Three Oncologists (2002), Ken Currie, National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: A Reeve

Cost of museum studies to rise in devolved nations

Geraldine Kendall and Patrick Steel, 24.05.2011
Universities in Wales and Northern Ireland consider £9,000 fees
Research by the Museums Association has found that the cost of museum studies is set to rise for both undergraduate and postgraduate applicants in the devolved nations from 2012.

Maurice Davies, the MA's head of policy and communications, said: "It's alarming that the price of museum qualifications for UK students is set to rise in the devolved nations.

"This will make it even harder for students from poorer backgrounds to gain entry to the museum sector. And salaries are so low that some people might never be able to pay off their student debts."


Welsh universities have to clear their fees for 2012 with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, but Aberystwyth University, which runs a BA in Museum and Gallery Studies, has already announced it plans to charge £9,000 and other Welsh universities are expected to follow suit.

The Welsh government will subsidise Welsh domiciles wherever they study in the UK so that their fees will be no more than the current £3,000 a year (rising with inflation).

Northern Ireland

A consultation by the Northern Ireland government over tuition fees is set to end on Friday 10 June.

Proposals in the consultation could see fees in Northern Ireland set between £6,000 and £9,000 for non-domiciled UK students.

A maximum fee cap of between £5,000 and £5,750 has been proposed for Northern Ireland domiciles (up from c. £3,000), however both Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party have stated that they would not raise fees.


Universities in Scotland offer free undergraduate tuition to Scottish domiciles and students from EU member states outside the UK.

The Scottish government is currently considering tuition fees for non-domiciled UK students, which are currently set at £1,820 per annum.

The ruling Scottish National Party states in its 2011 Students Manifesto: “While we are in power… Scottish Students studying at Scottish colleges and universities will not have to pay a penny for their education.”

Universities Scotland has warned that the current structure would see an annual funding gap between Scottish and English universities of as much as £202m, that would have implications for undergraduate teaching resources.

Postgraduate fees in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain lower than in England, with the average cost of a postgraduate museum degree standing at £3,900 a year at the seven universities surveyed in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Most universities expect fees to rise in 2012.

Table of postgraduate fees in devolved nations (pdf)


Will high tuition fees make it harder to enter the museum sector?

To see MA research into tuition fees in England, click here


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25.05.2011, 15:02
I have been trying to enter the museum education sector for 4 years now since graduating with my degree. I cannot currently afford to do a MA as I have worked on min. wage and volunteered for so long and had planned a long-term route in via teaching and volunteering whilst saving for an MA. What seemed long-winded and difficult now seems nearly impossible given the fees increase : (