MSc Cultural Heritage Management

Location

RAU Swindon

Duration

1 year (full time) or 2+ years (part time)

Academic Year

Commences either 30 September 2024 or 27 January 2025

Buildings are a direct link to the past – to the people who built them, to the people that lived in them, and to economies and societies that produced them.

Course overview

Cultural Heritage is all around us. It is at the centre of current political debates around identity, how we feel about our past, and who we as a country want to be on the international stage. To be part of shaping the UK’s cultural heritage landscape is a rewarding and challenging career, requiring a wide and varied range of skills and knowledge.

The MSc in Cultural Heritage Management is designed to give learners a broad and thorough grounding in the varied and fast-moving cultural heritage sector. It will equip learners with the wider contextual and practical skills to allow them to engage analytically with a variety of real-life heritage issues. As the course progresses, learners will be able to follow their developing interests and tailor the direction of their assessed learning to pursue a variety of professional heritage careers. This MSc provides a more flexible pathway into cultural heritage, ideal for learners who have a particular specialism or area of interest they would like to build upon, or those who wish to gain a broad range of experiences across the sector.

The RAU has been at the forefront of land-based education for more than 180 years, and to study cultural heritage here is a natural choice. The programme is taught in the historic Cultural Heritage Institute, the RAU’s Swindon campus set in the ‘heritage capital of England’, home to the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic England. It provides unparalleled opportunities to work with key heritage agencies and to gain management insights.

 

Course content

This programme has specifically been designed to meet the needs of postgraduate learners many of whom may be combining study with work and/or caring or other responsibilities. Teaching is designed to be fully flexible, to allow full participation for both part-time and full-time students. You can enter the programme in either September or January.

All sessions are offered in a hybrid format and you can choose whether to attend any session in-person or to participate remotely, as best suits your needs. We do recommend that you attend field trips in-person to get the most from your experience. All in-class sessions are recorded live and made available to students who prefer to access the sessions asynchronously.* The teaching sessions are timetabled on Thursdays and Fridays, with each module being taught 10:00-12:00 and then 13:00-15:00/16:00 on the same day, each week, for the full year (both semesters). This allows you to fulfil other commitments you may have, such as work, family and interests. Full-time students study on both days, with part-time students on just one.

Our sessions are built around exercises to support and scaffold the learning process, and to provide valuable opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. Material is taught in workshop format combining formal elements, such as lectures, with more hands-on exploratory or consolidatory exercises, for example discussions, ‘live’ group research to explore or apply a particular concept, group-critique sessions, supported writing exercises, and problem-based learning.

*Visa students will need to attend all sessions in person due to UKVI visa requirements.

Course structure

The programme consists of seven taught modules and a dissertation project. 

The taught modules include three which are a compulsory core and four selected from a further four options. Assessments are very varied but all involve different forms of course work.

In addition to the taught modules you will produce an academic dissertation focusing on a particular research topic of interest to you. 

If you are interested in studying this subject but cannot commit to the full MSc programme it is also possible to study for a Certificate or Diploma in the subject.

Postgraduate Certificate

The PGCert - or Postgraduate Certificate - is the shortest of our Masters level offerings. It allows you to study a specific area of cultural heritage in depth but takes less time to complete than the MSc or PGDip. All students will take the core Conservation Planning module and can then choose to specialise in either Historic Buildings and Landscapes, Managing and Sustaining the Historic Environment or Heritage Interpretation.

Our PGCert is designed to be ultra-accessible. All classes are offered both in person and synchronously online, with session recordings available for students unable to attend a particular session. The PGCert is a great way of fitting postgraduate study around a busy life. Full-time students can complete the course in as little as one semester (depending on choice of optional module). Part-time students can choose to spread the course over up to two years, giving you lots of time for thinking and writing between modules. It is ideal if you want to enter the cultural heritage management sector but would rather not commit to a full MSc with its attendant time and financial costs.

The PGCert can be a great way into a career in this exciting industry but if you desire to continue your studies, PGCert credits can be used to contribute towards a PGDip or even an MSc qualification later down the line.

Postgraduate Diploma

The PGDip - or Postgraduate Diploma – is a Masters level course that sits between the PGCert and the full MSc. It allows you to study Cultural Heritage in depth but without undertaking the Dissertation element. Consequently, it takes substantially less time to complete than the MSc, while still covering the same taught elements. All students will take three MSc core modules; Conservation Planning, Managing and Sustaining the Historic Environment and Heritage Interpretation. You can then specialise with one optional module chosen from Archaeology, Historic Buildings or Practical Conservation, Regeneration and Place-Shaping.

