Good honours degree in a relevant subject or equivalent (for example, professional experience). For students with a degree in a subject other than history of art, the 1-year, part-time Graduate Certificate in History of Art and Architecture can be used as a conversion course. Students who successfully complete the graduate certificate with merit will normally be guaranteed a place on this programme and do not need to provide an admissions exercise. A written exercise or sample undergraduate essay is required and applicants may be interviewed.
Months of entry
The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. If you are contemplating a career in the museum and gallery sector and if you are interested in developing an in-depth understanding of contemporary debates about museums and their cultural significance, then this is the course for you. Our MA gives you the chance to develop a range of key skills, from critical thinking and writing to practical experience through a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Museums have been of enormous importance in shaping empires, nations and cities, and their collections are connected to wider histories of conflict and social change. To study museums is to study the development and fierce contestation of our collective cultural imagination and memory.
You begin with a core course that introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of museums and a research skills module where you work collaboratively with your classmates. You then take 2 options in areas of specialist interest and either an independent research project or a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.
The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck has an international reputation for its innovative approaches to the history of art, visual culture and museum studies. Our expertise extends into areas such as postcolonial museums, museums in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, the senses and museums, architecture and museums, museums and art, museums and memory, museums and conflict, museums and gender, small museums, and museums, politics and heritage. As well as regular gallery and museum visits, we offer an exciting study trip abroad every spring. Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the department’s postgraduate events; the annual Murray lecture where speakers have included Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain and Neil McGregor, director of the British Museum; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
Information for international students
The requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.
Fees and funding
The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.
Funds are available to support research expenses for your coursework on this MA.
The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.
Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Department of History of Art and Screen Media
- 020 7631 6110
- + 44 (0)20 7631 6107