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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 2023
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.

Applications closed 2023/24

We are no longer accepting applications for 2023/24 entry to this course.

Applications for 2024/25 entry will open in Autumn 2023.

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.

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

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

Staff

Fees and funding

Home fee

£12,700

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 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.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 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

Applications closed 2023/24

We are no longer accepting applications for 2023/24 entry to this course. Applications for 2024/25 entry will open in Autumn 2023.

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long 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.

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.

Introduction

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

Development

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

Methods

How will you go about exploring your area of interest? Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography.

Resources

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

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, your application will be reviewed by the academic team.

Following the application review, a small number of applicants will progress to the interview stage. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes. For support with your interview, visit our Interview tips page.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL portal.

Applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Feedback requests:

If you would like to request feedback please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Deferring your place

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English if necessary) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

Our equal consideration deadlines have now passed. This course will remain open to applications for 2023 entry until places have been filled. Please be aware that courses can close without notice.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, you will be invited to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. We will request this separately after initial processing of your application is complete. Once we request your portfolio, you will have 7 days to submit it.

Once you’ve sent in your application, this will be sent through to our course teams for review. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

Applications closed 2023/24

We are no longer accepting applications from international students for 2023/24 entry to this course. Applications for 2024/25 entry will open in Autumn 2023.

Apply

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once per year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long 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.

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.

Introduction

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

Development

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

Methods

How will you go about exploring your area of interest? Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography.

Resources

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

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, your application will be reviewed by the academic team.

Following the application review, a small number of applicants will progress to the interview stage. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes. For support with your interview, visit our Interview tips page.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL portal.

Applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Feedback requests:

If you would like to request feedback please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Deferring your place

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Chelsea College of Arts, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English if necessary) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

Our equal consideration deadlines have now passed. This course will remain open to applications for 2023 entry until places have been filled. Please be aware that courses can close without notice.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

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.