Master of Museum and Heritage Studies

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The new Master of Museum and Heritage Studies degree is designed to equip graduates with professional knowledge and practical experience consistent with pathways to employment in museums and the growing area of local and global heritage. Now is an especially important time for research, teaching and debate within the discipline, as the museums and heritage industries are in a period of dynamic change and growth around the world. For students considering further study and an academic career, there is also a pathway to further research in a higher degree such as a PhD.

The program explores collections, cultural processes and strategies that societies use to conserve, communicate and engage with museums and heritage, both tangible (for example, artefacts, buildings, landscapes and monuments) and intangible (for example, memories, cultural practices, crafts, drama, songs and skills). It examines how objects and heritage places are contested, managed and conserved both in the past and today. The program is concerned with the material objects, cultural practices, events and performances through which meaning is constructed in museums and at heritage sites. It is interested in how the public engages with museums and heritage, including sites of trauma, commemoration and memorialisation, and how museums and heritage sites have become important components of economic and urban development strategies in many cities and regions around the world.

The learning experience of students in the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies is enriched by access to the wealth of resources offered by the University museum collections and their curatorial staff. The University also has strong academic and professional ties with a number of major institutions in Australia, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Australian Museum, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Living Museums.

In addition, the program fosters strong connections with academic and professional networks such as the International Council of Museums and Museums Australia.

Please note: The units of study listed below are subject to change and are to be used as a guide only.

CORE UNITS
MHST6901 Museums and Heritage: History and Theory
MHST6902 Museums and Heritage: Engaging Audiences
MHST6903 Managing Collections and Heritage Sites
MHST6904 Museums and Heritage: Objects and Places

CORE ELECTIVES
MUSM7035 Ethics of Cultural Property
MHST6915 Heritage Studies and Communities
MHST6914 Heritage Studies in Practice
MUSM7030 Exhibition Development
MUSM7036 Museums and the Digital
HRTG6901 The Idea of Heritage

ELECTIVES
ARHT6914 Art and Curatorship
ARHT6935 The Art Museum: Past, Present and Future
ARHT6953 Backstage at the Mitchell Library
ARIN6905 New Media Audiences
ARTS7000 Academic Communication for Postgraduates
COMP5114 Digital Media Fundamentals
GCST6901 Cultural Policy
HSTY6992 Monuments, Memory and History
JCTC6908 The Australian Jewish Experience
JCTC6100 Sites of Trauma, Landscapes of Genocide
MECO6901 Dealing with the Media
MMDE6001 History and Theory of New Media 1
SCLG6902 Doing Social Research
WMST6902 Arguing the Point
MHST6906 Internship Professional Placement

CAPSTONE
The Capstone component of the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies will consist of either an internship unit or two units of dissertation culminating in a piece of research scholarship of around 12,000 words.

MHST6905 Internship Project
MHST6907 Dissertation Part 1
MHST6908 Dissertation Part 2

Course outline

For an up-to-date list of units of study for this degree, please refer to the online postgraduate handbook.

Study plan


Candidates for the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies are required to complete 72 credit points including: (a) a minimum of 24 credit points of core units of study; and (b) a minimum of 18 credit points of core elective units of study; and (c) a maximum of 24 credit points of elective units of study; and (d) at least 6 credit points of capstone units of study.

Embedded courses

Further course information

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

This unique course will offer graduates opportunities to pursue careers in museum education, public programs administration, collection management, heritage site interpretation, community organizations, 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:

1. A contextual understanding of core historical and theoretical developments in museum and heritage studies;

2. 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;

3. 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;

4. 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.

Students have the option of completing internships as part of their degree. These placements are project-based and allow students 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.

Research Pathway students undertake an independent research project through the dissertation units. In their dissertation, students 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

Admission requirements

Admission to candidature for the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies requires:

(a) bachelor's degree with a major in one of Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Cultural Geography, Cultural Studies, Education, English, Gender Studies, History, Indigenous Studies or other major with 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; or

(b) 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.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, apply through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - click on the 'Apply now' icon on this page to proceed with your application.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply:

(i) directly to the University, via the International Office. For information about closing dates and application procedures, visit the International Office website; or

(ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent).

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Indicative postgraduate student contribution amount

This student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. If you are a Commonwealth supported student and was enrolled in a University course before 1 January 2013 your student contribution may differ.

Annual review for postgraduate student contribution amount

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

This 2014, tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student represents the fee that is payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2013 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review for postgraduate domestic tuition fee

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information in this prospectus, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents

Please note that if you are classified by the University as a Research Training Scheme student in accordance with the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2010, you will be exempt from the payment of any SCA or tuition fees for courses undertaken as part of a Research Masters degree and Research Doctoral degree. More information about your eligibility for this Scheme is available here.

International students

International tuition fees for postgraduate students

This 2014, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. The University's Future Students' webpage has further information about these additional incidental fees for postgraduate coursework students and postgraduate research students.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.