School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies

Museum and Heritage Postgraduate Studies

On this Page:

Graduate Profiles and Student Blogs

View our Graduate Profiles to read what our graduates are doing in the Museum and Heritage Sector.

Popcorn. ceramic 2014

popcorn. ceramic. 2014, Dunedin, by Madeleine Child. Purchased 2014. Te Papa (2014-0009-1/1-9 to 9-9)

"How do you feel about working in copyright?” my academic supervisor asked me back in April. My response was non-committal. I may not have been sure exactly where my interests lay in the museum sector, but I didn’t think that copyright was on my radar at all. However I decided to take the plunge and try something new.

My name is Helena Botes, and for the past five weeks I’ve been an intern for Rights Management here at Te Papa. I came to Te Papa from the Museum and Heritage studies program at Victoria University. At the start of June, armed with a new work-appropriate wardrobe, I found myself getting ready for my first day. Having spent most of my student life working as a nanny, the world of copyright and museums seemed like a foreign country.

When considering a piece of art, sometimes a simple word description can’t quite convey the vibrancy of the piece. This is where I have stepped in. Copyright clearance is that bridge between telling and showing. It’s the difference between this description: “Nine pieces of ceramic formed into a large piece of popcorn. Coloured glaze over white slip with a top layer of reflector beads.”, compared with this image. To find out more read my blog.


Riah's BlogRead Riah's blog 'A Victorian Tomboy, Navigating History and Maps Maps Maps' which she wrote during her practicum working with museum archives at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa during June / July 2014.

Have you seen a banana play the accordion? Look at Rebecca's blog 'Banana playing a blue accordion: a Muka Youth Print'  where she talks about Muka Studio prints that are housed in  the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa print collection. She negotiated copyright licences with artists of the Muka Youth Prints as part of her practicum in June / July 2014.

Delve into the reality of a Māori soldier arriving in Egypt during World War 1 in Bridget Reweti's blog 'Watery Eyes' which she wrote while on placement at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 2013.

Are you drawn to the smell and colour of books? Arawhetu Berdinner visited the hidden collections of the Turnbull Library and devised A heritage colour palette.

Read about the 31 New Zealand women who received the Queen Elisabeth Medal, Medaille de la Reine Elisabeth, from the Belgian Government for help that they gave Belgian refugees in World War One. Louise Weston carried out this research for New Zealand History.

I raro te kāhui whetū o Matariki - Bridget Reweti writes about her first day as the 2014 Blumhardt Curatorial Intern for The Dowse Art Museum.

Philippa Steel reviewed the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's exhibition Tranquillity Disturb'd: A contemporary look at historical New Zealand. Read about Lisa Reihana's print Maori Chief, 2015, Gavin Hurley's George Dorlton - The Value of Life, 2014 and Nigel Brown's Death of Cook - A Vision at Tolaga Bay, 1992. .
 reCollections / Volume 10 / number 1 / Exhibition reviews /Tranquillity

Our Alumna Matariki Williams (2015) is a reviewer for 'Worn Through'. Read what she has to say about Kōrero Kākahu: Air New Zealand at Te Papa and her other reviews. 

Sarah Powell is currently working on a rights management plan for a special project at the Alexander Turnbull Library. Read how Sarah is actively helping GLAMs open up their digital collections.



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Postgraduate Certificate in Museum and Heritage Studies (PGCertMHS)

This certificate, consisting of two core courses, is the ideal introduction to the museum and heritage sector and a platform for further study.

The PGCertMHS requires the completion of:

Core courses:
MHST 511 Introducing Museums and Heritage
MHST 512 Practicum 1

1 or 2 years part-time

Entry requirement:
An appropriate bachelor's degree.

Please enrol online on the Victoria website. Please refer to the Enrolment Procedures for information on the documentation that we require from applicants.

It is possible, with approval, to carry on from a PGCertMHS to a PGDipMHS and then on to the MMHS

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Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Studies (PGDipMHS)

This diploma, comprising an introductory course, a practicum, and 60 further points from the MMHS schedule (or approved points) provides a flexible qualification for working professionals or graduate students seeking a career in the field.

