Taught course

Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries

University of Leicester · Department of Museum Studies

Entry requirements

In recognition of the diverse employment needs of the culture sector, we recognise and credit a range of prior qualifications and experiences. Either a first class or second class degree, which can be in any subject area; or be able to demonstrate equivalent skills and aptitudes through the possession of a professional or vocational qualification and/or the accrual of relevant work experiences. Relevant experience can come from a wide spectrum of work or voluntary environments but clear evidence of this experience must be provided. You should be able to demonstrate a commitment to, or strong interest in, museums, galleries, or other kinds of heritage or cultural organisation. If you do not have a degree, you will be asked complete an assessment, such as an essay, so as to demonstrate your readiness for postgraduate study. Clear guidance will be provided on assessment criteria. You may also be required to attend an interview.

Months of entry

October, April

Course content

In the 21st century, leading museums, galleries and heritage practice began to make use of socially engaged approaches. This course will examine the role of museums and practitioners in shaping society’s understandings of contemporary issues, upholding values of inclusivity and accessibility, and ensuring that museums benefit their communities.

Choosing to study Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries will give you access to leading research and practice on the impact that museums and galleries can have on advocating for social justice and human rights, and how they might better explore and address the contemporary issues that face our societies.

This course is based on research that has been undertaken over the last 15 years by the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) at Leicester, and draws on broader global shifts in practice. It will introduce you to cutting-edge examples of socially-driven professional practice and challenge you to think deeply about the role of culture in society and the characteristics of socially purposeful museums and practices.

Over the course, you will engage critically and creatively with areas such as:

  • partnership working and participatory practices;
  • learning and education;
  • design and experience;
  • visitor studies and audience research;
  • leadership at all levels of an organisation;
  • how socially engaged practice can be embedded into the work of museums and galleries.

You will gain a deeper understanding of the historical, current and emerging debates, theories, issues, techniques and practice in order to effectively develop and advocate for socially engaged practice in museums, galleries, and similar organisations. The course offers a platform to explore and experiment with ways of maximising the impact that museums and galleries can have on the wellbeing of communities, on civil debates around controversial topics, and on the building of fairer and more equal societies.

Fees and funding

UK students
£8,760 (MA/MSc); £7,805 (PGDip)
International students
£14,630 (MA/MSc); £13,015 (PGDip)

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
24 months


distance learning
24 months


distance learning
18 months


distance learning
varies months

Course contact details

Distance Learning Team
+44 (0)116 252 5365