Expanded Museum Studies

Master programme

Academic degree: MA (Master of Arts)
Credits: 120 ECTS
Duration: 4
Language: Englisch und Deutsch / English and German
In establishing the programme Expanded Museum Studies, the University of Applied Arts is instituting a field of study and research that aims to examine, expand and redefine the notion of museum. A fundamental aspect of the programme is its emphasis on the interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary practical intertwining of various approaches adopted in the areas of museology, art and cultural studies, conservation, and art-research methodology. The central focus is on critical analysis of the historical and current models of what museums have been or could be and of museums seen as contact zones and places where true value can make itself felt – and this in an explicitly broad sense, that is, in the context of the various forms of practice, the various configurations, the various forms of discourse connected to these places of contact, and also in the context of the demands that are placed on them. The programme of study is based on topics of current academic and artistic interest as well as on a society-oriented understanding of art and culture in a global and cross-cultural perspective, an orientation that is particularly strong at the University of Applied Arts.

The essential elements comprising the programme of study are: the range of courses offered by the Department for Expanded Museum Studies, various forms of internal and external cooperation partnerships specifically aligned with the programme structure, and a Platform for Inter- and Transdisciplinary Exchange, which accompanies  the entire course of study and serves as a transparent space for reflection and action in addition to offering the opportunity to share work in larger contexts. Moreover, the entire range of courses offered at the University of Applied Arts is put to advantage within the framework of this programme.

The subjects of study are not thematically limited to the fine or applied arts. On the contrary, the programme of study very much encourages looking at cultural production and its material/immaterial museum-related infrastructures from multidisciplinary points of view that also take intersectionality into account. Exploration of the museum as a concrete field of work is aimed at addressing fundamental questions related to current and historical processes of upheaval in society as a whole. These and other aspects of inquiry are dealt with within the framework of various forms of individual and collaborative reflection that are connected with practical, experimental, theoretical and mediating activities.

Ideally, the students should become actively involved in orienting the programme of study with respect both to subject matter and to methodology as well as in conceptualising and organizing public events (e.g., within the framework of the Platform that accompanies the programme), thereby helping to strengthen the programme’s democratic structure.


Target Group

This interdisciplinary master’s programme is geared to graduates of academic bachelor and diploma degree studies with a specialised area of study that permits a connection with the master’s programme or graduates of artistic bachelor and diploma degree studies with a specialisation that permits a connection with the master’s programme (on the condition that the applicant can provide sufficient evidence of their ability to perform independent academic work).

Graduates‘ Qualification Profile

Graduates are able to work in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary contexts and to analyse artistic and academic forms of practice, infrastructures and discourse that are related to museums. They are familiar with the current demands of museum work and are able to reflect critically and constructively on museums as institutions, with the aim of exploring the notion of museum itself and giving it new orientation.

On the basis of such reflection, they are able to identify development potential, devise alternative concepts for specific areas of interest, find new ways to approach and solve problems, and support or initiate efforts aimed at defining new orientation. This relates in particular to: collection policy; decolonisation and cultural heritage; forms of artistic practice and discourse; digitalisation; ecology and technological innovation; cultural diversity; accessibility and engaging with the public.  

Graduates have the practical and theoretical knowledge needed to work towards enabling museums to meet the demands placed on them as vibrant places of inspiration, discussion and production and as (self-) critical institutions of learning that are both socially relevant and socially engaged. 
Graduates are prepared to carry out work and research in a spirit of scientific inquiry, whether independently or as members of a team, and in compliance with current professional standards, and also to be able to put ideas into practice. They are familiar with possible areas of application and also with the process of expanding their own investigative horizons and developing their own strategies for finding answers. In addition, they are able to combine different kinds of expertise in collaborative work.

Graduates‘ Professional Fields

Numerous fields of work open themselves up to graduates of Expanded Museum Studies in various areas of professional activity both within the museum framework and in a larger environment of professional activity connected with museums, as well as in art and cultural institutions and related spaces for discussion and action.

The postgraduate, extra occupational programme for exhibition theory and practice /ecm - educating / curating / managing, which is also situated at the university, starts its next round in October 2022. Further information:

Information and Contact

Entrance Exam
Detailed information about the Entrance Exam

Written applications can be submitted in the period 1 to 30 July 2021 via https://application.uni-ak.ac.at.