Our PGDip is designed to be ultra-accessible. All classes are offered both in person and synchronously online, with session recordings available for students unable to attend a particular session. The PGDip is a great way of fitting postgraduate study around a busy life. Full-time students can complete the course in as little as two semesters (depending on choice of optional module). Part-time students can choose to spread the course over up to six years, giving you lots of time for thinking and writing between modules. It is ideal for students who want to enter the Cultural Heritage Management sector but would rather not commit to a full MSc with its attendant time and financial costs.

The PGDip can be a great way to boost your heritage career, or indeed to enter this exciting industry. We recognise that life can be unpredictable so the PGDip is built to be as flexible as possible. Should you desire to continue your studies, PGDip credits can be used to contribute towards an MSc qualification later down the line. Conversely, if you need to cut your studies short for any reason, it is also possible to convert the PGDip to a PGCert after the completion of two modules.

Timetables

Timetables are normally available one month before registration.

The in-person teaching sessions are timetabled on Thursdays and Fridays, with each module being taught 10:00-12:00 and then 13:00-15:00/16:00 on the same day, each week, for the full year (both semesters).  This allows you to fulfil other commitments you may have, such as work, family and interests.  Full-time students study on both days, with part-time students on just one.

Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and societies activities.

Modules

  • 4729 Landscape Archaeology
  • 4730 Debates in Archaeology
  • 4732 Conservation Planning
  • 4733 Understanding Buildings and Landscapes
  • 4735 Managing and Sustaining the Historical Environment
  • 4736 Heritage Interpretation
  • 4700 Dissertation

* Optional additions to the course will incur additional charges

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

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Careers and graduate destinations

This programme will help learners develop an in-depth and applied understanding of cultural heritage enabling graduates to pursue a wide range of careers in the cultural heritage sector.

Optional modules will allow you to tailor your MSc to a specialist area (for example, standing buildings consultancy or archaeology) within the wider sector. On completion of the course our students will be able to work in built environment management, planning, heritage property management, regeneration projects, grant-awarding bodies, heritage organisations such as Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust, museums or heritage site interpretation, private heritage consultancies, heritage outreach and education, or as self-employed heritage consultants. It also provides an excellent grounding for further academic study, for example at PhD level.

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Entry requirements

An Undergraduate Honours Degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university or overseas equivalent, or a professional qualification and/or experience considered to be equivalent to the above. For information on international qualifications, please, see our country specific pages. For countries not listed please contact admissions@rau.ac.uk.

First degree subject areas include: Heritage, History, Land Management, Architecture or Geography. There is, however, great breadth in the heritage sector meaning that degrees in business, arts, sciences, media, or the wider humanities are often very relevant.

We welcome applications from applicants with non-standard qualifications who are able to demonstrate knowledge, experience and skills developed in the workplace or elsewhere and which are relevant to the programme of study. Applicants will need to use their personal statement to provide further details supported by a CV. All non-standard applications will be considered by the Programme Manager on a case-by-case basis and applicants can expect that an interview may be required as part of the admissions process.

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our English language requirements for the level of study. For postgraduate taught programmes this is IELTS Academic min. overall 6.5 with no element below 5.5 (or equivalent). English language tests usually have a validity of 2 years from the date the test is taken.

Offers will typically be made in line with the academic requirements set out above. Offers can be conditional or unconditional. An unconditional offer will be made to applicants who have already met the conditions and provided evidence that conditions have been met. Where academic or language requirements have not yet been fulfilled, applicants will receive a conditional offer stating the requirements that must be met. 

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Fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing module fees, or dissertation extensions).

2024-25 Applicants

For the academic year 2024-25 the tuition fees for this course are:  

  UK Overseas/EU
Full-time £10,950 per year £18,050 per year
Part-time Fees are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of modules taken. Please refer to Tuition Fees webpage Fees are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of modules taken. Please refer to Tuition Fees webpage

Please note: International students can study on a part-time basis only if they are in the UK with a different type of visa (other than Student Visa/Tier 4 General) that allows them to undertake part-time study and their visa does not expire prior to the end date of the proposed course of study.

There are no additional fees for any activity conducted during the teaching days. Expenses (travel and admission) incurred during self-directed visits will however fall to the student – all activities are structured so they can be undertaken at any heritage location near to the student and either free or at minimum cost.

Please contact admissions@rau.ac.uk before you apply to confirm your eligibility.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

For full details, please visit the fees and funding webpage.

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