MA International Heritage Management (UK-US programme)

This unique one-year programme offers you the opportunity to study at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage in the autumn semester, and at the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy, University of Illinois, in the spring semester. Education at both universities is complemented by study trips.

Academic staff at both institutions engage with you throughout the programme through on-site guest lectures as well as long-distance participation. Your work is evaluated by the international team of staff and your MA dissertation is co-supervised.

You will gain deep exposure to heritage issues in the two countries as well as benefiting from academic expertise in the heritage management field worldwide.

We also offer an International Heritage Management MA programme full-time at the University of Birmingham, or by distance learning over one or two years - see our full range of courses


You will study three core modules at the University of Birmingham, and three core modules at the University of Illinois:

University of Birmingham (autumn semester)

  • Critical Approaches to Heritage
  • Heritage Conservation Management
  • Heritage Management Practice

University of Illinois (spring semester)

  • Heritage Proseminar in Research Methods
  • Heritage Management in Living Communities
  • Heritage and Regeneration

You will also have the opportunity to undertake site visits to key heritage locations in both the UK and US, which is included in your course fee. Your fee also includes accommodation at the University of Birmingham in the autumn semester and at the University of Illinois in the spring semester.

Why study this course

  • A unique collaboration – This programme is jointly delivered by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (University of Birmingham, UK) and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (University of Illinois, US) giving you an opportunity to draw on a wide range of expertise and networks.
  • 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 two exciting departments – You will join the lively postgraduate communities at both institutions with many opportunities to enhance your learning from external lectures and visiting scholars, to research seminars and conferences.
  • Access to academic support services – During your time at the University of Birmingham 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.

Heritage Proseminar in Research Methods

This proseminar introduces students to the core faculty of the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP), each of whom will deliver a seminar, sequentially week by week. Each professor will use his/her research to present the heritage issue investigated and how that project was conducted. This module will engage you with the process of research and the specific tools and approaches that researchers may use in the field of heritage. You will be introduced to qualitative research methods in anthropology, social archaeology, architecture, landscape architecture, heritage law, tourism, consumer studies, museum studies, informatics, and archives.

Heritage Management in Living Communities

This module will consider heritage in living communities around the world. The focus is on intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in its official and unofficial forms, and addresses the performative domain of heritage deeply embedded in dynamic cultural practices, thereby presenting a management conundrum. Theory is balanced with case studies, many drawn from case studies in Peru and Cambodia, that illustrate how heritage works and happens, including its conflicts. The evolution of ICH legislation is critically examined against on-the-ground realities. Included in the course coverage are the stakeholders at World Heritage sites, particularly the communities in proximity to these sites or with a cultural claim to such places. 

Heritage and Regeneration

Around the world architectural heritage is being used as a driver of urban regeneration. This module proposes a new and invigorating vision of urbanism, architectural design, and urban revitalisation in twenty-first-century America. Culling transformative ideas from the realms of cultural heritage, historic preservation, sustainability, ecological urbanism, and the innovation economy, the module presents a holistic vision for reviving decayed and largely depopulated industrial cities as well as stagnant non-industrial cities on the basis of restoration of their tangible and related intangible cultural heritage. The course emphases culture as a driver of regeneration and the concept of the creative economy. Examples are drawn mostly from the U.S., with additional case studies from England and China.

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: £21,870 full-time 

Your course fee includes tuition, accommodation and field trips in the autumn and spring semesters, and dissertation supervision for the remainder of the year. 

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. 

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

International students requiring visas

Monday 3 July 2017 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Applications will reopen for 2018 entry on 15 September 2017.

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

Apply now

Teaching within modules takes many forms, including lectures, field work and debates. 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.