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Postgraduate

MA Curating and Collections

Objects from the Camberwell ILEA collection.

MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
College
Chelsea College of Arts
Start date
September 2024
Course length
15 months (full time)

MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts gives you hands-on experience of organising exhibitions and developing curatorial projects.

Applying for more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3. Find out more in the Apply Now section.

Course overview

MA Curating and Collections offers you the chance to work alongside established curators, learning how to handle art and design objects. You’ll learn directly from professionals in the curatorial team at Chelsea Space, who will guide your curating of artefacts. We are committed to developing ethical curatorial practices. To achieve this, we are working to embed UAL’s Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into the course.

Your exhibition skills will be underpinned by curatorial knowledge, enhanced by study visits to major institutions. By combining practical engagement with historical understanding, this course builds the skills you need for a successful career in curating and collections.

Individual research will be guided to help you make the most of the Special Collections, library and learning resources across UAL. 
 
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. 
  • Central Saint Martins' Museum and Study Collection, which include early printed books, prints, illuminated manuscripts, embroideries, 1920s German film posters, textiles and garments.

What to expect 

  • A balanced approach: Expand your practical skills alongside critical reflection to help you develop a balanced approach to curating. 
  • Curatorial methods: Learn curatorial methods, such as exhibition design, concept development, marketing, press releases, audience engagement, artist liaison and budgeting. 
  • Learn from experts: Hear unique perspectives from UAL’s professors and readers, as well as invited speakers who will lead discussions on exhibition practice.
  • Critical thinking: Explore current critical debates and stay up to date on issues such as the formation of publics, dissemination of exhibition content, as well as objects and their interpretation. 
  • Handling materials: Build your confidence in handling a range of materials, such as moving image, paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, garments, textiles, ceramics and glassware. 
  • Collection visits: engagement with museums, events, exhibitions and displays.
  • Training and support: Receive support from the curatorial team at Chelsea Space, who will provide training within an active curatorial environment so that you can skilfully engage with the best examples of contemporary practice. 

Industry experience and opportunities

This course will help prepare you for a career in curating and collections through the opportunity to work closely with professional curators at Chelsea Space. 

You’ll gain hands on experience through access to archives and collections from across UAL. You’ll also develop valuable curatorial skills including exhibition design, concept development and artist liaison.

Mode of study 

MA Curating and Collections is offered in full-time mode and runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Course units

Unit 1: Introduction to curatorial practices, concepts and collections 

This unit is an introduction to your course, the College and the University. 

You’ll broaden your knowledge of key issues in the curatorial field and think about curating as a means of reinterpreting objects and practices. You’ll gain hands-on experience of curating, through practice-based approaches to learning. Your communication skills will be developed through written work and oral presentations.

Unit 2: Methodology and techniques 

This unit will deepen your practice through engagement with collections research alongside curatorial activity. 
 
You’ll establish connections with curatorial networks to help you progress your research interests. By looking at curatorial contexts, you’ll gain a critical perspective on institutional practices. You’ll evaluate curatorial methods used to reinterpret objects and practices. You’ll also plan and implement a collections-based display. 

Unit 3: Synthesis: Exhibition project and self-directed study 

In this unit you will reflect upon current curatorial practice and develop your own professional practice utilising Chelsea Space as a venue. 
 
You’ll be able to articulate your own position in respect of key curatorial debates and analyse curatorial methods used to reinterpret objects and practices. You’ll develop a critical understanding of work that challenges existing practice. As part of the postgraduate show, you’ll plan and implement an exhibition.

Note: 120 Credits must be passed before the final unit is undertaken.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Collaborative work with peers
  • Gallery, museum and other visits
  • Guest speaker talks
  • Practice demonstrations
  • Presentations and crits
  • Self-directed study and research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Student work

  • chelsea-college-of-arts-ma-curating-collections-2022-exhibition-2.jpg
    Who Has Seen the Wind? Women and Ceramics, 2022 MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL │ Kristy Noble
  • chelsea-college-of-arts-ma-curating-collections-John-Latham-Observer-exhibition-2.jpg
    Observer: John Latham and the Distant Perspective, 2022 MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL │ Kristy Noble
  • chelsea-college-of-arts-ma-curating-collections-John-Latham-Observer-exhibition-3-crop.jpg
    Observer: John Latham and the Distant Perspective, 2022 MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL │ Kristy Noble
  • chelsea-college-of-arts-ma-curating-collections-John-Latham-Observer-exhibition-1.jpg
    Observer: John Latham and the Distant Perspective, 2022 MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL │ Kristy Noble

Film

Show 2022: MA Curating and Collections

Staff

Fees and funding

Home fee

£13,330

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£28,570

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

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

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your personal statement and study plan.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

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:

Selection criteria

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

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply to UAL

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How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement, CV and study proposal.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 500 words and include:

  • your reasons for choosing the course
  • your current creative practice and how this course will help you achieve your future plans
  • any relevant education and experience, especially if you do not have any formal academic qualifications.

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

CV advice

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If you have any web projects or other media that you would like to share, please include links in your CV. If English is not your first language, please also include your most recent English language test score.

Study proposal advice

Please provide a brief summary of your study proposal (800 words)

It should include:

  • an outline of your current practice
  • an indication of the topic/s that you would like to focus on for your master’s project
  • an outline any critical ideas, issues and recent industry developments that will support your research
  • an indication of the potential methods you plan to use. For example, drawing, model making and photography
  • any resources or equipment that you may need access to in order to successfully engage in your research.

Please note, your proposal serves to inform your application and we understand that your ideas will develop and change throughout your studies.

Step 2: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Applying to more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3 courses. You need to tailor your application, supporting documents and portfolio to each course, so applying for many different courses could risk the overall quality of your application. If you receive offers for multiple courses, you'll only be able to accept 1 offer. UAL doesn't accept repeat applications to the same course in the same academic year.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

We do not accept any deferral requests for our postgraduate courses. This means that you must apply in the year that you plan to start your course and you will not be able to defer your place to start at a later date.

Application deadlines

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 equal consideration deadlines to ensure fairness for all our applicants. If you apply ahead of either of these deadlines, your application will be considered on an equal basis with all other applications in that round. If there are places available after the second deadline, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Careers

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.

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.