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Heritage (MA, PGDip, PGCert)

The Heritage MA offers students an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of heritage from the perspective of different disciplines, including archaeology and history.

It enables students to gain critical acumen in exploring the meanings of heritage as a concept and how such concepts are applied in the UK and on a worldwide basis, thus providing valuable insights and an understanding of a sector that is gaining increased significance in today’s world.

Heritage, as understood here, is a concern for the past, imagined and constructed in (and for) the present, but set within a wider appreciation for the future. The past as Heritage might include the tangible surroundings of landscape, art, building and written traces, alongside the more intangible aspects of heritage such as a sense of place, cultural space and resonance, or a locus of ritual, festivals and social memory.

The MA considers how Heritage is a contested field: set within a framework of communal/ social needs and obligations, and concerned with issues of interpretation and representation. Heritage is also an economic resource and product, an ‘industry’ interwoven into the economic life of community and state, shaped by decisions of conservation and preservation, and directed through a network of overlapping political, legal and institutional ambitions and priorities.


You can apply directly to the University using the Apply Now button at the top of the page. 

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Contact Name: Dr Angus M Slater

Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Home: £7,800
Overseas (distance/online): £10,400
Overseas (on-campus): £15,000
Fees are for the whole course

Why choose this course?

  1. Hands-on approach and innovative immersive teaching in small groups and one-to-one tutorials
  2. Opportunity to complete a work placement with a relevant heritage organization, for example, CADW, Historic England/English Heritage, National Trust, RCAHMW, and St Fagans National History Museum
  3. Opportunities to explore cutting-edge techniques in the field of digital humanities
  4. Chance to produce original research and to develop transferable skills
  5. Flexibility in learning: the MA is available both on-campus and as a distance learning course. You can choose to study from the comfort of your own home using our VLE (virtual learning environment) and the course content and reading material we provide or in a more traditional classroom environment (also supported by VLE).

What you will learn

Course Overview

This unique Master's degree provides students with the chance to develop a unique understanding of the heritage sector and provides students with strong opportunities for entering heritage-related employment. It combines two broadly based compulsory modules with distinct and specialised option modules that allow students to develop their own unique engagement the theoretical, conceptual and practical issues surrounding heritage.

In Part One, each module is worth 30 credits. There are two compulsory modules 'Heritage in the Political World: Communities and Comparative Aspects' and 'Unravelling the Past: History, Theory and Methods'. In addition students have a choice from the list of optional modules noted below.

Module Topics

Part I (PG Cert, PG Dip & MA)

Heritage in the Political World: Communities and Comparative Aspects (30 credits; compulsory)

This module explores the connections between heritage activity and the socio-political contexts in which it is undertaken. Students interrogate how the past is conceived, created and represented in (and by) different social agents (individuals, communities, heritage organisations. The module develops a critical understanding of concepts and theories relating to the creation and representation of tangible and intangible heritage and explores and public engagement with these heritage materials.

Unravelling the Past: History, Theory and Methods (30 credits; compulsory)

This module enables students to explore the connections between Heritage activity and the political, legal and institutional contexts in which it is undertaken and to investigate how the past is conceived and represented in (and by) various Heritage agencies and providers. The module covers various methodologies, approaches and ethical issues faced in Heritage Studies and provides a critical understanding of the political, legal and institutional frameworks within which Heritage is conceived and practised.

Welsh History and Heritage (30 credits; optional)

This module enables students to engage critically with key issues surrounding Welsh history and national identity and how these are manifested in contemporary culture and in heritage sites. It largely focuses on the late 18th century onwards, and explores the influence that the medieval history of Wales has had on national identity and the Welsh national ‘revival’ of the 19th century. Alongside this, students will be introduced both to important local heritage sites and to key repositories, libraries and archives that can be used to research Welsh history and heritage.

Introduction to Digital Humanities (30 credits; optional)

This module is a practical skills-based module. It engages with new forms of historical enquiry supported by emerging digital humanities. Students will acquire basic skills in programming, web design, database construction and XML. In exploring the design, creation, management and use of digital resources in the humanities students will interrogate the potential usefulness and limitations in historical research.

Work Placement (30 credits; optional)

This module gives students the opportunity to work in the heritage/museum (and related) industry for up to 4 weeks. Students develop a critical understanding of work-related issues and an awareness of professional standards and make a valid contribution to the aims, objectives or of the organisation or practitioner concerned.

Screening the Past: Film and History (30 credits; optional)

This module explores the history of cinema and the manner in which history has been represented in film. Students critically analyse films from different time periods and which depict different historical eras to consider the problems and potentialities of using historical film as a medium to understand, represent and interpret the past.

Archaeological Project Design and Delivery (30 credits; optional)

This module provides fundamental skills in project design and management.  The module examines legal requirements, professional standards and guidelines relevant to investigation and the processing, publication and storage of data and materials. It considers the different roles of clients, stakeholders and project team members and how to ensure effective communication between them.

Writing the History of Power: From Democracy to Dictatorship (30 credits; optional)

This module looks to prepare students to become independent and reflective researchers by introducing them to current debates, applying appropriate methodologies by looking at a number of paradigmatic case studies and exploring the most important types of primary sources useful in writing the history of power.

Part II (MA)

MA Dissertation (History and Heritage) (60 credits; compulsory)

In Part Two, students are given the opportunity to research in detail a topic which has particularly appealed to them and write an extended dissertation (for 60 credits). Students will be allocated a supervisor to help guide them through their dissertations.


The programme draws upon a wide range of assessment techniques, which aim to produce historians with a multifaceted set of skills and knowledge. Modules concentrate in particular on essay-writing, but also include the following assessments: book reviews; reflective journals; posters; group and individual presentations, web programming and design exercise; source commentaries and film analyses.

The core assessment is the final 15,000-word dissertation. The dissertation places a premium on originality and independent research. To equip students with the necessary knowledge and techniques for dissertation work, they are required to take a research methodology module early in their degree. This grounds students with the essential skills that are then finessed in other modules, culminating with the dissertation itself.

Key Information

Entry Criteria

Applicants are expected to have a good first degree (a first or upper second), although every application is considered in its own merit, so places may be offered on the basis of professional qualification and relevant experiences. Candidates with a lower degree classification or no degree may be admitted at Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma level, with an opportunity to upgrade to Master’s level if satisfactory progress is made.

Career Opportunities

This programme is ideal for those who want to learn more about the heritage industry and the representation of the past, but there are also some more practical module choices to help students improve their job prospects. Many of the students who undertake the course on a part-time basis are already in employment and wish to gain a postgraduate qualification as a possible means to promotion or change of job role. Former students include journalists, writers, storytellers, teachers, lecturers, editors and people who work in the tourist or heritage industries.

Additional Costs

Students may spend up to £300 per year on books and additional related materials.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Bursaries and Scholarships section.

Further Information

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions related to the University or to this course in particular.