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Duration: 12 months (full-time); 27 months (part-time)|Hope Park|Start month: January & October
International students can apply
Entry Requirements
Teaching & Research


This programme has been designed in close partnership with one of the world’s great museum organisations. National Museums Liverpool (NML) attracts 3.3 million visitors a year. Its collections are among the most varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from Titanic.

Through a series of guest seminars, practical training workshops and study visits embedded throughout the programme, the MA Museum and Heritage Studies offers students unparalleled access to NML’s professional expertise, world-class collections and outstanding venues. No other museum studies programme currently offers such close collaboration with a national museum service.

Inspired by Liverpool Hope University and NML’s shared commitment to social justice, our unique programme emphasises the new approaches being taken by museums to address social inequalities, from anti-racism workshops with local schools to global campaigns for human rights. Students explore the variety of methods and techniques employed by today’s museum professionals to develop socially-relevant collections, to produce inspiring and challenging exhibitions, and to engage communities on a local, national and international level.

The application of theoretical and ethical perspectives to real-world case studies enables students to develop a critical understanding of social justice in a museological context, preparing our graduates for a variety of professional roles in the contemporary museum or for further study at doctoral level.

Why choose this subject?

  • You will develop a comprehensive critical understanding of the contemporary social and political contexts for museums and heritage organisations, focussing in particular on how they address their public role in the world today.]
  • You will gain practical, hands-on experience of a range of contemporary museum and heritage practices including curating, education, outreach, collection management, marketing and development, preparing you for employment in a variety of roles in the sector.
  • You will have the opportunity to learn through regular field visits to museums and heritage sites, including one overseas field trip.

Curriculum Overview

All Museum and Heritage students take a series of taught modules as follows:

Museum Theory and Practice (30 credits)

This module aims to provide a thorough introduction to the diverse field of museum studies and how this relates to the range of activities that make up contemporary museum and gallery practice – from collections and ownership to display and interpretation. The module will begin by focusing on the object, collections and collecting, drawing on examples from material and visual culture studies and using specific case studies. Shifting the focus from storerooms to galleries, the module will consider issues of display and interpretation. The module will draw on complementary theoretical approaches from both historical and artistic perspectives.

Heritage Theory and Practice (15 Credits)

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the key themes and issues in the discipline of Heritage Studies. Students explore a diverse range of heritage practices, from the state-sanctioned preservation of historic landscapes, buildings and objects, to the collectively-performed cultural activities and social actions of contemporary life. The study of these practices is framed by scholarly theories and concepts of heritage, including critical debates surrounding: the rise of the ‘heritage industry’; history versus heritage; and the role of heritage in producing identity, community and human rights. Drawing on local case studies, including Liverpool’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, students critically assess the production, control and ownership of heritage on a local, national and global level.

Public Engagement: Inclusion, education and campaigns for social change (15 credits)

The distinctive collections and environments of museum and heritage organisations can provide unique opportunities to promote inclusion and equality, both within and beyond the sites on which they are located. This module explores the methods employed by museums to include the public in the creation of socially-relevant exhibitions and to engage the public in meaningful learning experiences. NML’s experienced curatorial and educational staff share their expertise in developing resources, events, environments and partnerships that address issues of social justice and human rights on a local and global level. Throughout the module, students acquire a comprehensive understanding of inclusion and education in a museological context, as well as the ability to critically assess the potential of museums and heritage organisations to act as agents for social and political change.

Safeguarding for the Future: Ethical practices of collection management (15 credits)

The management and care of collections is a practice that cuts across the many roles and activities of museums and heritage organisations. This module aims to provide the knowledge and skills required to work directly with collections of varying types, from fine art, through social history, to natural science. Through a series of intensive seminars, delivered by NML’s expert collections management staff, students gain practical experience of the full range of collections management activities including: acquisitions and disposals, security and access, documentation and labelling, loan procedures, handling packing and movement, display and storage, and environmental control. Throughout the module students are encouraged to reflect critically on these practices, by examining the legal and ethical aspects of collection management and exploring the challenges that these regulations can raise in the wider museum context.

