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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 2024
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study full time, part time
  • Delivery on campus

Overview

There is a global interest in heritage as it has diverse economic, social, and political importance. Heritage encompasses the surviving traces of the past, but also the processes and practices that frame heritage in the present and their impact on the future.

You will acquire a sound foundation in current debates about heritage and its relevance in the world, as well as practical training in issues relating to its conservation and management.

You will be taught by expert academics who will use their research to inform your learning. Case studies, field visits and input from heritage professionals introduce you to specific kinds of heritage and ‘real-world' challenges, demands and opportunities. Cutting-edge research training provides you with an excellent foundation for conducting independent research in your dissertation, whilst vocational skills are embedded throughout the course to produce competitive, work-ready graduates.

Additionally, the University of Stirling has a partnership with the National Trust for Scotland to enhance research, teaching and learning. The National Trust for Scotland is Scotland’s largest conservation charity, with over three million people a year visiting the more than 100 sites it cares for, including ancient houses, battlefields, castles, gardens, coastlines and islands.

For MSc Heritage students, this partnership offers unique learning opportunities ranging from student placements with the National Trust for Scotland, case studies and field trips in teaching, guest lectures by experts from the Trust, and networking and research opportunities. 

The course provides you with excellent training for a career in the heritage sector, supported by critical thinking, in-depth knowledge and wide-ranging skills to also support career development in related sectors such as museums, arts management, and creative industries. It also provides a strong foundation for doctoral research for any students contemplating a PhD in Heritage or a related area.

Our graduates are 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 course, 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.
  • 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.

We are developing a placement module providing students with the opportunity to gain experience working with heritage sector partners. It will be launched in the academic year 2024/25 (subject to internal approval). 

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

Our flexible degree structure means you can study the following modules from the MSc Heritage individually as stand-alone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses:

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 Category 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 Heritage students can apply for.

The University has a number of national and international partnerships relating to heritage education and research, as well as 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 in a 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; 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 2021), we ranked in the top 15 in the UK for research impact and 3rd in Scotland for outputs and impact. 83% of our research impact in History is classed as 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 course (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.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

The degree programme is open to applicants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds (across the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Computing Science and Natural Sciences), as well as those in the workforce who wish to obtain a higher qualification in this area.

Your Honours degree or equivalent should be in a relevant subject. Ideally students should have a 2:1 or above in their first degree. We will consider students with a 2:2, but the programme is not recommended for those with a low or borderline 2:2 (or equivalent) in their first degree.

Other routes of entry

If you don't currently meet our academic requirements, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need to progress onto some of our courses. Explore INTO University of Stirling to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

The MSc Heritage provides you with an excellent foundation in current conceptual and theoretical debates, alongside a strong grounding in practical issues relating to the conservation and management of heritage. You will find a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, with modules from a wide range of disciplines, providing successful students with more advanced and diverse skills. Field visits, case studies, and input from heritage professionals offer first-hand learning from a range of local, national, international, and professional contexts. You’ll choose from a range of optional modules alongside compulsory modules, and you can take option modules with Stirling Management School (such as project management and innovation management). Cutting-edge research training is provided by academic staff at the forefront of research in their fields providing successful students with an excellent foundation for independent research.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

Learning, teaching and assessment on the course are designed to meet the learning outcomes and develop key graduate attributes to support your career development. You will be taught in small seminar groups led by academics at the forefront of research in their fields. Lecturers will set you directed reading and individual/group exercises in advance of seminar classes to encourage active student-led learning. Discussion and debate will encourage close interaction with staff and fellow students, advancing your understanding of key (often controversial) topics. You will also be asked to make formal and informal presentations, which will allow you to develop advanced communication skills. A strong interdisciplinary framework, offering modules from a wide range of disciplines, will introduce you to advanced and diverse skills. Field visits, case studies, and input from heritage professionals will be used to provide you with first-hand learning from a range of local, national, international, and professional contexts.

A significant amount of your time will be spent on undertaking independent study drawing on a variety of sources. This culminates in the dissertation where you produce a substantial piece of independent research with direction from an academic supervisor. If you choose to do a work-related dissertation you will also have support from an external partner in addition to your academic supervisor. Our cutting-edge research training module will provide you with an excellent foundation for this independent research, providing you with the skills to both design and conduct research projects in your future career pathway and/or further study.

