This programme is managed by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, run jointly by the University and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and draws on the experience of one of the largest independent museums in Britain.
Distance learning is supplemented by two one-week long study weeks that use a rich variety of other museums and sites to illustrate particular aspects within the modules and provide an opportunity for networking with your fellow students.
To achieve the full MA, you will study an introductory module, Understanding Heritage, followed by four other core modules, with each module lasting two weeks. You will also attend two five-day Study Schools (one each year) and complete a 15,000-word dissertation. The Study Schools are extremely valuable in reinforcing elements of the programme you have just studied and provides and excellent opportunity to socialise with your fellow students and tutors.
Most modules are assessed by a 4,000-word report-style assignment.
Why study this course
The main advantage of studying by distance learning is the flexibility. You can study at home, in your own time and at your own pace, so you can combine achieving a qualification with work or family commitments.
A qualification from the University of Birmingham can be the springboard to promotion with your current employer, the platform from which to launch a new career or simply a way to become more effective in your current role.
Studying by distance learning has the benefit of allowing you to develop your career without having to leave employment. It also means that you can apply new knowledge and insights to your working life while you are still studying; many students choose to tackle work-related topics in their dissertations. And of course, studying at the University of Birmingham is a rewarding and enriching experience that brings about significant personal development.
Although self-study is central to doing a programme distance learning support is always available from tutors at the University. Our programmes are designed to keep you in touch with fellow students and tutors. The 'virtual learning environment' provides a focal point and helps provide a structure for your learning.
Our study materials are produced by academic staff in the specialist areas and are available online through the University's 'virtual learning environment'. They contain aims and objectives, reading lists, summaries of readings, activities and commentaries, discussion and reflection tasks, indexes and details of assignments required. On joining you are provided with a course handbook that introduces you to the team, provides details of their roles and expertise and gives all the contact information you will need including email addresses so that if you have any difficulties or questions you will know who to contact for help and guidance.
In addition to the full-time Birmingham based tutors you will be assigned a personal tutor. Personal tutors are available to answer questions regarding the content of your programme, and also to give advice and provide clarification if you don't understand something, for example what an assignment question demands.
You will study five core modules:
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.
Business Management and Finance for Heritage
During this module you will examine finance in heritage situations with a focus on fundraising and funding applications. You will be provided with an introduction to management and financial accounting, strategic management, income generation, personnel management, performance appraisal, and budgeting. Current issues such as museum charging, arts sponsorship, European funding and The National Lottery are fully considered.
Marketing is the range of activities which enables a heritage organisation to address a wide public and to select target audiences when appropriate. Marketing adjusts the organisation's messages to the outside world, and seeks to further its interests as laid down in policy objectives. This module introduces the basics of marketing theory, mechanisms of marketing, exploring the product, the marketing mix, using the media, market research, marketing strategy and applies them to heritage organisations.
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.
Fees and funding
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2013/14 are as follows:
MA (180 credits / 24 months): £3,240
Certificate (60 credits / 12 months): £2,160
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available.
For further information, visit the College of Arts and Law scholarships page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
Learn more about entry 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