MA International Heritage Management

The MA in International Heritage Management is a well-established and respected programme based on a unique partnership between a leading research University and one of the largest independent museums in the UK, the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust. 

It offers you the opportunity to engage with a rich and diverse international research community based at the University and researching many aspects of heritage and its management across the world, and the practical experience of the Museum Trust in running heritage attractions. Through a combination of  lectures provided by experts in their field and a programme of study visits, you engage with diverse aspects of heritage management and research approaches that will enable you to progress in the sector.

This programme is also available by distance learning – see International Heritage Management MA (distance learning).

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Karin de Figueiredo

“I chose Birmingham because I thought the course was more directed towards a working professional life. It was lot more directed towards meeting people who are doing the job that you want to do and talking to them and establishing connections. It was a lot more real-world orientated and really helpful in the long run. ”

You will study six core modules [full descriptions available below]:

  • Critical Approaches to Heritage
  • Heritage Conservation Management
  • Heritage Management Practice
  • Heritage Interpretation
  • Research Skills and Methods
  • Assessed Study Week

You will take your modules over the course of two semesters. A one-week residential study school takes place in the second semester, based in accommodation provided by the University. You complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation.

Our heritage management programmes are taught in the ERI building on the Birmingham Campus, where dedicated research space is available to students. 

Why study this course

  • A unique partnership – Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IICH) is a partnership formed over 30 years between the University of Birmingham and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. You will have the opportunity to work with museum professionals and world-leading academics to enhance your learning experience.
  • Global outlook – you will get to meet people from all over the world which will impact on your experience through learning about a variety of different contexts within which heritage is being operated globally.
  • Be a part of an exciting department – You will join a lively postgraduate community at Ironbridge Institute with many opportunities to enhance your learning from external lectures and visiting scholars, to research seminars and conferences.
  • Access to academic support services – As a postgraduate student you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work which will aid your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away.  


You will study six core modules:

Critical Approaches to Heritage

This module seeks to introduce the core values of heritage and looks at the evolving national and international charters and systems that underpin the delivery of heritage protection. It looks at heritage in all its forms: tangible and intangible, official and unofficial and critically examines how heritage works and happens. 

Heritage Conservation Management

Everyone responsible for a part of the heritage is working with a finite resource which must be managed appropriately to ensure its long term survival. Key concepts such as stewardship and sustainability are considered in this module. The premise that creative conservation can only be achieved through economic viability and accountability runs through the sessions. Core training is provided in conservation and planning legislation, visitor management, integrated management of historic properties, collections management and carrying capacity.

Heritage Management Practice

This module aims to outline the range of practical and professional skills that are required in running a heritage site. It looks at the issues surrounding financial management and fundraising, the management of people, including staff and volunteers as well the wider national and international context of museum charging, arts sponsorship, and external funding.  The module also covers the marketing of heritage sites, including the increasing importance of digital media and social networking. Assessment is through the creation of a feasibility study for a new heritage attraction.

Research Skills and Methods

This module provides the core research skills to consider different aspects of heritage by understanding and applying a range of techniques of data collection in practical settings, including investigating the environment (using archaeological sources and paper and digital cartographic resources, observing the landscape and the built environment); investigating archives (researching paper and digital manuscript and printed and visual sources); exploring objects and artefacts (using materials in museums and museum websites and private and public cultural settings); and researching intangible materials (exploring oral history and traditions and public and private memories).

The module also considers ‘heritage’ as a contemporary lived phenomenon, one that is global in extent and yet local in its experience, essentially a ‘public’ resource that is inevitably contested and both uniting and divisive in its effects. Accordingly, students will be introduced to the techniques whereby these aspects of ‘heritage’ are studied, including approaches to its management and recording, the communities that make associations with particular heritages, and the attributes of heritage sites and landscapes.

Heritage Interpretation

This module explores good practice in interpretation, the art of revealing to visitors the meaning and significance of objects and places. The philosophy of interpretation is considered and issues such as selectivity and bias are debated. Interpretation is considered in the contexts of recreation management, tourism, education and museums. Key concepts include communication theory, interpretative planning and programming, exhibition design and layout, visitor behaviour, interpretative media, language for interpretation, monitoring and evaluation.

Study Week

The study week is an ideal opportunity to experience a diverse range of heritage sites, and engage with the staff who run them so that you gain an insight into real-life projects and keys aspects of management practice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a work placement:


Our wide network of contacts with the industry in the UK mean that we can offer placements in a wide range of institutions, enhancing students’ career prospects and offering the opportunity to gather data for your dissertation.

Please note that the optional modules listed on the website for this programme are intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £7,890 full-time
  • Overseas: £16,260 full-time

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

You will need an Honours degree in a relevant subject, normally of an upper second-class standard, or equivalent. You do not have to have prior experience of the subject, but we would expect to see evidence of engagement with or enthusiasm about heritage in your personal statement.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

Learn more about applying

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

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Teaching within modules takes many forms, including lectures, field work, debates, presentations and role-play. You will also work closely with a personal tutor throughout the course.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Graduates from the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage can boast a wide combination of skills that can be applied to a number of careers, including museums work, conservation and regeneration, the management of historic buildings and landscapes, and cultural tourism.

Over the past five years, over 95% of our postgraduates were work and/or further study six months after graduation. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: Birmingham Museums Trust; National Trust; Canal and River Trust; English heritage; Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust; and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.