School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies

Museum and Heritage Postgraduate Studies

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Graduate Profiles and Student Blogs

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

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.

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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. *NB: Qualification title change effective 2015.

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, an 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. *NB: Qualification title change effective 2015.

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. In 2015 the Special Topic MHST 520 is being taught entitled "Exhibition Studies".

NB: The PGDipMHS regulations do not require students to take MHST 519 and that the course MHST 518 (30-point research essay) is no longer offered.

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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 520 Special Topic: Exhibition Studies
or MHST 519 Project
or MHST 521 Special Topic (Approved course from another university)

or MHST 522 Historic Heritage Conservation
or MHST 523 Research Essay* (15 points) plus a further 15 points
or MHST 524 Special Topic: Preventive Conservation Tour  (to Italy) June 2015 (15 points)
(plus a further 15 points to make up to 30 points)

(The courses listed above are all offered in 2015)

In 2015 MHST 520 will be taught as a Special Topic entitled "Exhibition Studies". it will introduce students to the history, theory and practice of exhibitions in museums, galleries and related organisations. As well as seminar based discussions of the critical literature of exhibitions, display and interpretation, the class will work with a local public institution,its collections and staff, and prepare, design, mount, evaluate and de-install a small temporary exhibit. This course will therefore culminate in a public exhibition produced by students in colloboration with professionals, along with related marketing, events and public programmes.

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 521 Special Topic (Approved course from another university)
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: 2016 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 2015 Programmes of Study is Wednesday 10 December 2014. (2015 Online applications open on Wednesday 1 October 2014). 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 19 November 2014

  • Date: Wednesday 19 November 2014
  • Location: TBC
  • Time: 9:00am to 2:00pm approx

As part of the selection process for 2015, 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 14 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 19 November 2014.  

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 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 520 has a book review worth 10%, essay worth 20%, 1000 word written exhibition proposal and related plans worth 10%, a 15 minute presentation on the exhibition worth 10% and successful completion of a component of the exhibition worth 50% (25% group assessment, 25% individual contribution)
  • MHST 522 requires a book review worth 10%, a 3,000 word essay worth 20%, a slide test worth 10%, a brief and placement evaluation report worth 10% and Part 1 and Part 2 of a conservation plan and presentation which is worth a total of 50%
  • 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