We also draw on our heritage sector partnerships in the delivery of this programme. You will benefit from our extensive relationships with other organisations in the heritage sector, such as Historic Environment Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland, Archaeology Scotland, National Museums Scotland, and The British Museum.

We are developing a placement module providing students the opportunity to gain experience working with heritage sector partners. It will be launched in the academic year 2024/25 (subject to internal approval).

Fieldwork

Across your programme of study, your classroom and independent learning is enhanced through field trips. These provide first-hand experience with a wide variety of heritage sites, organisations, projects, and natural and/or cultural environments, depending on your course selection. Through innovative design, field visits support your attainment of course objectives by being integrated with learning outcomes, coursework and/or assessments. Our extensive relationships and partnerships with organisations in the heritage sector ensure a stimulating range of field visits across the course and provide an opportunity for you to deepen your understanding of the interplay between the local and global in heritage management, conservation, and interpretation.

Assessment

On this degree course, your assessment will be based on coursework, along with a supervised piece of independent research in the form of a dissertation. There will be no formal examination papers, but you experience a wide range of assessment methods designed to develop and assess advanced knowledge, critical thinking and diverse intellectual and practical skills.

In addition to essay assignments, depending on your module choices, you may produce oral presentations, reports, critical evaluations, academic posters, significance assessments, conservation plans, blogs and/or digi-essays among other things. The dissertation offers a standard academic route or a work-related route where you can work with an outside partner on an applied topic.

Assessment is closely linked to the intended learning outcomes for specific modules and strongly supported by the teaching and learning you experience. Your lecturers will provide formative assessment and feedback embedded in the teaching, or via office hours, to support your preparation for assignments. Students must pass all the taught modules and achieve a pass grade in the dissertation to be awarded the postgraduate qualification.

Classroom hours

Your exact timetable will depend on your module choices. Each module typically has 2 to 3 hours per week in the form of seminars and workshops, with field visits taking up additional half or full days. For these, you will also be required to engage in substantial directed reading, set exercises and other forms of preparation. Commitment to substantial independent study is also required for the preparation of assignments and research for the dissertation (the latter accompanied by 1-to-1 supervision and group workshops). Additional career development and continuing professional development (CPD) workshops are distributed across the semesters.

MSc Heritage students are also strongly encouraged to attend research seminar series organised by the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy and the Division of History, Heritage, and Politics, usually fortnightly during semester time. Here you will mix with PhD students and academics and become part of our vibrant research culture.

Key staff

You will be taught by academic staff at the forefront of heritage research, nationally and internationally. Three of our core heritage teaching team (Arora, Foster and Morgan) also have extensive professional experience working in the heritage and museum sectors, and you will also have guest lectures from heritage professionals.

Key staff in the teaching team for the MSc Heritage include:

Vanicka Arora is Lecturer in Heritage. Trained as an architect, with a specialisation in conservation of historic buildings, Vanicka has over a decade of experience as a professional consultant and policy maker in India and has taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in India and Australia. She has professional and academic expertise in heritage practices across South Asia (particularly India and Nepal), urban studies, disasters, and climate change and is interested in the politics and temporalities of heritage practice.

Professor Sally Foster is a Professor in Heritage. An interdisciplinary scholar whose research straddles heritage and museums, archaeology, history and art history, Sally is particularly interested in past and contemporary understandings of authenticity, value and significance to inform present and future practice. Materiality, biography and landscape are dominant themes in her research, with issues often explored through the lens of replicas, carved stones, the early church, and early medieval Scotland. Formerly a Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments at what is now Historic Environment Scotland, Sally has a close working relationship with many heritage and museum bodies and has a number of advisory / executive roles on national and international projects and heritage bodies.

Professor Siân Jones is Professor of Heritage and Head of Heritage. Siân is an interdisciplinary scholar cross-cutting archaeology, social anthropology and history, with a particular focus on heritage studies. She specialises in: heritage, identity politics, memory and place; the biography of monuments and landscapes; heritage management and conservation practice, including authenticity, intangible significance, and social and communal values. Siân is currently the Director for the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy and Co-Director of the Scottish Graduate School in the Arts and Humanities’ Heritage Hub. She works closely with a wide range of heritage organisations and a number of advisory / directorial roles on national committees.

