MSc Heritage

Our MSc Heritage provides you with a state-of-the-art, critically informed, interdisciplinary education in heritage and its place in society, including its conservation and management.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc
  • Start date September 2021,September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time

Heritage is a global phenomenon with diverse economic, social, and political roles. It encompasses the surviving tangible and intangible traces of the past, but also the processes and practices that frame heritage in the present and produce particular kinds of futures.

The aim of this degree programme is to provide a critically informed interdisciplinary education in heritage, with two pathways. You may choose to specialise in one of these pathways or opt to take the broad programme without specialisation:

Shared core modules provide a foundation in current conceptual and theoretical debates about the nature of heritage and its importance in society, as well as practical issues relating to its conservation and management. Case studies, fieldtrips and input from heritage professionals introduce students to specific kinds of heritage and ‘real-world’ challenges, demands and opportunities.

Cutting-edge research training provides students with an excellent foundation for conducting independent research in the Dissertation, whilst vocational skills are embedded throughout the programme to produce competitive, work-ready graduates.

It provides successful students with excellent training for a career in the heritage sector, supported by critical-thinking, in-depth knowledge and wide-ranging skills. It also provides a strong foundation for doctoral research for those students contemplating a PhD in Heritage or a related area.

Successful graduates will be extremely well-placed to address current challenges and debates surrounding heritage and play an active role contributing to sustainable and resilient heritage futures

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

On successful completion of this programme, you should be able to:

  • Show critical understanding of the theories, concepts and principles used in heritage studies and heritage practice, as well as apply them to complex interdisciplinary problems and evidence
  • Demonstrate an intensive, detailed and critical knowledge of heritage, with the option to specialise in a pathway
  • Understand and deploy conservation policy and national/international heritage legislation to various ‘real-world’ scenarios
  • Apply critical reflection, analysis, evaluation and synthesis to developments, issues and challenges at the forefront of heritage research and practice
  • Use a significant range of vocational skills, digital techniques and specialised practices associated with the heritage sector
  • Search, retrieve, manage and analyse information from a wide variety of sources, including texts, numerical data, material culture, buildings, landscapes and people
  • Design, conduct and present an independent piece of research, informed by principles of ethical research

Work placements

Students have the opportunity to do a work-related dissertation as an alternative to the standard academic dissertation. While the assessment is the same for both, a work-related dissertation addresses an applied research topic developed in collaboration with an external partner. This topic will depend on the partner and its remit, but may focus on heritage management; collections management; heritage interpretation; event development, delivery and/or evaluation; digital and online media; audience engagement; contribution to exhibition development; marketing and fundraising; educational events and public engagement/outreach.

Vocational skills, critical reflection and career development are embedded throughout the MSc Heritage, and there are a variety of opportunities for networking with professionals in the heritage sector.

The University of Stirling also offers its students a range of internships.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Faculty facilities

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities hosts the interdisciplinary Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy. You will be a student member of the Centre and benefit from the vibrant lunchtime seminar series delivered by the Centre, as well as other events.

The Faculty is based in the Grade A Listed Pathfoot Building, which is also home to the University’s important art and sculpture collections. The Art Collection Curators contribute guest teaching and from time-to-time offer placements that MSc students can apply for.

The University has a number of national and international partnerships relating to heritage education and research. Our partnership with Historic Environment Scotland is particularly central to what we do and students benefit from The Engine Shed, their flagship national conservation centre located in Stirling. Other important partnerships include the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City.

The University of Stirling has an important heritage of its own. It was opened in 1967, one of the UK’s ground-breaking ‘plate glass’ Universities, which was part of a national drive to open up and diversify higher education. The University is set within the beautiful landscaped grounds of the historic Airthrey Estate with its associated Castle and Loch. You can find out more from this detailed Conservation Report produced by Simpson and Brown Architects.

Research overview

The MSc Heritage is delivered by academics conducting leading research at the forefront of a range of heritage specialisations. These include the following: heritage, identity and sense of place; heritage management and conservation; significance and authenticity; public values and community heritage; digital heritage; museums and their collections; intangible heritage and world heritage sites. Their research also has wide-ranging impact in these areas and they collaborate closely with a range of national and international heritage organisations.  This research informs teaching and supervision on the programme, providing you with access to state-of-the-art knowledge and expertise, as well as industry contacts and ‘real-world’ examples encompassing some of the most pressing challenges facing the heritage sectors. 

At the University of Stirling, Heritage research is submitted with History for evaluation by the UK’s Research Excellent Framework. In the last assessment (REF 2014), 100% of our research impact in History was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Cutting-edge research training will provide you with excellent support for supervised independent research in your Dissertation. Successful completion of the programme (with merit or distinction) will provide also you with a very strong foundation for doctoral study in a range of related disciplines. The University of Stirling’s new PhD in Heritage to provides an attractive progression route for top students graduating from this degree.

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