Curating MA

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Course starts: 15 October 2018Apply now

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Specialise in curating across art, design, media and culture. Join graduates from Sunderland in curatorial and academic roles across the world.

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This course is for people who want to work either in the traditional areas of curating fine art and cultural artefacts or in emerging areas such as curating digital art, media or live art. We will equip you for careers in the gallery, non-gallery and digital sectors.

The course features three week-long blocks of intensive delivery in October, February and June. There is also weekly contact which can be online for UK and EU students, who can therefore fit attendance and travel around work or family commitments (international students would usually need to be present for weekly contact).

Why us?

  • This programme integrates new media, live art, design, and participatory approaches
  • You will benefit from the unique experience of both London and regional critical curating strategies
  • 95.8% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK postgraduate students)
  • You will meet with over 20 curators, education workshop programmers, exhibition installation managers, registrars, production lab leaders to cover all aspects of 21st century curation production and distribution
  • Our ‘low residency’ delivery in blocks makes this programme very suitable for professionals and working students

Course structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, study visits and group work.

These are supported by a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds. You will also have high levels of contact with tutors who give regular feedback and support.

Field trips and practical workshops are important elements of the course, giving you direct contact with curators. Host organisations have included the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Workplace Gallery, the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, the National Glass Centre and Shipley Art Gallery.

View our student galleries.

Curating 1

Certificate (60 credits)

  • Genealogies of Curating
  • Mechanics of Curating

Critically analyse and explore the theories and origins that contribute to contemporary forms of curating.

Analyse the principles and practices of curating in contemporary art and design galleries through field trips to regional cultural institutions.


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Curating 2

Postgraduate Diploma (60 credits)

  • Contexts of Curating
  • Visions of Curating

You will develop a clear understanding of contemporary art and design infrastructures in London, in the context of regional and international curating.

You will also develop the vocational and professional skills needed for individual and collaborative development in curating in relation to place, space and time, to give insights into professional practice from collections and exhibiting to educational and participatory curating work. An inspection of non-gallery related strategies will enable you to develop advanced strategies beyond existing practice.

Curating 3

Masters Degree (60 credits)

  • Curatorial Practice
  • Major Project and Report

You will undertake a major project on a topic of your choice. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained up to this point.

The David Puttnam Media Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,
St Peter's Way,


  • We subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date articles.

    Students are helped to develop their research skills working with lecturers and library staff to develop their awareness of art history as well as contemporary art and design and the wider contexts of the subjects.

    Some of the most important sources for your course include:

    • Art Full Text + Art Abstracts: A major resource for media and arts information
    • Design and Applied Arts Index: Covers journals featuring both new designers and the development of design and the applied arts since the mid-19th century
    • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC): Provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Journals and research - art
  • Our Arts and Design library section has a specialist collection of over 120,000 books, DVDs, videos, slides and one of the largest electronic information networks in the sector.

    The experienced library team provide a high quality service and are sensitive to the requirements and working methods of our students. 

    Library Services - arts and design


The University has invested in modern facilities that include generous studio spaces and state-of-the-art teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and outward-looking learning environment.

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold an honours degree in an art or design-related discipline such as fine art, design, spatial culture, critical theory, art history, exhibition design, event design, new media, arts administration, cultural policy, museum studies or arts management.

If you are suitably qualified, we will invite you to an interview to assess whether this is the right course for you.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £5,600 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £12,000 if you are an international student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course, you will be equipped for roles throughout the creative industries.


Career options

Specific opportunities include working in curatorial institutions and event management. Recent Sunderland graduates are now working in institutions such as the BALTIC, the Arnolfini (Bristol), Klomp Ching Gallery (New York), Banff Centre (Canada), Shipley Art Gallery and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.

Meet our academics