School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies

Museum and heritage postgraduate studies

Graduate profiles and student blogs

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

Chrissy Witoko Collage

Louisa Hormann spent time at the Evergreen Coffee Lounge during her placement at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Most Wellingtonians will remember the Evergreen Coffee House as a popular spot in the buzzing nightlife of the Vivian-Cuba Street quarter – where you could get late night toasted sandwiches and ‘special coffees’ served with whisky from the café’s owner, well-known transgender queen, Chrissy Witoko. Louisa's challenge was to try and identify the people in the wonderful collages made by Chrissy. Focus groups with Chrissy’s friends identified many of the people in the collages and helped us record some of the stories associated with the people, places and events depicted in the collages. The workshops were recorded and then transcribed for Te Papa’s internal research use. We used sticky labels to note the names of individuals and groups on photocopies of the collages. These were then photographed, and uploaded to Te Papa’s database for future reference.

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 Blog

Read 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 Disturb'd

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.

Cindy Jemmett researched and wrote an entry for NZ History on Crèches and early childcare from the late 19th century to the closure of the Aubert Childcare Centre in 2012.

The National Army Museum Te Mata Toa benefitted from having Natalie Liverant on placement with them in February 2016. Natalie did some research on the role of animals in the army which she wrote about in her blog. Read her blog about the role of RATS in the army!

Imagine being able to delve into the world of Rare Books. Charlotte Darling explored the Turnbull Named Collections during her placement at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The Turnbull Library’s Named Collections are primarily personal libraries of collectors that have been donated to the library. (Although not all private collections that were donated were retained as discrete entities: for example, the J. M. Ranstead collection of children’s books from the 1820s to 1840s was incorporated into the Turnbull’s juvenilia collection.)

The collections that have been kept together tell a number of powerful stories. They reflect the personal tastes of their collectors, and give remarkable insight into their intellectual lives. The formed collections give us a privileged, voyeuristic peek at the bookshelves of some intriguing New Zealanders.

Postgraduate Certificate in Museum and Heritage Practice (PGCertMHP)

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

The PGCertMHP 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 PGCertMHP to a PGDipMHP and then on to the MMHP.

Note: The PGCertMHP qualification replaces the PGCertMHS which was previously offered.

Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Practice (PGDipMHP)

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.

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)

Duration: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 PGDipMHP to the MMHP.

It is also possible to go from a PGDipMHP 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 PGDipMHP because it provides the necessary foundation in research methods and the opportunity to develop a proposal for the dissertation topic.

Note: The PGDipMHP qualification replaces the PGDipMHS which was previously offered.

Master of Museum and Heritage Studies (MMHP)

This new 180 point taught Masters degree can be completed in a calendar year and is offered from 2017. It requires the equivalent of four taught 30 point courses, plus either a 60 point internship or two further courses, MHST518 and MHST519. The MMHP is closely aligned with the museum and heritage industry, providing a balance of theory and practice with an emphasis on professional development that equips graduates for a career in the sector.

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, the classes incorporate numerous field trips and input from senior staff of local organisations.

12 months full-time or up to 4 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 PGCertMHP
  • or completion of a PGDipMHP

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.

The MMHP qualification replaces the MMHS which was previously offered

Full-time or part-time study

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

Part One: Completed Trimester One and Two

Three taught courses and a practicum:

MHST 511 Introducing Museums and Heritage
MHST 512 Practicum 1 (including one 200 hour placement)

and 60 further points which could include:

MHST 513 Research Methods
or MHST 520 Special Topic: Heritage Practices
or MHST 522 Historic Heritage Conservation
or MHST 523 Research Essay (15 points) (plus a further 15 points to make up to 30 points)
or MHST 524 Special Topic: StudyTour  (Preventive conservation tour to Italy) November 2017*(15 points)
(plus a further 15 points to make up to 30 points)
* MHST 524 to  be confirmed for 2017. For MHST 524 the tuition fees do not include the travel costs which are additional.

(The courses listed above are all offered in 2016)

Part Two: Completed after Part One in a trimester during a four month period, either in the same year of the following year.

MHST 518 Research Essay (30 points)
MHST 519 Project (30 points)

MHST525 Internship (60 points) 3-4 months full time

MHST525 Internship is a new course that provides students with the opportunity for advanced professional training and work experience through an internship in a professional museum or heritage organisation under the supervision of a suitably qualified and experience professional and academic supervisor. It takes the form of an independent directed study including meetings with supervisors, culminating with the delivery of an independent project at the end of the course.

2018 electives have not yet been confirmed.

Graduates with a GDipMHS or a PGDipMHS may apply to enrol in a MMHP. If accepted you would have to forfeit your Diploma before you could be awarded a MMHP.

Enrolment procedures

The deadline to apply for our 2017 Programmes of Study is Saturday 10 December 2016. (2017 Online applications open on Saturday 1 October 2016). 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.

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. PGCertMHP, PGDipMHP and MMHP

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.

Information session Tuesday 22nd November 2016

  • Date: Tuesday 22nd November 2016 (note day and date has been changed from previous week)
  • Location: Wood Seminar Room, Level 4, Old Kirk Building
  • Time: 9:00am to 2:00pm approx.

As part of the selection process for 2017, 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 and will be held in the Woods Seminar Room on Level 4 of the Old Kirk Building. 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 16 November.

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 Tuesday 22nd November 2016. If you are unable to attend please contact Annie Mercer.

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).

The assessment for the PGCertMHP and the PGDipMHP consists of the procedures already in place for the teaching of these courses within the MMHP.

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: 04-463 5807