MA World Heritage Studies

Start date
September
Duration
1 year full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

Annual tuition fee for 2020/21:
UK / EU: £9,250 full-time
International: £19,150 full-time
More detail.

Are you interested in developing your career in the heritage sector or at specific World Heritage Sites?

Delivered by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, this unique one-year programme is aimed at those who wish to acquire both a deeper understanding of the concepts and processes surrounding World Heritage in its cultural forms, its natural forms and as cultural landscapes.

World Heritage, both tangible and intangible, increasingly affects a significant proportion of the world’s population. It is now an essential concept for all engaged in the protection, development and management of heritage.

This course will provide you with necessary skills that will allow you to critically appraise and effectively manage World Heritage and its impacts in a sustainable manner. In addition it will allow you to take an informed position in policy debates regarding the implications of designation for local and national identities, community well-being and tourism and associated development.

The programme will draw upon international cases and practice and, being linked to the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, it also draws upon over 30 years of heritage management expertise. You will benefit from access to an international network of researchers working with the key academic debates around the World Heritage designation.

This programme is also available to study part-time by distance learning. For more information, see World Heritage Studies MA (distance learning).

If you are unsure whether to study MA World Heritage studies or MA International Heritage Mangement, please view our handy course comparison guide.

 

Why Study this Course?

  • A unique partnership – Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) is a partnership formed over 30 years ago 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 have the opportunity 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 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.
  • Employability skills – the skills and experience you will develop by studying the programme will be well-regarded by prospective employers in the heritage sector:

"Intangible Cultural Heritage is very much integrated in the discourse surrounding World Heritage and we very much welcome this programme of study which allow students the opportunity to explore the issues surrounding the management of intangible heritage, its inter-connectedness with notions of World Heritage and cultural landscapes, and how this can lead to a better appreciation of heritage as a whole."
Marilyn C Truscott, President, ICOMOS, International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage

"World Heritage Sites such as Petra require careful management and an understanding of so many different issues. We are pleased to support the University of Birmingham’s MA programme which helps students appreciate the many different sides of World Heritage and the problems and opportunities they present."
Dr Emad Hijaazen, Commissioner for Petra Archaeological Park, Jordan

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

Modules

Core Modules

You will study five core modules:

Critical Approaches to Heritage

This module seeks to introduce the core issues relating to understanding heritage. It looks critically at heritage in all its forms: tangible and intangible, official and unofficial, and examines how heritage ‘works’ and happens. Throughout heritage is treated as a complex modern phenomenon that plays an important part in modern life across the world. (Read more about this module)
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Issues in World Heritage Management

World Heritage is a fiercely contested area. The sheer diversity of site types, the cultural and political obstacles that are placed in the way of managers and the difficulties of reconciling local, national and international perspectives make these sites among the most challenging to work on. This module seeks to explore the common themes and issues that crop up in World Heritage management, and will use case studies and discussion groups to explore how these difficulties can be tackled. Among the more challenging areas to be tackled will be how intangible heritage can be managed and how to approach the issues of conserving natural heritage.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Tourism Management at World Heritage Sites

The paradox at the heart of World Heritage is that it is a brand that makes heritage sites more attractive to visit, yet in increasing numbers of visitors, the very heritage itself can be threatened. This module seeks to explore and explain key concepts in tourism management, such as carrying capacity, de-marketing, local community involvement, stakeholder participation and other key elements. Content will focus on World Heritage Sites endorsed through the UNESCO UNITWIN Network for Tourism, Culture and Development.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

World Heritage Case Study

You will be supported in acquiring the practical knowledge and skills that are necessary to effectively plan and manage a live work-based case study project and to establish useful contacts within World Heritage organisations in the UK or abroad.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Research Skills and Methods

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Optional Modules

You will also choose one optional module from a selection. The list of available modules in any one year can vary, depending on staff specialisms and availability. Modules available typically include:

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Heritage Management Practices

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. (Read more about this module)
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Overseas Visit

The programme also features an overseas visit. This is likely to be to the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO, Paris, to learn directly of the challenges of linking the protection and conservation of Sites with present and future environmental, social and economic needs.

Dissertation

In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is 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

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • UK / EU: £9,250 full-time
  • International: £19,150 full-time

Fee status

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


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Paying your fees

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.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students to apply is Wednesday 1 July 2020. The deadline for UK/EU students is Thursday 10 September 2020.

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

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

Our Standard Requirements

We typically ask for an Honours degree in a relevant subject, normally of an upper second-class standard, or equivalent. You do not need 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.

Students who do not hold a degree to the above standard but are able to demonstrate substantial relevant work experience are also invited to apply. Each application will be considered on a case by case basis.

International/EU students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

International Requirements


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

As a postgraduate on the World Heritage Studies MA programme, you will become part of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, based at the University of Birmingham. With over 30 years of experience in the field of heritage it seeks to equip all of its students with appropriate management skills and a critical approach to heritage studies. You will benefit from our research, our international networks and partnerships and our dedication and enthusiasm to better understand and manage cultural heritage around the world. 

Course delivery

We have two teaching terms per year, the autumn term and spring term. Term dates can be found on our website.

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each term, followed by your dissertation. Depending on the modules you take, you can typically expect six to nine hours of classroom time per week, two or three per module. 

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

The course also features an overseas visit.

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).

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Cultural Heritage

Over the past five years, 97% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: The International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region, South Korea; Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex World Heritage site, Russia; Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada; The Science Museum, UK; Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, China ; and Great Zimbabwe National Monument World Heritage site, Zimbabwe.