MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies

"The interdisciplinary nature of the graduate programme in the School is unparalleled"

In their words

Lisa Binder, Associate Curator, Museum for African Art, New York

Key facts

(Reseasech Excellence Framework 2014)

Whether your interest lies in museums, historic buildings, archaeological sites, landscapes or the material evidence of past lives more broadly, this course will equip you with the conceptual and analytical skills you need for a successful career in the heritage sector, in the UK or further afield.

The course will prepare you for advanced research into the global and local issues surrounding the management of cultural heritage, while also providing you with practical experience. The interdisciplinary nature of cultural heritage and museum studies means that if you have an interest in heritage and come from a background in history, archaeology, art history, literature or another related subject, this course will be suitable for you.

We are one of the leading centres in the world for the study of art and material culture, and the only centre in the UK concerned with the study of art worldwide. The impact of our research was rated second-highest in the UK for art history (REF2014).


This MA course combines the theory and practice of managing cultural heritage, exploring issues such as the presentation, conservation and interpretation of cultural heritage, as well as its changing definition and its relationship to forms of personal and political identity. The programme is tailored to respond to the local and international need for qualified, responsible and adaptable cultural heritage professionals with highly developed conceptual and analytical skills.

The Master’s is structured to enable you to explore the essentially interdisciplinary nature of cultural heritage and its management. The taught components of the course include aspects of archaeology, conservation, cultural resource management, heritage management, museum studies and other related fields, such as development studies and environmental studies, as well as architectural and art history. The programme also allows you to gain credits from a work placement, consolidating and acknowledging your experience in a relevant professional environment and readying you for future work in the field.

You will be taught by highly qualified and experienced researchers, lecturers and active heritage professionals. 

Course structure

You will take four core taught modules on this course: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Heritage; Interpretation and Participation in Museums and Heritage; World Heritage: Problems and Prospects, and a fourth module which will address particular issues in museum and heritage curation.

These modules address a wide variety of topics in cultural heritage and museology, both historic and contemporary – from the legacies of the colonial period to pressing debates of conservation and interpretation in the field today. You will also gain a solid understanding of issues in collecting and heritage within the UK as well as globally – from the role that museums play in forming national identities, to the rise of internationalism and UNESCO ‘World Heritage’.

As part of the course, you will also gain heritage management experience by undertaking a two-to-three-week work placement with an appropriate heritage organisation, which our staff will help you identify and arrange. You will then write an 8,000-word management plan on the basis of this placement, focusing on one heritage location, monument or group of objects. You will decide this in consultation with your placement organisation and your academic tutors.

Finally, you will write an independently researched dissertation of 12,000 words, allowing you to work intensively on a topic of your choice with the support and guidance of an appointed supervisor from the faculty throughout the research and writing process.

This course is also available on a part time basis.

Skills and experience

As a postgraduate student you can attend our weekly meetings in which staff and students discuss aspects of their research as it develops, as well as hear from visiting speakers from around the globe in our regular World Art Research Seminar series.

You will be based in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, meaning you will also be able to participate freely in the life of this internationally renowned museum, which hosts a variety of educational events, work opportunities and major exhibitions.


The four taught modules are worth 20 credits each and are assessed through written coursework essays. Your placement and associated management plan or project report (due in May) comprises 40 credits, while your dissertation, due in September, amounts to 60 credits.

Course tutors and research interests

Staff research interests include: museum and heritage studies; prehistoric/ancient art and archaeology; medieval and early Renaissance art; 18th- and 19th-century art and architecture; modern and contemporary art; art in the Mediterranean, northern and southern Europe, Britain and the USA, as well as the arts of Africa, Asia, the Pacific and South America.

Where next?

Many of our graduates take up posts in universities, museums, and the cultural and heritage sector across the world. You could also go on to work in art publishing and journalism, libraries and archives, auction houses and private galleries, and the media and travel industries. For more information visit

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 160 credits:

Name Code Credits


Museums house our most celebrated heritage, yet their role in the world is often questioned. For instance, it is clear that the worldwide recognition of archaeological heritage also encourages iconoclasm. Indeed, the archaeology of ancient monuments was often part of regimes put in place by colonial empires. Current debates in museums and heritage engage with this legacy of empire in order to decolonize our heritage. This module will enable you to engage with these debates by studying critical approaches to museums and heritage. You'll study the making of public museums in the nineteenth century; the development of the exhibitionary complex; the new museology; questions around ownership and repatriation; monuments and memorial museums; authenticity and authority; and the establishment of heritage regimes by UNESCO and national legislation. By presenting the most important debates in critical museum and heritage studies, this module will equip you with the required theoretical background for work in these institutions. Choosing your own subjects for seminar presentations, you can customise the module to suit your interests.




During this year, you will write a dissertation on a topic relevant to the practice and theory of your degree programme. You can choose your own topic, subject to the approval of the Course Director. You can explore any aspect of museum or heritage studies as long as it engages with a question on either practical or theoretical aspects of museums or heritage. You will research and write the dissertation independently, though with the support of an appointed supervisor. The dissertation allows you to focus on an aspect of museums and heritage that enables you to raise your profile as a competent professional and future employee.




