points).

Students will take 30 credit points from Business (BU coded) courses:
BU5573 Marketing Communications (15 credit points)
BU5576 Business Model Innovation (15 credit points)
BU5584 The Leadership Challenge (15 credit points) *note Marketing Communications cannot be taken at the same time as Leadership Challenge

And 30 credit points from:
LS55UU Cultural Property Issues: Law, Art and Museums (30 credit points)
AT5508 Curating an Exhibition (30 credit points)
ED553E Developing a Theory of Practice: Learning and Museums (30 credit points)

Students with no background in History of Art may wish to audit HA1508: Modern Art.

Marketing Communications (BU5573)

Through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, debates and in-course assessment, this course encourages students to critically reflect upon: Social theory and its relevance to marketing communications; Concepts and contemporary thought within the practice of marketing communication; expressive practice.

View detailed information about this course.

Business Model Innovation (BU5576)

This course is about business development and the application of new business models. Increasingly companies have to radically rethink the way they do business if they are to remain competitive. To do this organisations need to be prepared to analyse and challenge their current business models. Through a practical business development project and the analysis of case companies you will be encouraged to explore the tools, techniques and theories used by successful business developers. The course will be especially useful for those interested in strengthening their skills for identifying and evaluating business opportunities.

View detailed information about this course.

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.

View detailed information about this course.

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.

View detailed information about this course.

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.

View detailed information about this course.

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.

View detailed information about this course.

Featured Project

Research by our staff has an economic impact.

Degree Structure

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

  • You will learn to assess the art and heritage market in a wide sense and explore opportunities for yourself within the field. Classes are small and there is plenty of personal tuition.

  • In preparation for the market, we work on your presentation skills. You will learn different types of writing, including a sales catalogue, press brief, a report for a competitive tender, and academic essays.

  • The cost of field trips is in addition to tuition fees and includes day trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow and 3-4 days in London.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Field Trips
  • Tutorials
  • Field Work
  • Research
  • Individual Projects
  • Group Projects
  • Workshops
  • Seminars


Assessment is based on written work (essays/exams) and moderated according to University standards. Oral presentation skills are developed. The taught courses total 120 credits and the dissertation is 60 credits.

Students may leave after the taught component with 120 credits and a Diploma.

Why Study Art and Business?

  • The art component is taught through a sequence of personal encounters with practising professionals in the art and heritage world. Businesses we have worked with include Hauser & Wirth, White Cube, Christies, the Barbican Arts Centre, The Royal Collection Trust, Weiss Gallery, The Scottish Gallery, Kincardine Castle, Drum Castle National Trust for Scotland, Taylor’s Auction Rooms and Aberdeen City Heritage Trust.

  • You learn the essentials of business theory and practice in a general context which enables you to pursue any commercial career.

  • You are taken to venues including private and public galleries, stately homes and auction houses where you learn to assess their commercial sustainability. We look at the national museums in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern.

  • Beyond gallery and auction sales, key topics include urban regeneration, heritage tourism and philanthropy in the arts, charitable organisations and private start-ups. These provide a broad background from which to plan a career.

  • A course on connoisseurship deals with issues of attribution and forgery and the role of the connoisseur within the market place.

  • Options allow you to develop crucial technical knowledge of the law in the art market. Here each legal topic is prefaced by an artistic case study to illustrate legal dilemmas about cultural property. Another option allows you to develop gallery skills which culminates in an exhibition on campus.

Fees and Funding

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

Field trips to Glasgow, Edinburgh and London are in addition to the fees. Approximate costs can be provided on request.

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £6,000
International Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £14,300
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. 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.


The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programe. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

We don't just do galleries and museums

We look at the economics of art in the big picture. It’s not just about big bucks in the auction houses. It includes heritage, regeneration, tourism and philanthropy.

Entry Requirements

For more information about the application process, including details about which supporting documents you will be asked to provide, please click here.


Candidates must normally have an Honours degree to at least 2.1 standard in an appropriate discipline or equivalent qualifications (normally a 3.0 GPA in North America). Equivalent professional experience may be considered.

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.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Certificatea degree certificate showing your qualifications
  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme


Students who have taken this course have gone on to work in major galleries in London and abroad. They have worked in museums and art journalism, museum teaching and started their own business.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Professor John Morrison
Mr John Gash
Dr Helen Pierce
Dr Catherine Ng
Mr Neil Curtis
Programme Coordinator
Professor Jane Geddes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Develop your passions into sound economic concepts

It’s all about your own interests. We have ranged from the heritage of horsemanship in Outer Mongolia to the economics of museum access for disabled visitors. What gives you a buzz?


School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
50-52 College Bounds


AB24 3DS
+44 (0)1224 272890
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