You will work through 4 compulsory modules in turn, with each consisting of a number of units. Each module is 16 weeks long (this can be broken down into approximately 15 hours’ work per week) allowing you to take a break of around 3 weeks between modules. You will submit work for assessment during each module, and will receive detailed feedback on your work. See an indicative timetable for April starters (pdf).
The modules are as follows:
Module 1 - Museum Communities and Contexts
Module 1 sets the context for the course by establishing some common ground. It begins by examining definitions of the museum and how these have changed, a discussion which naturally leads to a consideration of mission statements and management philosophy. We then contrast this view of the modern museum with our understanding of museum history. In particular, this discussion of history is concerned with its utility to present conceptualisations of the museum. This leads to a discussion of professionalism and ethics. Having established and contextualised the provision and purpose of museums, the module explores that most central of museum resources: the object. It goes on to introduce museum education and learning, community-related roles, the key public function of contributing to an inclusive society, and the challenges of the technological age. Module 1 is divided into 12 units of study. See the breakdown of units for Module 1.
To give you a sense of what you can expect from a module, you might like to take a look at a sample unit (pdf) from Module 1.
Module 2 - Managing Resources in the Museum
Museums are made up of a number of resources. These include people, infrastructures and collections and associated information. This module explores how these resources are acquired – and how and why they are maintained and developed. This module will help learners to define museum resources; identify how these resources are acquired; demonstrate why these should be developed; illustrate how resources are utilised and developed; relate these resources to changing contexts and audience development; apply concepts of strategic resource development to different museum contexts; evaluate existing examples of strategic resource development; and plan for strategic resource development in museums. This module explores issues relating to collection management, staffing issues, and preventive conservation more specifically. The module is divided into 12 units of study. See the breakdown of units for Module 2.
Module 3 - Museum Communication and Audiences
This module is a detailed course of study introducing the role of the museum in learning and the construction of meanings. It explores the theoretical and practice expertise necessary to develop the museum's educational potential, and considers a wide variety of media that can be used to facilitate communication and interpretation in the museum. Areas covered by the module include: processes and communities of interpretation; learning in museums; evaluation and visitor studies; museums as adaptive media; writing effective text; working with online media and interactive media; using people as interpretive media: storytelling and museum theatre. See the breakdown of units for Module 3.
Module 4 - Museum Projects: the Case of Exhibition and Interpretive Planning
This module offers students a chance to put their ideas, experiences, and theoretical tools into practice. This module is based on the development of a final project in the form of a written exhibition proposal, which encourages students to think broadly and creatively around a given interdisciplinary theme. It further allows students the chance to specialise in their own areas of interest and expertise. Areas covered by the module include a selection from the following: designing and planning an exhibition; analysing the space; the design brief; managing exhibitions and other projects; choosing objects; choosing media; and planning events and an education programme. See the breakdown of units for Module 4.
Dissertation (for Masters students only)
The Masters Dissertation module takes place over 6 months and is structured by 4 supervisions with a Dissertation Tutor, with support offered between supervisions as and when needed. During this time, you will be engaged in researching and writing on a research topic of your choice. We support and encourage research on a huge range of topics in the School, covering every area of museological thinking, practice, and analysis. This is your chance to delve in to your particular interests and extend your expertise, in whatever area this might be. For many, it is the most exciting part of the course, as a self-directed opportunity to contribute new ideas, new knowledge, or critique existing scholarship or practice at an advanced academic level. The dissertation is typically up to 15,000 words.
If you are registered for the Postgraduate Diploma, you will be awarded your qualification when you complete all 4 compulsory modules. If you register for the Master of Arts or Master of Science Degree, you must also complete the Masters Dissertation. A Master of Science (MSc) can be awarded in preference to a Master of Arts (MA) where your dissertation concerns a science collection or museum, or where the nature of the investigation can be termed ‘scientific’.