University of Chester

Programme Specification
Museums Practice MSc
2017 - 2018

Master of Science

Museums Practice

Museums Practice University Centre Shrewsbury

University of Chester

University Centre Shrewsbury

University Centre Shrewsbury

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year (full-time); 2 years (part-time)

6 Years

Annual - September

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities History and Archaeology

There is currently no relevant Master’s Level Benchmark Statement for Museology. However, many of the principles expressed in the undergraduate Benchmark Statement for History are appropriate and are embraced within the outcomes detailed below. The MSc programmes will accord with the descriptor for a qualification at Master’s level included in the QAA’s ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’ (second edition, August 2008), and with the more detailed description of defining characteristics in the QAA’s ‘Master’s Degree Characteristics’ (March 2010). We have also considered the QAA’s overview of opinions on the possibility of developing benchmarks for academic programmes as master’s level, ‘Securing and maintaining academic standards: benchmarking M-level programmes’ (February 2006) and the QAA’s ‘Report on round table discussion meeting: “UK Master’s 2010 and Beyond” (December 2007).

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MSc Museums Practice

Wednesday 28th January 2015

  • To offer suitably qualified students the opportunity to explore and critically examine, within the framework of a taught postgraduate programme, the advanced study of museology and museums studies.
  • To be informed by, and contribute to, the broader continuing academic debates on the study of past human societies and the importance of the past in the present through the investigation of material culture, museological contexts and museums practice.
  • To provide graduate students with the opportunity to develop an independent extended piece of scholarly research into some aspect of museology and/or museums studies.
  • To make available to students the particular benefits which come from the wide range of resources developed by the University of Chester and University Centre Shrewsbury within their regions for research in museology and museums studies.
  • To prepare students for postgraduate research in museology at Master/Doctor of Philosophy level and beyond as self-directed scholars and researchers.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature and value of museology and an appreciation of the scholarly study of museology’s interaction with society.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of selected themes and issues, examined in their national, regional or local contexts.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the range, nature and value of primary and secondary sources, theories and methodologies for the study of museological subjects.

Demonstrate the ability to read and use material evidence and (where appropriate) other sources both critically and empathetically while addressing content, context and perspective.

Demonstrate the capacity to plan, conduct and present a programme of original research. 

Apply scholarly conventions.

Demonstrate the skills of the researcher including bibliographical skills, selection and synthesis of primary and secondary sources and the ability to provide original analysis in relation to questions appropriate to the discipline.

Demonstrate the above key skills within a professional environment or as required for continuing professional development.

Demonstrate the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment or further professional development requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.

Demonstrate self-discipline and self-direction in their work with others in a reasoned way.

Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

Use information technology as and when appropriate.

Demonstrate analytical ability and the capacity to consider and solve problems.

Demonstrate intellectual integrity and maturity, empathy and insight.

Students must register for the MSc target award, but Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate are available as exit awards.

 

PG Certificate Museums Practice (60 credits)  :  Students exiting with a Postgraduate Certificate will have completed three, 20-credit core modules: HI7204 (Collections Management), HI7201 (Research Skills in Heritage) and HI7205 (Interpretation Practice).

PG Diploma Museums Practice (120 credits) :    Students exiting with a Postgraduate Diploma will have completed the four core, 20-credit modules: HI7204 (Collections Management), HI7201 (Research Skills in Heritage), HI7205 (Interpretation Practice) and HI7203 (Research Essay), plus the 40-credit core module HI7206 (Research Project).  

MSc Museums Practice (180 credits)  :  Students take the three, 20-credit core modules HI7204 (Collections Management), HI7201 (Research Skills in Heritage) and HI7205 (Interpretation Practice), the 40-credit core module HI7206 (Research Project) and the 80-credit module HI7202 (Dissertation). 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
HI7201 7 Research Skills in Heritage 20 Comp
HI7202 7 Dissertation 80 Comp
HI7203 7 Research Essay 20 Optional
HI7204 7 Collections Management 20 Comp
HI7205 7 Interpretation Practice 20 Comp
HI7206 7 Research Project (MP) 40 Comp

  • 60 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Certificate
  • 120 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Postgraduate Diploma
  • 180 credits at Level 7 entitles the student to a Masters degree

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Possession of a good, second class Honours degree in a relevant discipline or an equivalent qualification is required.  Equivalence will be reviewed by an interview panel and prior experience in the museum and heritage sectors will be taken into account alongside academic qualifications. The interview panel also reserves the right to ask potential candidates to submit a piece of written work for consideration, if appropriate.  Decisions concerning the allocation of credit, either for admission or advanced standing, will be the responsibility of a Credit Allocation Panel.  Credit value will be given for appropriate certificated or experiential learning completed within the previous five years and through which an applicant can demonstrate prior achievement of learning outcomes related to one or more of the programme's modules.  A student seeking advanced standing must apply before enrolment.

There is currently no relevant Master’s Level Benchmark Statement for Museology. However, many of the principles expressed in the undergraduate Benchmark Statement for History are appropriate and are embraced within the outcomes detailed below. The MSc programmes will accord with the descriptor for a qualification at Master’s level included in the QAA’s ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’ (second edition, August 2008), and with the more detailed description of defining characteristics in the QAA’s ‘Master’s Degree Characteristics’ (March 2010). We have also considered the QAA’s overview of opinions on the possibility of developing benchmarks for academic programmes as master’s level, ‘Securing and maintaining academic standards: benchmarking M-level programmes’ (February 2006) and the QAA’s ‘Report on round table discussion meeting: “UK Master’s 2010 and Beyond” (December 2007).