In 2015 the PGDipMHS requires the completion of:

Core courses:
MHST 511 Introducing Museums and Heritage
MHST 512 Practicum 1
60 further points from the MMHS schedule or approved 400 or 500 level elective(s)

1 year full-time or up to 4 years part-time

Entry requirement:
An appropriate bachelor's degree.

Please enrol online on the Victoria website.  Please refer to the Enrolment Procedures for information on the documentation that we require from applicants.

It is possible, with approval, to carry on from a PGDipMHS to the MMHS. However, please note that MHST 513 Research Methods is compulsory for the MMHS and should therefore be taken as one of the courses for the PGDipMHS (i.e. as an approved elective) if you are considering applying to do a MMHS after you have completed the Diploma.

It is also possible to go from a PGDipMHS to an MA (by thesis). However, if this is being considered it is recommended that students do MHST 513 Research Methods as part of their PGDipMHS because it provides the necessary foundation in research methods and the opportunity to develop a proposal for the dissertation topic.


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Master of Museum and Heritage Studies (MMHS)

This postgraduate degree requires four taught courses, two practicums and a dissertation based on original research. The unique combination of theoretical and applied study at an advanced level prepares graduates for a career in museums, art galleries, and a range of cultural and natural heritage organisations in New Zealand. Taking advantage of Wellington's rich cultural resources, classes incorporate numerous field trips and input from senior staff of local organisations.

2 years full-time or up to 6 years part-time.

Entry requirement:

A Bachelor's degree

  • or qualification through extensive practical professional or scholarly experience of an appropriate kind
  • or completion of a PGCertMHS
  • or completion of a PGDipMHS

and acceptance as a candidate for the degree.

Please enrol online on the Victoria website.  Please refer to the Enrolment Procedures for information on the documentation that we require from applicants.

Full-time or Part-time Study

For full-time students the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies is a two-year programme of study. It is suggested that study should be structured as follows:

Year One:

Three taught courses and a practicum:

MHST 511 Introducing Museums and Heritage
MHST 512 Practicum 1 (including one placement)
MHST 513 Research Methods
and 30 further points which could include:

MHST 516 Making Meanings: Museums, Heritage and Leisure Experience
or MHST 519 Project
or MHST 521 Special Topic (Approved course from another university)
or MHST 523 Research Essay (15 points) (plus a further 15 points to make up to 30 points)
or MHST 524 Special Topic: Preventive Conservation Tour  (to Italy) November 2016*(15 points)
(plus a further 15 points to make up to 30 points)
* MHST 524 to  be confirmed for 2016

(The courses listed above are all offered in 2016)

For MHST 524 the Tuition Fees are additional to the cost of the tour to Italy.

Year Two:

One taught course, one advanced practicum, and a dissertation:
MHST 515 Museums and Māori
MHST 516 Making Meanings: Museums Heritage and Leisure experience
or MHST 519 Project
or MHST 520 Special Topic
or MHST 521 Special Topic (Approved course from another university)
or MHST522  Historic Heritage Conservation
or MHST 523 Research Essay plus a further 15 points
or MHST 524 Preventive Conservation Tour (to Italy) plus a further 15 points
MHST 514  Practicum 2 (two placements)
MHST 593  Dissertation

Note: 2017 electives have not yet been confirmed. 

It will take part-time students three to four years to complete the degree. An appropriate four-year structure would be:

Year One: two taught courses
Year Two: one taught course, plus Practicum 1
Year Three: one taught course, an advanced practicum and begin the Dissertation
Year Four: complete the Dissertation.

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Enrolment Procedures

The deadline to apply for our 2016 Programmes of Study is Wednesday 10 December 2015. (2016 Online applications open on Wednesday 1 October 2015). Please enrol online on the Victoria website.

When you enrol you will be required to attach the following information with your application:

  1. Your CV showing experience relevant to this qualification.
  2. A document containing the following information:
    - What you hope to gain from undertaking this programme
    - Why you think you should be accepted into this programme.
  3. A sample of written prose of at least 3,000 words, such as an essay from an undergraduate course. 

