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 2023
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study part time, full time
  • Delivery on campus

Overview

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 course is to provide a critically informed interdisciplinary education in heritage. You may choose to take the broad programme without specialisation, or opt to specialise in a .

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
  • 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 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 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 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; 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 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.

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 the academic requirements for this course, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need for direct entry.

Explore INTO Stirling programmes to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available for this course and others at the University of Stirling.

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 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass with a minimum of 152/200 overall and 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 23 August 2022

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language 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

This MSc programme 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. Fieldtrips, case studies, and input from heritage professionals offer first-hand learning from a range of local, national, international, and professional contexts. You can take option modules with Stirling Management School (e.g. in project management and managing change). Cutting-edge research training is provided by academic staff at the forefront of research in their fields provides successful students with an excellent foundation for independent research.

Students can register for the broad MSc Heritage course or opt to specialise in the Cultural Heritage Studies pathway. No matter what you decide, you’ll choose from a range of optional modules alongside compulsory modules.

You can find more information on how you'll be taught and assessed in the course details section at the bottom of this page.

Additional guidance for students specialising in the Cultural Heritage Studies Pathway

Cultural Heritage Studies is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field that promotes critical understandings of how heritage operates in a global, interconnected contemporary world. The Cultural Heritage pathway enables you to engage with foundational issues in heritage conservation, management and interpretation through a dialogue between theory and practice. You will examine how heritage is selected, managed and used in response to present and future societal challenges.

This pathway provides a grounded, yet critically informed, knowledge of the social and political ‘work' of heritage, underpinned by the different intercultural perspectives and values that shape heritage. A broad range of optional modules allow you to specialise in particular areas, such as identity, memory and place-making; collecting and curating in museums; and managing historic environments. Option modules from the Stirling Management School also provide the opportunity to specialise in areas of management relevant to the heritage sector.

Successful graduates are well-placed to address current challenges and debates surrounding heritage and play an active role contributing to new heritage futures.

Modules are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes its curriculum of taught courses and not all of the options listed will be available every year.

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 2022). 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 programme 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. Fieldtrips, 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.

Fieldwork

Across your programme of study your classroom and independent learning is enhanced through fieldtrips. These provide first-hand experience of a wide variety of heritage sites, organisations, projects, natural and/or cultural environments, depending on your course selection. Through innovative design, fieldtrips 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 fieldtrips across the programme and provide 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 programme 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 fieldtrips 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 supervisions and group workshops). Additional career development and CPD workshops are distributed across the semesters.

MSc 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. Two of our core heritage teaching team (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:

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 / directorial roles on national heritage committees, learned societies and independent museums.

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 Lecturer Heritage and MSc Heritage Programme 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

  2022/23 2023/24
Students from the UK£8,200£8,700
Students from the Republic of Ireland£8,200£8,700
Overseas (non-EU) students£19,145£19,645
European Union students£19,145£19,645

Students from the UK

Course fees

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

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will 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.

Students from the Republic of Ireland

Course fees

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

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will 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.

European Union students

EU Postgraduate Scholarship

Eligible EU students will automatically receive our EU Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides a 40% fee discount on full-time, on-campus postgraduate degrees at the University of Stirling.

Course fees

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

If you need to extend your period of study, you will 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.

Overseas students (non-EU)

We offer a range of funding options for overseas students.

Course fees

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

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 £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 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.

Other sources of funding

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.

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.

European Union and overseas 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.

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 programme 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, fieldtrips 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 programme emphasises practical experience and input from sector professionals, including fieldtrips 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 Historic Environment Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland, Archaeology Scotland, National Museums Scotland, and The British Museum.

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