Acquisition of core knowledge, themes and debates is achieved through lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and private study, supplemented where appropriate by field visits. The balance of these delivery methods will be tailored appropriately for each module. The focus will be on small-group teaching via seminars, supported by individual tutorials in order to engage students with current debates, methods and discoveries. Workshops and field visits will engage students with primary museological data as appropriate.

The Dissertation (or Research Essay) will be taught by one-to-one tutorial supervision following on from an initial group tutorial. Meanwhile, all delivery methods and private study will be enhanced via the use of VLE resources that will be fully utilised in accordance with proven customary practice for University of Chester undergraduate programmes in the Department of History and Archaeology.

The core, 20-credit module, HI7205 (Interpretation Practice), is assessed by two, 2000-word assignments. The core, 20-credit module, HI7201 (Research Skills), is assessed by two, 1000-word written assignments and a 2000-word Skills Passport. The Skills Passport enables students to select and tailor their research skills training from a selection available in any given year. HI7204 (Collections Management) is assessed by a single, 4000-word essay or report. The 40-credit module, HI7206 (Research Project) is assessed by an 8000-word project report that will comprise a report (including data-acquisition, presentation, analysis, interpretation and reflection) of an investigation or production of a particular element in museological method or practice (this may include the creation of museum displays, exhibitions or other museum practices such as outreach/education packs).

HI7202 (Dissertation) is assessed by a 16,000-word dissertation. HI7203 (Research Essay) is taken by students wishing to exit with a PG Diploma instead of an MSc and is assessed by a single, 4000-word essay.

Reassessment will be as assessment.

Each component of assessment is determined by the practice of the Department of History and Archaeology’s established framework of level- related learning outcomes (listed in the programme handbooks) which, collectively, are designed to encourage students on each module to demonstrate their proficiency across the full range of skills contained within each outcome.  The modular learning outcomes are shaped by individual module aims and are level-related. Overall, the assessment framework is transparent and aligned to ensure equivalence between modules within the same Level.  Summative assessment uses Assessment Feedback Forms where the first marker’s written comments are complemented by a marking grid, and where the modular learning outcomes are matched to five levels of attainment (excellent, good, competent, weak, very weak), thereby providing absolute transparency for students in understanding the composition of their score.  Students also receive written feedback on their work (marginal annotations) to allow better understanding of how to improve and where they have excelled.

Following advice from a number of different External Examiners over the years, the Department of History and Archaeology decided in the interest of level-related parity to adopt generic Learning Outcomes at each Level.  This allows the LOs to be attuned to the Level-related criteria and, perhaps more importantly, ensure a consistent standard between core and optional modules alike.  Thus, for each module at the requisite Level the difference in student attainment would only be in the knowledge of the discipline content of each module. Again it was in the interest of parity that each assessment component should aim where relevant to meet all the LOs. 

On completion of this programme, a successful graduate will have acquired a range of communication and transferable skills (as embraced by both the educational aims of the programme and the programme outcomes - see above) valuable to their current or potential employers.  The critical skills students will have acquired and developed will enable them to interpret, analyse and evaluate a wider range of material evidence, museum displays and exhibitions relevant to a range of professional careers. The programmes’ graduates will also be highly motivated and proficient in the completion of complex projects to deadlines and through guided independent study. Graduates will have high-level research skills and the ability to apply their knowledge and research findings in a range of contexts. Those graduating from the programmes will also be able to construct and interrogate original ideas and reflect on their own abilities and skills.  

In the light of these characteristics, graduates from both Master’s pathways will be prepared for further research at Master/Doctor of Philosophy level in terms of both key skills and subject knowledge. The successful graduate would also have demonstrated the skills and characteristics as described in the FHEQ descriptor for an M-Level degree. Furthermore, the programme will prepare students for employment in the commercial, government and museum sectors. Both programmes offer specific experience relevant to work in the heritage industry and museums and may lead to employment in this sector.

The University Centre Shrewsbury respects the standard University policies regarding admissions, widening access and participation, equal opportunities and APL, as applied centrally by the University.  Consistent with the University's commitment to widening access and participation, the programme conforms to the University's flexible approach and welcomes applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. The University of Chester values the diversity of its student body and aims to promote quality of opportunity in all its activities.  All suitably-qualified students are welcome on this programme irrespective of race, gender, disability or age.  Every effort will be made to accommodate students with specific learning or physical needs and to ensure that all students benefit equally.  Each case will be examined individually and the University's Inclusion Plans will provide guidance and support, as appropriate.  International students who meet the admissions requirements are welcome and will enrich both the programme and the postgraduate community at the University; support and guidance are provided for international students at the institution, particularly through the International Student Welfare Officer.

Student Support and Guidance

All students are issued with a comprehensive Programme Handbook and a Module Handbook at the commencement of each module.  Students needing further advice are welcome to consult the Programme Leader (who acts as the Personal Academic Tutor for students on the programme), or the Module Tutor. 

Learning Resources

In addition to the extensive library resources available at the University Centre Shrewsbury students will be able to access resources held at the University of Chester and - via the SCONUL and NOWAL schemes - a wide range of other academic libraries in the North West and Midlands including those at the universities found in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. Students will also benefit from the ability to experience collections management first hand at the heart of cultural institutions based in Shrewsbury and Shropshire and have access to reserve collections based at Ludlow for the purposes of research. VLE resources will be fully utilised in accordance with proven customary practice for University of Chester undergraduate programmes in history and archaeology.

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