Museum and Gallery Studies postgraduate studies at the University of St Andrews


Museum Studies postgraduate courses have been available at St Andrews since 1984 when the first Gallery Studies MLitt programme was established by Professor Martin Kemp. The present Museum and Gallery Studies course was introduced in 1990 and has helped establish St Andrews as Scotland’s leading centre for training and research in the heritage sector. For further information, please see our website and Facebook page: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/arthistory/prospective/pg/mgs/

The seaside location of this mediaeval town and university provides a beautiful setting for the study of museums, their history, purpose and contemporary development. Based in the School of Art History, we offer a range of full-time and part-time courses in Museum and Gallery Studies. Taught modules on the Theory and Practice of Museums are balanced with practical projects based either on the museum collections of this 600-year-old university or at a local museum or gallery. Structured visits are an essential part of the programme and we are well placed for visiting museums, art galleries, historic houses, ships and other heritage sites.


Museum and Gallery Studies students have their own space within the School of Art History, comprising a Study Centre with networked computer facilities and information resources, and a work-room for practical project and exhibition work.  The teaching takes place in the museum of the University of St Andrews.

University Collections

A particular benefit for students is access to the University’s extensive and varied museum collections. Many of the projects and exhibitions are undertaken by students make use of these collections, which include items dating back to the early days of the University from its founding in 1411.

They illustrate its history, teaching practices and associated personalities through archives, fine art and photography, furniture, equipment and specimens.




The one-year full-time Graduate Diploma/MLitt course starts in September each year.

It is aimed at students wanting to start a career in museum or gallery work, and at those looking for a mid-career change. Although the course is based in the School of Art History, applicants can have a degree in any subject. An essential and rewarding aspect of this programme is the opportunity for students to work together to create an exhibition at the University’s Gallery or the St Andrews Museum.


A part-time version of the Graduate Diploma/MLitt course is run every two years.

This course is aimed at museum and gallery employees (or committed volunteers) who wish to study while continuing with their work. If you are working in a museum or gallery, either paid or as a volunteer, you can use your practical experience towards the coursework and write up your professional activities for assessment to gain a Graduate Diploma in Museum and Gallery Studies.

Work is spread over two years and much of the coursework is done in the students’ own workplaces, but participants come to St Andrews for four one-week residential schools. These are held in January and June.

The part-time Graduate Diploma/MLitt course is a version of our successful and long-established full-time course and offers an overview of the purposes and activities of museums and galleries. It is open to applicants with a degree in any subject and to students without a degree but with considerable professional experience in a museum or gallery.

The Graduate Diploma can be converted to M.Litt. on the production of a dissertation of up to 15,000 words, submitted five months after the formal end of the taught course. To apply please go to the link at the bottom of this page to complete the online application form.

For more information please contact:         
Postgraduate Secretary
School of Art History
Tel: 01334 462414
Email: pgarthist@st-andrews.ac.uk

Higher Research Degrees

Opportunities are also available for study leading to higher research degrees in the form of MPhil and PhD

Building on the expertise established over many years from running the postgraduate course, the Institute will work with the sector to respond to the needs of museum and gallery professionals and will develop training initiatives, including courses for continuing professional development, and masterclasses to develop subject specialisms and expertise. For example, in 2008 we devised and ran a training day for Collections-based research, and in 2012 we commenced teaching a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Museum Studies at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi.