MA Curatorial Practice - Bath Spa University

Key facts

Options: MA Curatorial Practice, PG Dip Curatorial Practice, PG Cert Curatorial Practice.
Bath School of Art
Campus or location
Sion Hill and Locksbrook
Course length
PG Cert full-time one trimester; PG Dip full-time two trimesters (one academic year); MA full-time three trimesters (one calendar year).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information:

Study current theory and history, and build your personal curatorial skills and thinking on our innovative curating MA.

  • Taught by curators, you'll work with a rich and diverse group of partner organisations in the sector.
  • Combine contemporary practice with theory in a flexible approach.
  • This curating MA highlights the roles of audiences, collections and new contexts.

We focus on curating as a contemporary practice, bringing together history, theory and practice. What is it that makes the role of the curator distinct, and how do we understand the essentials of curating, when it has become such a buzzword?

The course embraces contemporary curating in historic and collection-based settings as well as contemporary venues, digital, pop-up and site-specific contexts. It is delivered by experts in the field and working curators.

"With the academic understanding and support I received, I feel equipped with theoretical knowledge and confidence in practice to embark on a curatorial future."

Jessica Mathews (Graduated 2014)

What you'll learn


The course covers a wide range of curatorial approaches, from management of historical collections to creative curating of cutting-edge contemporary art, craft and design. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds; we challenge you to develop your interests, while understanding what you share with others across our discipline.

Engagement and understanding audiences are central to curatorial practice. You’ll develop experience in ways of sharing and presenting ideas throughout the course.

Course structure

Research Methods introduces research methodologies and the ways subject specific material, analysis and evaluation techniques can be a vehicle for personal study. This is shared with other Master's programmes in the Schools of Art and Design, and so gives an opportunity to share ideas with artists, designers and curators from across disciplines.

The Role of the Curator considers the changing role of the curator, the "politics" of curating and real-world issues through first-hand contact with working curators in our region and beyond. It addresses developments in critical theory and their impact on curatorial practices such as representing communities, ethnicities, gender issues, "interventions", gallery learning, the "post-museum" and curating in the public realm.

Collections and Collecting considers the nature of collecting and the influence of collecting on curatorial practice. We assess the way collections act as a "ground" for new work by artists, makers and in specialist creative project work, as well as traditional interpretation. You can study private collectors, the transition of private to public, and the process of defining objects as "collectable". It covers material culture, collecting the digital, oral history and its methods, research in archiving, and management of historical and contemporary collections. 

Reaching Audiences allows you to present or study a live project to a real audience. You’ll study current discourse around engagement, participation and learning, and link this to exploring how curatorial practices reach audiences.  

The Master's Project can be either text or practice-based. It accommodates a variety of approaches for assessment that can include the traditional written dissertation, the study of historical or archival case studies, curating an exhibition or project in a venue, or forms of digital production, the construction of a museum or gallery-specific website. Many long studies come from the student’s own practice, and can be used to broaden or reflect upon workplace or voluntary experience.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Role of the Curator
  • Research Methods
  • Collections and Collecting
  • Reaching Audiences
  • Master's Project: Curatorial Practice.

How will I be assessed?

Project-based work can be developed and assessed as part of the course. Real life projects can be pursued in response to assessment assignments, especially in relation to the final "Master's Project" double module.

We assess your ability to:

  • Deal with complex issues in the area of curatorial practice history, theory and context, effectively employing skill in analysis and synthesis as necessary
  • Independently plan and implement research activities in the subject fields of curatorial practice, demonstrating professionalism, self-direction and originality
  • Effectively propose and curate exhibitions, drawing on research and understanding
  • Initiate and contribute to debate and discussion in relation to curatorial practice.

We also assess your capacity to advance knowledge, learning and skills in the subject fields of curatorial practice.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught in seminars, complemented with field visits to key venues facilitated by lead curators. We adopt a practice-led approach; while some sessions are delivered by our academics, others are delivered by our collaborators and relate to particular case studies or collections.

You’ll frequently link your study to internships, volunteering and project work.


Study in current working galleries, museums and venues

You’ll benefit from opportunities to visit, study and work through well-established relationships with a range of museums, galleries and contemporary art organisations of national and international significance.

We work with colleagues in the wide range of organisations in the city of Bath itself, in nearby cities such as Bristol and Cardiff, and in the major institutions beyond. This ensures you can explore a unique range of organisational contexts in which collecting and curating are sited.

Our links include:

  • The Holburne Museum
  • A wide range of artist-run venues and civic museums in Bath
  • Arnolfini and Spike Island
  • Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
  • Hauser & Wirth Somerset
  • Salisbury Arts Centre
  • National Museum Wales' sites in Cardiff.

Volunteer and internship placement opportunities

We encourage you to work or volunteer, giving you flexibility to find an area related to the course that suits you. We’ll advise you on the current range of internships and volunteer roles on offer in organisations across the region, as well as using our professional networks to put you in touch with the right people and organisations.

Recent projects have seen students work in pop-up venues and social contexts, the Venice Biennale, charity auctions, national open submission shows, and touring exhibitions.


Recent graduates have found work in:

  • Curatorial work in museums and galleries
  • Galleries/arts administration
  • Self-employed freelance curatorial work and consultancy
  • Publishing and media work
  • Education, gallery and museum learning and teaching
  • General project management outside the visual arts and museums
  • Critical writing
  • Academic study and teaching.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Our Art and Design courses are based at our Locksbrook and Sion Hill campuses.

You’ll benefit from access to:

Your new campus

Our new Locksbrook Campus is truly a unique and inspirational space, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for you to flourish. Located next to the River Avon in Bath city centre, the open-plan building has technical workshops surrounded by open, flexible studio spaces, as well as large, open social areas.


Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £7,790
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

International students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £15,070
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We normally accept individuals with a good first degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant subject. However, you can apply without such a qualification if your personal and professional experience shows a high level of commitment and understanding in a relevant field.

We want you to be able to succeed in and enjoy the course, and be able to be a contributor to a busy, diverse, active and engaged group of your peers.

If English is not your first language and you are not fluent in spoken and written English we require a minimum language certificate of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

We generally interview applicants face-to-face or online.

At interview we ask you to tell us why you want to pursue this course, and why curating is a field that matters to you.

Get ahead

Remember that, more than reading or past qualifications, having a real sense of what’s happening in the public faces of the arts and design is what matters.

Our most successful students are those who visit or help at exhibitions, attend or present projects, follow or write blogs and media debates, and have interacted with people in venues like museums and galleries.

Want to apply for this year? 

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Course leader: Ben Parry

Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

Website feedback to