MA en Estudios museísticos

MA in Museum Studies

Key Points

  • Work permit while you study

  • Post Graduation Work Permit for 24 months

  • Start dates: September / January

  • Duration: 1 year

  • NFQ Level 9 qualification

  • Type: Full Time
  • Hours: Daytime
  • Tuition Fee: From € 16,080

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A one-year taught master’s degree (NFQ level 9), offered full-time through the Department of Archeology at University College Cork. The aim is to provide extensive academic and professional training in all aspects of museum design, management and education, encouraging students to critically reflect on the relevance of these institutions in the contemporary world. This master’s degree is designed for those who wish to enter the museum or heritage center profession in Ireland or abroad, or who wish to undertake doctoral research in museology and related fields. The course provides a balance of theory and practice for students from a variety of academic backgrounds, with an emphasis on graduates of archeology and history, and other closely related humanities and social science disciplines. The master’s program is made up of taught courses.

Program Structure

A 90-credit program comprised of taught modules (25 credits), two internships (20 credits), a museum exhibition (10 credits), and a research thesis (35 credits).

Five modules taught (5 credits each and Museum Placement 1 (10 credits):

Semester I

  • AR6022 The museum in the 21st century (5 credits)
  • Conservation of the AR6028 Museum (5 credits)
  • AR6025 Museums and the public (5 credits)

Semester II

  • AR6023 The museum environment (5 credits)
  • Museum Administration AR6032 (5 credits)
  • AR6026 Workplace 1 (10 credits)
  • AR6029 Workplace 2 (10 credits)

Students will do two museum internships (10 credits each) lasting four weeks each, where they will learn aspects of museum management, planning, design and practice, as well as the opportunity to work on a particular project, such as a exposition. Work placements begin towards the end of Semester II (March) and continue until June. The Department of Archeology will organize all student placements.

  • AR6030 The Exhibition Experience (10 credits)

Students will prepare a temporary museum exhibit on an agreed theme for a public hearing. This includes the necessary background research and cataloging of primary materials, the design and assembly of the exhibits, the preparation of an exhibit catalog, and a public launch and visitor survey. Work for this exhibition and its public launch takes place in early summer.

  • Dissertation AR6027 (35 credits)

Students will write a 20,000 word research thesis on an approved topic of their choice relevant to the museum sector. These can be standard studies based on research from primary sources or they can be based on practice, involving, for example, an exhibition, policy development, study of visitor experience, application of digital media, etc., or they can combine both approaches. The main period for thesis work is July-September. Students currently working in museums or who have recent museum experience are eligible to apply for a waiver from one of the internship modules.

  • Computerized instrumentation
  • Mathematics: signals and systems

Course practices

The master classes take place on Mondays and Tuesdays (except holidays) for six months, from October to March, with an average of six teaching hours each school week. Students will attend additional research trainings, workshops, and a series of day trips organized on different dates. The Archeology Department will organize all internships for students. The internships are unpaid and the costs of participation in terms of travel and accommodation are borne by the student, and will vary according to the location of the museum in question.


The taught modules are examined through continuous assessment, using a combination of class tests, presentations, essays, and projects. Job placements are assessed using a placement report binder, while the dissertation requires the submission of a 20,000 word written dissertation.

Who teaches this course

The master’s coordinators are Dr. Griffin Murray and Mr. John Sheehan (Department of Archeology), who teach the course together with Dr. Colin Rynne (Department of Archeology) and Dr. Karena Morton, as well as other National Museum of Ireland staff and several invited speakers

Why choose this course

This title represents the only museum training course offered by a tertiary institution in the Republic of Ireland. There is considerable activity in the sector, with over 40,000 members from 141 countries joining the International Council of Museums. In Ireland alone there are some 460 museums and heritage centers registered by the Irish Museum Associations. The diversity of museums at the international, national, regional / provincial and local levels creates a demand for training and viable employment prospects. This Master’s course will allow students to develop their knowledge and understanding of museum history, theory and practice, and will prepare them for future employment in this sector. It will also support the museum profession through initial training and ongoing professional development of existing staff.

Career opportunities

This program supports an internationally recognized profession, which has a strategic role in state policy on cultural heritage and tourism. Graduates will acquire a critical and systematic understanding of museum theory and practice. They will have gained direct experience of contemporary museum practices, procedures and policies, and will apply a critical awareness of current issues in the field (including professional ethics) to best professional practice. At the applied level, the student will acquire an awareness of everything that goes into the design and management of modern museums.

Graduates of this program work in the museum and heritage sector in Ireland, Great Britain, Europe, Canada, the United States and the Middle East. They work in Management, Education, Conservation and Administration of Museums.

Admission requirements

English requirements

English requirements

All graduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency. Certain tests (eg, IELTS, TOEFL, and Pearson PTE) have a three-year time limit on their validity and will apply. English language tests must be taken no more than three years prior to the start of a program.

Please note that Secure English Language Test (SELT) scores must be obtained in a single session of the corresponding qualification (for example, IELTS and TOEFL). We will not accept a combination of individual component scores from multiple tests.

Applicants who are nationals of a country that, according to the UCC, is predominantly English-speaking, or who have a degree or equivalent qualification that was taught in a country that is considered predominantly English-speaking, will normally be assumed to have met the language requirements of the UCC. However, in some circumstances, applicants may be required to present evidence of an English language qualification to satisfy the college program entry requirements.

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