Advanced Study of Museums, Galleries and Heritage

Why study for a PhD at Leicester?

Study with us and you will become part of an internationally-renowned research community. In addition to encouraging high quality research, we support our students in developing the skills and the knowledge they need to pursue their chosen career, whether in universities and research organisations, or in the museum, gallery or heritage sectors.

PhD study offers a unique opportunity to undertake intensive and original research in a topic of your choosing. You will work independently on your project with the close support of two academic supervisors.  Studying at Leicester is very popular - the School holds the largest community of museum and heritage focused PhD researchers in the world. We attract high numbers of applications for a limited number of places. You can study full-time on campus (3 years) or part-time by distance learning (up to 6 years). Here are some examples of research undertaken by our current PhD students and here is some examples from our completed PhD students

Two routes to the PhD

The School offers two routes to the PhD. Both routes can support similar topics but they produce different kinds of outcomes and support different expectations:

The PhD in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies  follows the standard route to a PhD: a student works with a main supervisor to develop a research project, which he or she then develops over the remaining period of study. This kind of PhD can tackle any topic in the field of museums, galleries and heritage and students work closely with their supervisors.

The PhD in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Practice is a practice-centred PhD offering a PhD in which the theorisation and development of a practice-based element is the central focus. This route to the PhD was developed to support working senior professionals seeking to acquire advanced skills relevant to their professional lives and ongoing practice. It is designed for students working Distance Learning part-time but it may also be possible to undertake this degree by full-time study.

Both routes lead to the award of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Students can make a case to switch between these two routes and also have the flexibility to switch between full-time study and part-time study by distance learning should the need arise.  

Museum Studies research

Museum Studies is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field which embraces in its subject matter and methodologies aspects of most other academic disciplines. A PhD student working in this area operates in an unbounded intellectual space where it is possible to fuse different disciplinary perspectives. It is equally non-discriminatory in the range of methodologies it can deploy. These different approaches coalesce around an interest in museums, galleries, heritage, collections, material culture and representation. We have researchers working on contemporary art, palaeontology, urban planning, theatre, social justice, memory, emotion, and so on.

Be part of a thriving research community

As a research student you will become part of a thriving and friendly research environment. Students are encouraged to take part in and contribute to the research community through a range of activities including the School's well-attended 'Brown Bag' seminar programme, our annual Research Week, which brings together campus-based and distance learning students to discuss their research, and the Museological Review, a journal that is written and produced by students in the School. There will also be opportunities to communicate your research to a wider audience and in recent years students have planned, developed and held successful conferences at the School, including Museums Alive! (2014), Museum Metamorphosis (2013), Museum Utopias (2012), Curiouser and Curiouser (2011) and Materiality and Intangibility: Contested Zones (2009) each time attracting an international audience.


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