Taught course

MA Culture, Criticism and Curation

University of the Arts London - Central Saint Martins · Communication, Spatial and Product Design

Entry requirements

Applicants must have an Honours Degree or evidence of equivalent learning, and normally at least one year of relevant professional experience. The relevant disciplines and professional fields include: History Art History Culture, Communications or Media Studies Fine Art Fashion (History & THeory) Multimedia or interactive design Curatorial, gallery or museum work Research Collections management or interpretation Journalism - digital, broadcast, press and radio Art criticism and other forms of writing practices Marketing and PR Retail, if culturally related Applicants will be considered for admission who have already achieved a relevant Honours Degree, who can evidence experiential learning equivalent to a degree or who have 3 years’ relevant professional experience. English language requirement All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you send us an English language test score together with your application to prove your level of proficiency. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this on your application form. When you have received your test score, please send it to us immediately. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.0 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the Language Centre website. Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the External English Tests page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements. What we look for Interest in and understanding of history, culture, and/or arts and design Reflexive and critical thinking Experience of collaborative work Self-motivation, ambition, and interest in research. Student selection criteria Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria: A BA qualification or equivalent level of skills and knowledge in your own discipline, evidenced by work done in your field Evidence of interest in and understanding of history, culture, and /or arts and design Evidence of critical thinking and research abilities, particularly in written work Experience of collaborative work Evidence of self-motivation and ambition The selection procedures for the course adhere to the Equal Opportunities policy of the University of the Arts London. Application advice Select for interview will be through the submission of a personal statement, a project proposal that outlines an idea for a cultural event or exhibition and examples of historical, critical or theoretical writing. Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. (Write no more than 300 words.) What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally? Why do you wish to study on this course? Do you have any relevant experience? Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance? The project proposal should provide a rationale and outline for a cultural project based upon an archive or collection. It should demonstrate your critical engagement and creative thinking within the cultural field, your interests and your ability to conceptualise and plan project work. It does not need to have happened; you only need to propose an idea, but it should be realisable. The Project Proposal Helps you to position your interests academically and professionally Reflects your personal interests and direction at this stage and prepares you for collaborative and practical projects during the programme Should be between 800 and 1,000 words, and include images or other media as needed. Critical and evaluative writing Reflects your academic and professional interests Could be a piece of published writing or an academic essay written for coursework. Independent or unpublished writings will also be accepted Should total between 3,000 and 5,000 words Evidences your ability to write and your interest in and understanding of history, culture, and /or arts and design. This ‘portfolio’ should reflect your intellectual engagement with the subject area, prior learning and your potential to conceptualise and develop practical work.

Months of entry


Course content

Raymond Williams described culture as one of the most difficult words in the English language. It crosses disciplines and holds multiple meanings. It designates things and processes. Historically culture meant ‘civilisation’; more recently the meaning has shifted towards the entertainment and education sector, but importantly this has been accompanied by an ongoing negotiation about what might constitute the objects, activities, agents and interpretations of cultural production.

MA Culture, Criticism and Curation is part of the Culture and Enterprise programme. It's about culture seen in a historical framework. This postgraduate course combines interdisciplinary and innovative research, using techniques of image, object and textual analysis, and practical work in handling archives, curating and writing. Its combination of critical engagement and creative skills bridges scholarly research and the cultural and creative industries. The Course aims to teach students to be high level researchers and innovative practitioners, responding to a need for professionals with a broad interest in cultural production and the skills to communicate this to specialist and general audiences alike.

MA Culture, Criticism and Curation is aimed at candidates with an interest in research and its application in organising cultural events. Students should be keen to collaborate and work in teams, as well as able to work alone. Taking advantage of its location in an art school, MA CCC is neither a ‘straight’ academic course, nor one aimed at training cultural managers. Rather it integrates theoretical issues and practical skills, interrogating history and working critically and creatively to consider how potential new knowledge can be presented in the public realm.

The course will make use of London’s wealth of collections, archives and creative practitioners, staging the teaching in relation to ‘live’ resources. Key focuses of the course are collections and archives, including those that are institutional, personal and /or produced in the context of creative art practices, which you will address from both theoretical and practical standpoints. Collections and archives are historical constructions as much as physical (or other), and the course encourages you to see them as discursive, technological, social and political.

The course is taught by a team of tutors who bridge academic research and writing and professional practices of criticism, journalism, art, exhibition design, curating and collections management, most of whom developed and currently teach on the successful BA Criticism, Communication and Curation: Arts and Design degree. We will support your acquisition of high-level critical and practical skills enabling you to work in the field of art and culture or progress to a research degree. MA CCC aspires to generate criticality, as a skill and mode of address, applicable both within and outside the Humanities. The course’s main aim is to take research based in the academic environment and make it accessible to larger or new audiences.

About this course

  • MA Culture, Criticism and Curation lasts 45 weeks, arranged across one academic year – 3 terms of 10 weeks – plus an additional 15 weeks of independent work.
  • MA Culture, Criticism and Curation is credit rated at 180 credits. It comprises two Units: Unit 1, (60 credits), for the first 15 weeks of the course followed by Unit 2 (120 credits) that runs for 30 weeks.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from the mark for Unit 2 only.
  • We expect you to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your studies. This comprises 5 hours of taught and 15 supervised sessions and 20 hours self directed study.
  • Your taught input will normally be scheduled over two - three fixed days per week, which we will detail at the start of each term and further in advance if possible. The course structure is intended to allow you to pursue your studies while also undertaking part-time work, internships or care responsibilities.

A high level of academic and professional engagement is expected throughout the course. Practical work is undertaken with actual archives and collections prompting you to engage high-level organisational, communication, technical and professional skills from the outset. Critical writing spans academic writing to art criticism to journalism. Curatorial practices are explored early in the course and then realised in the context of the final group project. Lectures, reading lists, and discussions will orient you toward key debates and theoretical issues. You are expected to do significant amounts of independent reading and research, and to use the discussions, essays and formal presentations as platforms for developing your independence of thought and critical skills. Your dissertation represents a major research project, and is a key piece of work that will contribute to your exit portfolio, whether this is aimed at employment or PhD.

MA CCC is predicated on group work and ‘live’ projects. The course dynamic—the ‘community of practice’—is central to the success of each cohort. Before the start of each year, incoming students are invited to participate in an introductory structured activity (via the Virtual Learning Environment) in order to begin a conversation about individual interests and the overall aspirations of each cohort. The course is responsive to group work and is designed as a series of intensive ‘workshops’ combining lectures, discussions, visits and practical projects which support interdisciplinarity and foster a holistic approach to critical, practical, peer-to-peer, group and independent work. Every teaching day is an opportunity for peer-learning, and for you to work together as a group to develop and hone your ideas to raise the potential and impact of your project-work and your collaborative curatorial project.

Historical and theoretical concepts and methodologies are considered in relation to a range of relevant organisations, events and individual practices, drawn from the considerable international network already established within the Programme. In addition, each year we will make maximum use of opportunities presented by the calendar of cultural events in London and beyond, and there will be weekly Programme-, School-, and College-based events that will provide you with opportunities to engage with the rich culture of research and innovation at Central Saint Martins.

Information for international students

Our International Office deals specifically with the needs of students from overseas. Tel +44 (0)20 7514 7027.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

The Information Office
+44 (0)20 7514 7023
+44 (0)20 7514 7254