Note: There is a single application deadline of 10 December each year, and all applications are considered together after this date. This is for all three taught  programmes of study. PGCertMHS, PGDipMHS and MMHS


International Students

Applications are welcome from International Students. Please refer to the Victoria International website for information for International students. Note international applicants need to apply and submit all the required documentation to Victoria International by the 1st December.

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Information Session Wednesday 18 November 2015

  • Date: Wednesday 18 November 2015
  • Location: TBC
  • Time: 9:00am to 2:00pm approx

As part of the selection process for 2016, you will need to attend an information session which will include an informal interview by MHST staff. The information session will commence at 9:00am at a venue to be confirmed. The first part of the day will be a presentation by staff, followed by morning tea and then the interviews. Current students will also meet with you and show you around. Please email Annie Mercer to confirm your attendance and to advise her if you have time constraints with respect to the interview time. It is your choice whether you formally apply to enrol in the Programme before the information day. If you choose to wait until after the information day it is very important that you contact Annie with your name and contact details before 13 November.
Note: Acceptance into the MHST programme is not automatic. A limited number of students are selected each year. It is important that applicants attend the information day which will be held on Wednesday 18 November 2015.  

Candidates for the degree will be expected to choose a dissertation topic that has theoretical and/or professional relevance to museum and heritage studies in such fields as:

  • Art and visual culture
  • Museum history and theory
  • Culture and identity
  • History and heritage
  • Education and interpretation
  • Māori and Pacific heritage
  • Exhibitions and collections
  • Design and Display
  • Audience and visitor research
  • Historic sites and buildings

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Assessment Procedures

Museum and Heritage Studies courses are all internally assessed. The assessment procedures vary from academic written work (reviews and essays), to oral presentations (seminars, proposals and pitches) and practical projects (exhibitions/surveys/reports and other professional workplace based projects).

  • MHST 511 has three essays and a research seminar and report
  • MHST 512 (pass/fail rather than graded) requires the successful completion of one seminar presentation, one assignment, and one 200-hour placement and written report
  • MHST 513 similarly involves three assignments, the final one being a detailed research proposal which is intended to provide students with the opportunity of developing ideas for the dissertation or research paper they will undertake in their second year
  • MHST 514 requires the successful completion of two 200-hour placements.
  • For both MHST 512 Practicum 1 and MHST 514 Practicum 2, assessment will also be based on an evaluation of the results of each placement measured against a series of personal and professional objectives developed by each student. Detailed performance indicators covering learning objectives such as these will be developed as part of a placement brief which represents a form of contract between the academic supervisor, the student and the placement supervisor in the host agency

The assessment for the PGCertMHS and the PGDipMHS consists of the procedures already in place for the teaching of these courses within the MMHS. These are:

  • MHST 511
  • MHST 512
  • MHST 516 requires a mini assignment worth 10%, an essay worth 30%, a presentation worth 30% and a final essay worth 30%.
  • MHST 519 requires a written proposal worth 20%, a presentation and pitch worth 20% the delivery of the final project worth 50%, and an evaluation worth 10%.
  • MHST 523 5000 word essay (on a self directed topic based on the students own research)
  • MHST 524 has an essay worth 20%, a 3000 word journal documenting the tour and completed work worth 50%, a 15 minute seminar presentation worth 15% and a 2,000 word report worth 15%

Course Outlines for MHST courses taught in previous years are available to view on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences website.



Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

The Museum and Heritage Studies Programme offer a Master of Arts by Thesis (MHST 591) and a Doctor of Philosophy by thesis (MHST 690). Successful completion of the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies (MMHS) may provide a basis for subsequent study and research leading to the degree of PhD. For information on the MA please refer to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, for PhD please refer to the Faculty of Graduate Research.

Scholarships and Fees

Information on the availability of scholarships can be found on the Scholarship website and the Faculty of Graduate Research provides information on PhD scholarships. Student Finance provide Information on fees structure and tools for assessing current fees for individual courses.

Programme Administrator
Office: Old Kirk, ground floor
Phone: 0-4-463 5807