• CollegeChelsea
  • Start dateOctober 2018
  • Course length1 year (full time)

MA Curating & Collections

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts focuses on developing the skills needed to curate a range of art and design objects within the context of public and private collections.

You will work alongside the established curatorial team at Chelsea Space, our on-site gallery. You will handle a range of collections held by UAL, which will help you explore current debates and practices in curating.

The UAL collections include Chelsea's Special Collections, which have a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art and design, Camberwell's ILEA collection of ceramics and glassware and Central Saint Martins' Museum and Study Collection, which include early printed books, prints, illuminated manuscripts, embroideries, 1920s German film posters, textiles and garments.

Watch the course video

Dr David Dibosa and Donald Smith talk about MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea.

Course detail

Content: what students can expect

  • Practical skills to sit alongside critical reflection that will help you develop a balanced approach to curatorial methods
  • A course that focuses on working with contemporary and historic collections, exhibition design, concept development, marketing, press releases and budgeting
  • To explore current critical debates, keeping up to date on issues such as participation, the artist-curator dynamic and thinking about the public realm
  • Our curatorial team at Chelsea Space to provide training within an active and supportive curatorial environment, engaging you with the best examples of contemporary practice
  • To have access to the Chelsea library Special Collections, which have a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art and design
  • To handle a range of collections held by the UAL, including Camberwell's ILEA collection of ceramics and glassware and Central Saint Martins' Museum and Study Collection


  • Phase 1: Analysis of curatorial practices
  • Phase 2: Methods of curatorial display
  • Phase 3: Enacting curatorial strategies

Throughout the 3 assessed units of the course, you will study in the following ways:

  • Exhibition studio workshop: practical sessions focusing on exhibition-making
  • Curatorial studies: ‘think-tank’ sessions focusing on historical and theoretical framing of curatorial practice
  • Collections visits: engagement with museums, events, exhibitions and displays
  • Lecture programme: lectures from professors, readers and other invited speakers

During the course, you will participate in individual and group tutorials developing your skills through the taught sessions alongside the professional practice activity with staff at Chelsea Space. Individual research will be guided to help you make the most of the Special Collections, as well as, library and learning resources across UAL.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Collaborative work with peers
  • Gallery, museum and other visits
  • Presentations and crits
  • Research topic groups
  • Self-directed study and research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Visiting artist and practitioner talks and tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Critical writing
  • Presentations
  • Project portfolios


How to apply

2018/19 entry

Applicants can apply for this course using our online application form.


Application deadline

The home / EU deadline is midday, Tuesday 31 July 2018.

There is no deadline for international applications. Students should apply as early as possible.

Further information about the application process

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Personal statement
  • Study plan
  • CV (curriculum vitae)

The course leader will review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree in a related subject or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Study plan

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Study Plan

The study plan is a statement of approximately 800 words describing your current practice and an opportunity for you to explore potential areas that you want to develop in your studies. 

The plan is the starting point for discussions about your postgraduate studies and will evolve during the time you study with us.

When writing your plan you are not expected to have complete answers to all the questions. 

However, you should be able to:

  • Examine your knowledge and experience in relation to your practice
  • Identify questions and areas that you do not know about
  • Demonstrate how you may intend to tackle these questions and areas

How to structure a study plan

You should include links to referenced text or images where appropriate. 

Each of the following sections should be approximately 200 words.


  • Briefly describe your work
  • Outline recent developments
  • Identify those aspects you would like to take further at postgraduate level


Describe specific areas, issues and critical ideas that are central to your area of interest.


How will you go about exploring your area of interest?  

Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography.


Are there resources or equipment that you need to access in order for you to successfully engage in your research?

What we look for

  • The ambition and commitment to develop and challenge work in curation and collections at Master level
  • An awareness of current debates and practices in curation and collections
  • The potential to devise and develop a self-directed programme of curatorial practice and related research
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate in both visual and oral terms
  • The ability to develop and contextualise work in written form
  • An eagerness to engage in the critical debate surrounding contemporary and historical practices as well as to develop a critical framework for their practice
  • The potential to develop a range of skills and competencies to a professional level

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an interview.

Deferred entry

This course will give consideration to deferred entry application.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (2018/19 fees).

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19 fees).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee - Home / EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 ELQ fee. Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Many MA Curating and Collections graduates go on to work as curators either, independently or within galleries, museums or other art and design organisations.

Some of our course alumni develop public programmes, while others choose further study and research exhibitionary practice and typically focus on collections research, exhibitions history and curatorial practice.

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea provides students with the critical, historical and contextual studies needed to advance their careers.


  • Daisy McMullan - graduated in 2012. Received the Ashley Family Foundation Research Fellowship at Chelsea Space. Works at Camberwell Space
  • Doro Globus - graduated in 2008. Works at the publishers Ridinghouse