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  • No. 1 in Australia

    Our graduates are ranked 1st in Australia and 5th in the world for employability by the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019.

Overview

Develop a deep understanding of the core historical and theoretical developments in museum and heritage studies as well as knowledge of current practice and debates.

Learn the frameworks for managing collections and sites, and develop a practical understanding of the modes of interpretation adopted in the museum and heritage sector. Gain object and site research techniques, and learn how to conduct significance assessment, collection management and archival research and display, as well as contribute to heritage studies and conservation management plans.

Discover how meaning is constructed in museums and at heritage sites through material objects, cultural practices, exhibits, education and public programs. Understand how the public engages and values museums and heritage, including sites of trauma, commemoration and memorialisation.

Professional placements are a vital part of the master’s degree and graduate diploma, offering you authentic sector-based experience. Placements are project based and allow you to work under a supervisor in a host organisation.

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for postgraduate study for eligible domestic students. This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSPs are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 11 February of the commencing year (to be considered for CSP, you must apply by 15 January)

Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year (to be considered for CSP, you must apply by 30 June)

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year
Semester 2
- 30 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

To qualify for the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies you must complete 72 credit points, including:

  • a minimum of 24 credit points of core units of study; and
  • a minimum of 18 credit points of core elective units of study; and 
  • a maximum of 24 credit points of elective units of study. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator a maximum of 12 credit points of elective units can be taken from units of study outside those listed in the Museum and Heritage Studies subject area of the Postgraduate Unit of Study Table, including a maximum of 6 credit points from units of study offered by other faculties; and
  • at least 6 credit points of capstone units of study.

Recognition of Prior Learning / credit for previous studies is available for this course, refer to Admission requirement below.

Completion requirement

Under normal progression, a full-time student completes prescribed units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester. Part-time students may undertake prescribed units of study up to the value of 12 credit points per semester. You are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for your units of study.

Capstone (compulsory project)

The Master’s degree offers a choice of professional and research tracks through its capstone options:

  • an internship placement which allows you to gain hands on experience by undertaking a supervised project based in a recognised, gallery, museum or heritage or arts organisation; or
  • research and writing towards a dissertation of 12,000 words on an approved topic, under the supervision of an academic member of staff.

Internship placements are project-based and allow you to work under a supervisor in a host organization. The placements are actively supported by the program and require academic work that allows for the development of a clear sense of the relationship between theory and practice.

In the dissertation pathway, you are encouraged to identify a research question that contributes to or extends existing knowledge in the field, develop an appropriate research design to address the chosen question and write a scholarly account of the results arising from the project.

Admission requirement

Entry in the 1 year or 1.5 year degree program is determined by the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) criteria below:

Admission to candidature for the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies (1.5 years full-time) requires:

  • a bachelor's degree with a major in one of Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Classics and Ancient History, Cultural Geography, Cultural Studies, Education, English, Gender Studies, History, Indigenous Studies or another major with an equivalent skills and knowledge base; and a minimum credit (65%) average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification.

Admission to candidature for the Master of Museum & Heritage Studies (1 year full-time) requires:

  • completion of the requirements for the embedded Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Studies with a minimum credit (65%) average, or an equivalent qualification; or
  • an Honours degree in a relevant discipline; or
  • relevant professional work experience and a bachelor's degree with a minimum credit (65%) average or an equivalent qualification.

If you do not meet the requirements listed above for direct entry to the Master’s degree, you may be able to enter via a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in the same subject area and upgrade to the Master’s after successful completion of the shorter course.

Career Pathways

This unique course will offer graduates opportunities to pursue a career in museum education, public programs administration, collection management, heritage site interpretation, community organisations, protected area management agencies, Indigenous land councils, and across the cultural sector in policy and planning. Employers value our graduates because they demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, abide by strong professional and ethical values and are able to engage with current debates about the place of humanities in public life.

Graduates of the program will have developed the knowledge base and skills necessary for modern museum and heritage practice and research by investigating the theory and history of tangible and intangible aspects of cultural heritage and the collecting of cultural and natural objects, methods of display and interpretation within the evolving nature of the museum as a concept and as an organization. They will also have experienced meaningful professional practice within the museum and heritage sector, which is increasingly becoming a pre-requisite for a career in these highly competitive areas.

Professional skills gained by graduates include:

  • A contextual understanding of core historical and theoretical developments in museum and heritage studies;
  • A theoretical overview of frameworks for managing collections and sites and a practical understanding of the modes of interpretation used in the museum and heritage sector;
  • An ability to undertake object and site research, significance assessment, archival research and exhibition development and to contribute to heritage studies and conservation management plans;
  • A broad understanding of the need for and practice of personal and professional integrity and ethical behaviour and of its particular importance in this field.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.