Sustainable Development: Public demand and public funding (15 credits)

Museums today are structurally complex organisations that draw on a variety of public, private and self-generated funding streams to sustain their collections, buildings, staff and other important resources. This module provides and introduction to these inter-related processes of income generation and resource development, focussing in particular on the processes and attendant responsibilities of public funding. NML’s professional team of development and communication staff contribute guest seminars exploring strategies of resource development including: funding sources and fundraising, visitor research and audience development, marketing and advocacy, temporary and touring exhibitions, and trading through catering and retail. These real-world case studies provide students with up-to-date knowledge of current practice in museum development, as well as the opportunity to explore critical issues, like ethical trading and shared values in funding partnerships.

In addition to taught modules, all students also undertake a 15-credit practical Learning Project with a museum or heritage organisation, providing valuable, hands-on experience of professional practice.

Students who wish to progress to the MA undertake the 15-credit Dissertation Preparation module, which focuses on the research methods and skills relevant to the museum and heritage discipline, and complete a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation (60 credits) on a research topic of their choice.

Entry Requirements

Normally a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degrees across a wide variety of academic disciplines including those new to the discipline of Museum and Heritage Studies.


Applications from students who do not hold a 1st or 2:1 Honours Degree (or equivalent) may be asked to demonstrate potential to achieve a Masters award via a sample of academic writing and interview before an offer is made.

International Entry Requirements

For students whose first language is not English there is a language requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall (reading 6, writing 6), TOEFL ibt 87, or other equivalent recognised English language qualification.

For additional information about country specific entry requirements visit the your country pages

Teaching and Research

A core feature of the MA Museum and Heritage Studies programme is on-site learning in the museum environment. Students benefit from an embedded series of guided tours, guest seminars, practical training workshops and study visits, all of which have been uniquely-tailored to our programme. Students also have exclusive access to behind-the-scenes areas of NML such as conservation studios and collection storage environments. In addition to these on-site learning opportunities, all MA Museum and Heritage Studies students have access to the full range of learning and study environments, IT facilities and information resources offered by Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus and Hope Park.

Teaching takes place at Hope' Creative Campus and across NML venues, including the World Museum Liverpool, the Museum of Liverpool, the International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum (including the UK Border Force National Museum), the Walker Art Gallery, the Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House. These sites stretch from the Albert Dock and Pier Head on Liverpool’s waterfront to the historical cultural quarter on William Brown Street, encompassing the full scope of the World Heritage City. Our distinctive programme ensures that our students are immersed in the unrivalled wealth of historical and cultural resources that Liverpool has to offer.

The programme is delivered by a cross-faculty team of academic staff with subject expertise in museum and heritage studies, history and art-history. Regular contributions from NML staff offer valuable professional perspective and expertise in a variety of museum roles. Staff members are also active researchers publishing and contributing up-to-date knowledge to their chosen field. Dissertation supervision is offered across a wide range of topics and students are invited to engage with the thriving programme of seminars, guest lectures and other events led by Hope’s various research centres.


Tuition fees for Home/EU students for 2018/19 are:



We offer a number of scholarships and loans to help fund your postgraduate studies. Visit our scholarships pages for more details.



If you are an international student, visit our international scholarships pages.


The programme prepares students for a variety of professional roles in the Museum and Heritage sector including curating, education, outreach, collections management, marketing and development. Opportunities to develop hands-on experience, through practical workshops and museum-based Learning Projects, equip students with valuable, sector-specific, professional skills. Equally, the programme’s emphasis on critical issues and contexts, provides students with the analytical skills to pursue further research in the field, whether as a museum and heritage professional or as a doctoral student.

Successful graduates will possess a valuable range of knowledge, skills and experience that is highly relevant to employment and career progression in: national and regional public museums and galleries; historic houses and stately homes; private museums and galleries; museum and heritage funding agencies; museum and heritage consultancies; historical associations; auction houses; libraries and archives; private and corporate collections; art centres; science centres; planetaria; natural history/environmental education centres; and industrial heritage sites.