What are the benefits of doing a Masters course?

Eba would like advice on whether to do a Masters course

I am an English Literature student about to go into my final year of study and I am passionate about pursuing a career in the museum and heritage industry.

Since I do not have a background in history or archaeology, I am thinking of applying for a Masters degree in Museums Studies.

I’d be really grateful for some advice on how beneficial these courses are to increase employability, and if so, what sort of courses are the best to look for?

Thank you for any help!

— Eba

Expert answers

Lynsey Rutter 's reply:

Hi Eba,

It would be irresponsible to say that a Masters in Museum Studies will definitely get you a job in a museum or even increase your employability. With so many people doing the courses and the fierce competition for even entry level jobs, an MA is by no means ‘the answer’ to gaining employment.

Rather than pinning all your employment hope on an MA I recommend a different approach. Think about what you want to learn about, what really interests you about museums/heritage, what area you eventually want to work in (remember it is a massive sector and jobs are very diverse) and whether or not a more specific MA would be more valuable. 

There are some fantastic course out there that are more focused (for example, Visitor Studies, Conservation, Heritage Management, Marketing etc). Museum Studies (though a great subject) is very broad and will literally cover everything involved in running a museum. 

If your not sure what area you are interested in try and get some work experience or volunteering to help you work it out.  

Also, consider a different route than a full time MA. I personally finished a BA in Archaeology and started applying for any and every entry level museum job I could. I eventually got one and then applied to do a part-time (by distance learning) MA in Museum Studies with the University of Leicester

The course is 2-years and though it was hard to fit it around full-time work, it paid off and I got a new job just as I finished it. But I didn’t really do the course thinking ‘this will get me a better job’ I did it to fill the knowledge gaps that I had and wanted to fill.

Hope that is helpful and best of luck!

Lynsey   ‚Äč

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