Museum Studies PhD

Apply for a PhD in Museum Studies
How to Apply

Make sure we offer PhD supervision in the area in which you want to work - search our staff research interests


Download and save the research proposal form. Complete all sections of the form telling us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing and how, with reference to existing practice and research, it constitutes an original investigation.

When you are ready to apply for your place you will need to upload the form to the Research Proposal section of your online application form.

You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.


Prepare your supporting documents - with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:

  • include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
  • international applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used and, where possible, an indication of their class ranking/position in class
  • supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation

You must also provide contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme

4. Submit your online application

The School of Museum Studies is a world-leading hub for research, teaching, thinking, debate and practice. Founded in 1966 it has played an influential role in the reinvention of museological and heritage theory and practice.

Our Research Degrees

The School of Museum Studies offers supervision for the degree of:

This degree is offered via two routes a standard PhD and a practice-centred PhD.

Supervision and Research Areas

We offer PhD supervision in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

  • Art and its institutions: histories and practices
  • Cultural Heritage and Cultural Practice
  • Culture: Politics & Representation
  • Museums: Design, Space and Innovation
  • Museums: Engagement and Participation
  • Museums: Experience and Affect
  • Museums, Heritage sites and Cultural Institutions: History and Memory
  • Museums: Social Agency and Organisational Change
  • Museum Work: Cultures and Practices

Find a supervisor in your research area

Entry Requirements and Fees

Applicants must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelors) degree with at least first class or upper second class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution and a first class or 2:1 equivalent for a Masters degree.

  • You should have a good knowledge of the field of Museum Studies, however, we recognise that knowledge acquired in other fields – from palaeontology to Modern Languages – can serve as a strong foundation for PhD study of museums, galleries and heritage.
  • Students undertaking a PhD in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Practice will usually be working professionals. We will also consider individuals working outside of these formal relationships on the basis of their proposal or an agreed relationship with a museum or heritage organisation. We will consider individuals working in peripheral or commercial organisations associated with this sector (commercial gallery managers, trustees, environmental scientists, tourism officers and so on). We will consider non-professionals where the project has a strong practice-based element (such as a collection or heritage survey).

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements

Tuition fees vary according to the applicant's fee status (UK, EU, or international) and the mode of study (full-time or distance learning).

See current course fees

Studentships and Funding

Funded PhD studentships and other funding opportunities are advertised as they become available.

See current studentships and funding

PhD Description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time/distance learning).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time/distance learning) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs Explained - Description and Requirements

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