On this module, you will gain direct experience of working in the heritage and museum sector. The exact details of your placement will be worked out with the module organiser, using - where possible - our connections with a range of museum and heritage organisations in Norwich, Norfolk, and East Anglia. There is also the possibility for you to undertake your work placement elsewhere if you wish, subject to appropriate approval and arrangements. At the end of the module, you will submit a written piece of work developed directly from your individual placement. This may be a professional piece of writing, such as a policy document, or a more reflexive piece of work, like a learning journal. Flexibility is built into this module in order to respond to individual student interests and to contemporary needs and issues in the professional sector.




"We offer active participative experiences rather than just opening the doors" (Michael Day, CEO Historic Royal Palaces, 2017). Central to Museums and cultural heritage institutions are a shared set of practices relating to their public presentation. In this module, you'll focus on the role of interpretation in cultural institutions, and vice versa. You'll investigate how museums and heritage sites engage with their audiences, and who these audiences are. Access, understood in its broadest sense, involves all facets of work in the cultural sector, but presents unique issues as well, which you will examine in relation to academic theory, vocational skills, and topical research and debates.




World heritage has become a dominant concept in the social and scholarly fields of cultural heritage. It informs a diverse range of interpretive, political, legal, economic, and touristic activity. The rise of internationalism in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has gone a long way in sustaining ideas and practices that inform 'global' heritage. These ideas and practices have been elaborated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and have been made tangible, in many instances, as World Heritage Sites. The centrality of world heritage to UNESCO and related organisations sets up a range of key questions that this module addresses: What are the universalistic underpinnings of the concept of world heritage and how do these play out in different contexts? How do World Heritage Sites and UNESCO figure in the field of Cultural Heritage Studies? How have exponents of different disciplines approached the uneven presence of world heritage in various historical and geo-cultural milieus? Through a full and critical engagement with such questions, you should be able to identify various scales of problems as well as prospects in world heritage. In its facilitation of informed and imaginative responses to these, the module could propel you towards an on-going participation in and commitment to the field of Cultural Heritage Studies.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


You will be introduced to major issues in the architectural, social and cultural history of the English country house, as well as its interpretation and display. You will be taught through weekly seminar classes, which centre on the discussion of key texts and the issues they raise, together with visits to several houses and museums. Topics addressed will include the design, construction and costs of country houses, as well as their spatial and social character; the historic interior and its interpretation; the significance of the villa; the landscape garden; the city, the country house and early modern sociability, and the presentation and display of the country house as a visitor attraction.




This module introduces you to the theoretical and practical study of digital heritage and archiving, through an engagement with the collections of the East Anglian Film Archive and the British Archive for Contemporary Writing. It will address theoretical developments in cultural heritage and digital humanities, comparing traditional approaches to archival development with contemporary thinking surrounding archival modes of production, cutting edge imaging techniques, and issues surrounding access to digital archival resources. The module will allow you to explore practical issues of collection management and administration, including collection development, appraisal and accessioning policies, cataloguing and accessing data, copyright and licensing issues, and ethics and standards in print and media archives. It will take you through the lifecycle of the archival artefact: storage, conservation and restoration; selection, transportation and handling; digitisation, metadata creation and file storage; and digital preservation and data migration. At the end of the module you will have a good understanding of key issues and processes within the archive sector, and be in a position to apply for internships or volunteer opportunities within UEA Archives or other heritage organisations.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • Cover Up

    Mummies' bodies tell historians a lot about ancient Egypt. At UEA we're unwrapping Egypt's past using a surprising source - mummies' bandages.

    Read it Cover Up
  • At A Crossroads

    Since 2011, researchers from UEA’s Sainsbury Research Unit have been conducting yearly archaeological field trips to the banks of the Niger River in northern Benin, West Africa, as part of the Crossroads of Empires research project.

    Read it At A Crossroads
  • Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich

    Fifty-eight parish churches are known to have stood within the walls of medieval Norwich. Despite damage and loss, thirty-one remain today, which is the largest concentration of urban medieval churches north of the Alps.

    Read it Medieval Parish Churches of Norwich
  • Spirits of Clay

    Dogu – the enigmatic, beautifully-sculpted clay figurines found abundantly throughout Japan – have fascinated archaeologists for over a century.

    Read it Spirits of Clay
  • Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

    The Sainsbury Centre is one of the most prominent university art galleries in Britain, and a major national centre for the study and presentation of art.

    Read it Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
  • The Mummy: what our obsession with ancient Egypt reveals 

    Tut-mania reigned in the 1920s – and keeps returning to haunt us.

    Read it The Mummy: what our obsession with ancient Egypt reveals 

    Your University questions, answered

    Read it #ASKUEA

    Whether you want to diversify or specialise – explore your options.


Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


Interviews are required for students applying to the MA in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies . If you are living overseas, these may be undertaken by telephone at a mutually convenient time.  Please note that applicants who have not yet met the English Language requirement will still be expected to conduct an interview in English.


This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the university directly for further information.


All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Admissions Office and then forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550 (full time)
  • International Students: £15,800 (full time)

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

There are a variety of scholarships, studentships and other awards available to those applying for places on our taught postgraduate degrees.

Click on the link below to see what is currently available.

Funding for Masters Degrees and Diplomas

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515