MA Heritage Management

This programme is appropriate for people working or planning to work in conservation and recording agencies, museums, tourism, environmental education, archaeology and landscape design and planning. It seeks to deliver the critical skills that those working in the heritage sector require to find employment in the sector or to carry on to research in heritage. Delivered with the benefit of external speakers drawing on their own experiences of the sector and visits to heritage sites gives the programme a particularly rich learning environment.

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

Course fact file

Type of Course: Continuing professional development, taught

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 12 months full-time

Start date: September

Details

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

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

You will take your module over the course of two semesters and also attend a one-week residential study school. 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. The study week is based at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site in Shropshire, and is run jointly by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and the University.

Modules

You will study five 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.

You will also attend a study week and have the opportunity to complete a work placement:

Study Week

The study week, generally based in the World Heritage Site at Ironbridge, is an ideal opportunity to experience management at one of the leading independent museums in the UK. Visits are led by key museum staff or involve visits to other major heritage attractions within the region that demonstrate particular aspects of heritage management.

Placements

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.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2014/15 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £5,940 full-time
  • Overseas: £13,665 full-time

Learn more about 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.

University of Birmingham graduates - including those due to graduate in summer 2014 - may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.

Entry requirements


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

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

Apply now

Learning and teaching

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 vibrant 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 through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

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.

Graduates with a postgraduate degree in Heritage Management 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. Historically, over 91% of our postgraduates have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.