Museum Studies – Master of Arts

Prepare to meet the challenges of working in cultural organisations with the Master of Arts (Museum Studies). Build on your undergraduate study and complete advanced research of an aspect of museum studies that interests you.

Where you can study

Distance and online

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Not open to international students

Specialise in Museum Studies for your Master of Arts at Massey

With a Massey Master of Arts (Museum Studies), you’ll be prepared to deal with contemporary issues. Learn how museums, galleries and indigenous cultural centres maintain heritage collections and deliver high-quality community services.

Enhance your career

Bridge your previous academic study and professional work. Whether that be in a museum, gallery or other cultural or heritage organisation. You’ll advance your knowledge and abilities in heritage management and bicultural practices in the heritage sector. You'll build experience in problem-solving and working in interdisciplinary teams.

Complete your MA in three semesters 

Massey’s Master of Arts is 180 credits. This means you can complete an MA in three semesters of full-time study. If you study part-time, an MA will normally take three years to complete.

A Master of Arts in Museum Studies is a good fit if you:

  • have an undergraduate degree in a related area
  • want to be more effective in your work in an organisation with a cultural or heritage focus
  • want to investigate a particular aspect of museum studies for your thesis or research report.

Planning information

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

Not all courses are available in each semester.

The Master of Arts (Museum Studies) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.

Grades achieved in the first 60 credits will determine eligibility for progression to Part Two.

  • For the coursework pathway a minimum B grade average is required.
  • For the research pathway a minimum B+ grade average is required.

If you enrol in a thesis, you commence with Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 1, followed by Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 in the next enrolment period. Both parts combine to meet the thesis requirements with a single grade assigned to each part.

If the thesis cannot be submitted at the end of the initial Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 enrolment, you must re-enrol in Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 and pay fees each semester until submission is made.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Part One: Coursework Pathway (120 credits) or Research Pathway (Between 60 and 90 credits)

Compulsory course

Course code: 150715 Taonga Tuku Iho: Heritage Aotearoa 30 credits

An examination of the dynamics of Māori culture and custom as part of the Aotearoa/New Zealand heritage. Particular emphasis is placed on the significance of land, language, oral tradition, the marae, art, and the Treaty of Waitangi, as well as an examination of the role of government in heritage through a study of legislation, policy and programmes. Case studies will focus on conservation, maintenance, sustainability and revitalisation.

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Subject courses

Course code: 167742 Collection Management 30 credits

An examination of the following areas of museological theory and practice: material culture; recent research into private collecting; preventive conservation; collection management policy and practice; contemporary collection management issues including collection rationalisation, contemporary collecting, and the changing roles of curators and collection managers.

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Course code: 167743 Museum Management 30 credits

An examination of museum organisation, governance, policy development, strategic planning, marketing, financial management, project management and personnel management. Practical skills in budgeting, grant writing, reports and presentations will be taught.

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Course code: 167744 Museums and the Public 30 credits

An examination of the philosophy, strategies and practical processes of effectively interpreting and communicating museum programmes for a variety of audiences.

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Part Two: Coursework Pathway

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 167890 Advanced Research Practicum 60 credits

A single semester internship at an approved museum or other heritage organisation, including marae. Students wishing to enrol in this course should contact the programme coordinator at the earliest opportunity. Students must work full-time on this practicum which may be used to complement 167.896, thus forming a single project worth 120 credits.

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Course code: 167896 Research Report Museum Studies (60) 60 credits

Students intending to enrol in this course should write to the programme coordinator of Museum Studies at the earliest opportunity. A dissertation proposal must be submitted by 1 April in the year of enrolment and approved by the Museum Studies Research Committee. A dissertation of not more than 20,000 words must be submitted by 10 October in the year of enrolment.

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Part Two: Research Pathway

Choose between 90 and 120 credits from
Course code: 167816 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 167817 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Corequisites: 167816

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Course code: 167881 Thesis 90 Credit Part 1 45 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 167882 Thesis 90 Credit Part 2 45 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Corequisites: 167881

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Course code: 167883 Thesis 90 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

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Course code: 167899 Thesis 120 credits

Any student planning to enrol in the MA Thesis should advise the programme coordinator of Museum Studies in writing in the year before enrolment. A local supervisor may also be arranged. Students may enrol part-time and complete the thesis over two years. A thesis of approximately 30,000 words will be submitted. A thesis proposal must be submitted before 1 April in the year of enrolment and approved by the Museum Studies Research Committee. Selection of a thesis supervisor should be discussed with the programme coordinator of Museum Studies.

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

To enter the Master of Arts (Museum Studies) you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Bachelor of Arts degree (or equivalent) with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, with at least a B grade average across the 200/300 level major courses

  • a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with a subject in the intended postgraduate subject or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts with an endorsement in the intended postgraduate subject, or an equivalent qualification,with at least a B+ grade average across the 700-level courses for entry to the Research Pathway or a B grade average across the 700-level courses for entry to the Coursework Pathway.

If you have a BA (Hons) or PGDipArts in the intended Master of Arts subject as outlined above, you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification in accordance with the limits specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations.

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University. 

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

Our graduates are employed in museums, galleries and cultural centres but may also work as heritage field officers or cultural policy advisers for government and non-government agencies.

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