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MA courses

Curatorial Studies

Centre for Curatorial Studies

Our Centre for Curatorial Studies is a research and teaching unit based in our School that focuses on contemporary curatorial theory and practice and contemporary museology.

Our MA courses provide options to study different aspects of art history and theory, as well as curating, and cultural entrepreneurship. Courses combine specialist modules with a dissertation or exhibition project and are available on a full or part-time basis.

Our modules are intensive, taught in small groups by our expert academic staff, and provide a thorough preparation for undertaking independent research and PhD study, as well as for developing a professional career in curating.


A range of postgraduate scholarships are available for 2017 entry including our School of Philosophy and Art History fee-wavers.

MA Art History and Theory

Our MA Art History and Theory is made up of core and optional modules, assessed by coursework, with an independent research dissertation on a topic of your choice completed in the second half of your year. Modules cover a range of subjects from contemporary art to the Renaissance.

Read the full course description and module options on our course finder:

MA in Curating

Our MA in Curating offers a theoretical, historical and practical foundation in curating and exhibition design more broadly. The course is based in our Centre for Curatorial Studies and begins with specialist modules before culminating in a final project, which can be in one of three possible forms depending on your preference:

  1. curating an exhibition at our University’s Art Exchange gallery;
  2. writing a dissertation based on substantial, independent research; or
  3. producing a detailed proposal for a major, research-driven exhibition.

Read the full course description and module options on our course finder:

  • Additional information

    Please note: in an effort to simplify our course offerings, we have consolidated our previous MA degrees in curatorial studies (i.e., the MA Gallery Studies and Critical Curating, MA Curating Contemporary Art, and MA Gallery Studies with Dissertation) under a single degree, the MA in Curating. This new course gives students the flexibility to do everything they could do under the previous schemes.

MA Philosophy and Art History

Our School's MA Philosophy includes art history as an optional strand.


Graduate Diploma in Art History and Theory

If you do not have the appropriate undergraduate preparation or English language skills to embark on one of our MA courses, you can apply for our nine-month Graduate Diploma which counts as a qualifying year for the relevant MA course.

Banksy’s Dismaland

Banksy dismaland

Read about our Centre for Curatorial Studies Co-Director Dr Gavin Grindon curating the Museum of Cruel Designs as part of artist Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition project at Weston-super-Mare.



The Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is a unique research and teaching resource giving our students the chance to engage with over 750 artworks from 1900 to the present.



Art History at Essex is internationally recognised for our research across a wide range of areas in the history and theory of art, and was ranked ninth overall in the UK in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).