Dr Jennie Morgan is a Senior Lecturer Heritage and MSc Heritage Course Director. Trained as a social anthropologist, Jennie is an interdisciplinary scholar interested in contemporary museum theory and practice within the field of critical heritage studies. Jennie also holds specialisms in ethnographic methods (including visual and sensory); collecting and collections; contemporary and everyday heritage; applied research and theoretical dialogue; and museum-community relationships. From undertaking fieldwork in different museums, and having worked as a Curator of Pictorial Collections in New Zealand, Jennie maintains links with national and international heritage organisations. She sits on the editorial board for Anthropology in Action and is a member of various professional associations.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023/242024/25
Students from the UK and Republic of Ireland£8,700£9,100
International (including EU) students£19,645£20,600

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our UK/Republic of Ireland Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Eligible students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course. 

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees. 

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry. 

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Funding 

Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship are for candidates from developing Commonwealth countries, looking to study selected postgraduate Masters courses.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

International (including EU) students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

We aim to produce graduates who will be future leaders and innovators in the heritage sector, contributing to the societal relevance and resilience of heritage. Join us and you could become one of them!

Successful graduation from the MSc Heritage will prepare you for a wide range of roles in the heritage and related sectors. Future career paths might include: heritage manager; heritage interpreter; heritage education officer; collections manager; various heritage tourism roles; heritage protection; heritage curator; outreach and public engagement roles; marketing officer and heritage researcher, to name just a few. The diverse range of advanced transferrable skills acquired through the MSc Heritage can also support career development in related sectors, such as museums, arts management and creative industries. Some of our students also go on to study for a PhD.

Testimonial quotes

A really strong MSc with a distinctive character, and strong teaching that manages to balance ‘pure research-led' and more ‘practical/applied’ teaching elements and experiences very effectively.

Professor David Harvey, Aarhus University, Past MSc Heritage External Examiner

Employability skills

The course offers a strong employability and skills experience to help you maximise your time at university and develop the graduate attributes employers look for. This is embedded in your core and option modules through guest industry speakers, field visits taking your learning beyond the classroom into natural and cultural heritage environments, and a range of assessments including those that mirror the world of work. There is plenty of opportunity for networking and building your contacts in the heritage sector. Students are encouraged to attend the Centre for Environment, Heritage, and Policy seminar series which showcases cutting edge research from academics and industry speakers.

With staff support, students have the opportunity to organise a half-day conference with invited industry speakers on current issues in the heritage sector. The dissertation project offers a work-related route where the student works with an outside partner on an applied project. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a dedicated Employability and Skills Officer. Through these opportunities, and more, you will develop a range of graduate attributes in critical and reflective thinking; professionalism, adaptability, and resilience; advanced interpersonal, teamwork and communication skills; a mature understanding of diverse identities and values; social, cultural, and environmental awareness; and the ability to enter the heritage sector as an active citizen with skills in ethical judgement.

On successful completion of this programme, you will have developed the following graduate attributes:

  • intellectual excellence in heritage;
  • critical, creative and reflective thinking;
  • substantial autonomy and responsibility;
  • professionalism, adaptability and resilience;
  • advanced interpersonal, teamwork and communication skills;
  • inclusivity, tolerance and mature understanding of diverse identities and values;
  • active citizenship and ethical judgement;
  • social, cultural and environmental awareness.

Companies we work with

Delivery of this course emphasises practical experience and input from sector professionals, including field visits and guest speakers. We draw on our heritage sector partnerships in the delivery of this programme. You will also benefit from our extensive relationships with other organisations in the heritage sector, such as our partners The National Trust for Scotland and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, Archaeology Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, National Museums Scotland, and The British Museum.

What our students said

Nathan Zuliani
Nathan Zuliani
France
MSc Heritage
I was attracted to the MSc Heritage at Stirling for its interdisciplinary education, the helpful staff, and the support students receive to become successful after they graduate. 
Read Nathan's story
Alina Botezatu
Alina Botezatu
Romania
MSc Heritage
Some of the most memorable experiences were the field trips to heritage sites and museums. They were thoroughly prepared by the organisers to bring together what we have learned in each module and place it in a practical context.
Read Alina's story
Lewis Mackin
Lewis Mackin
United Kingdom, USA
MSc Heritage
The MSc Heritage not only helped me gain a position at the National Gallery of Scotland but also thrive in it.
Read Lewis's story

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