Heritage Management

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How to Apply

Combine placements and projects with robust conceptual thinking through this dynamic MA course.

  • developed and taught by leading heritage practitioners
  • a chance to build expertise in areas that most interest you
  • opportunities to work in partnership with major heritage organisations, specialists and researchers

“I think it is safe to say that I owed my job with English Heritage to the experiences I gained during my MA.”
– Anneka Harris, MA Heritage Management, 2012

Why study Heritage Management ?

The physical remains of our past – buildings, landscapes, city streets, archives, artefacts and archaeological sites – and the intangible associations of tradition, language and memory continue to shape our lives. However, the ways we understand and manage ‘heritage’ are changing rapidly.

We’ll challenge you to think about what heritage means, help you to set heritage management in its social, political and economic context, and give you the chance to apply your understanding through a range of research and practice-based projects with our regional, national and international partners.

Course structure

You’ll explore how heritage sites are managed, presented and explained. We’ll teach you to consider their value beyond something to see or a place to visit.

What challenges are heritage bodies currently facing? What choices do they make in dealing with them? How will pressures on public funding for heritage in the UK – and further afield – shape our experience of visiting and working in museums and heritage sites in the future? And how will our wider understanding of heritage change as a result?
Trying to answer such questions provides a framework for practical work in the sector, underpinned by hands-on, supportive teaching. We want you to become involved in a range of projects, working with our extensive range of partners, and to gain experience on the ground.


  • Trimester 1 
    Provides the foundation for your subsequent study. We will explore changing and contested ideas about the nature of heritage, examine the social, political, and economic context in which heritage is defined and managed, and consider the best of current practice through a series of workshops. These are led by some of the best professionals in the sector, many of whom will continue to offer you support and advice.
  • Trimester 2 
    Tests how far your thinking has developed. You will plan and undertake an independent research project, which allows you to ask key questions about an aspect of current practice which most inspires or concerns you. In parallel with this, you will complete a 25 day placement with one of our many partners in the sector.
  • Trimester 3 
    Marks the culmination of your studies, the chance to complete an extended piece of research through a dissertation or to design and deliver a new project in collaboration with a heritage site, museum, archive or community group, or to work with artists and teachers, health professionals and developers.

Part time students follow the same sequence of modules, but do so over two years, working from theory to practice and assessing both in relation to one another.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed through a mix of project work, formal essays, reports and a final dissertation or project. For a final project you could produce a film, develop a website, or prepare learning materials. Alternatively, a more traditional dissertation might lead you to further research and a PhD.

Study abroad

We offer an optional exchange visit with Claremont Graduate University, comprising a week’s study here and in California, usually in June and July. The visit is an opportunity to test all your ideas about how heritage works, in a very different setting, and to explore some important areas of difference and perhaps surprising similarity.

Field trips

We make extensive use of the extraordinary heritage of the city and the surrounding area. There are two World Heritage Sites on our doorstep – the iconic landscape of Stonehenge and Avebury and Bath itself - and some of the most innovative organisations in the field.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We work closely with organisations such as the Bath Preservation Trust, the Holburne Museum, and Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, and we have links and partnerships with bodies throughout the region, nationally and internationally.

Our students have completed projects with, among others: English Heritage; the National Trust; the World Heritage Sites at Avebury and the City of Bath; Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum; M Shed in Bristol; HMS Victory; ss Great Britain; the Roman Baths Museum; and the Churches Conservation Trust. They have also worked with smaller, more informal organisations, where much of the most exciting contemporary practice develops

Teaching methods

We deliver much of the course through intensive workshops, often run by leaders in their own field in the heritage sector. These are complemented by guest lectures, offering you the chance to become involved in thinking about major heritage issues as they develop, and by the sessions which you run for the group, as you develop your own expertise.

We pose challenging questions about our thinking and practice, and offer students the opportunity to explore this through a series of practical projects, working in partnership with a wide range of heritage organisations across Bath, the region, and beyond.

Application method

Application forms are available online and should be completed and returned to us either electronically or through the post. If you have any queries please contact the admissions department:

Telephone: (01225) 875624.

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

For all enquiries about the course, please contact Dr Alison Hems, Course Director:

Telephone: (01225) 876363.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have a good first degree (2.1 or above) in any academic subject. Applicants without a first degree may be considered if they can demonstrate considerable relevant experience; they may be asked to attend an interview.

If English is not your first language then you will need to provide evidence of proficiency in written and spoken English. The English language requirements can be found here

Career opportunities

Careers in the heritage sector include:

  • collections management
  • education and learning
  • exhibition planning and implementation
  • community engagement and outreach
  • marketing and fundraising
  • operational management
  • events planning
  • retail and visitor services.

The course includes a range of generic skills and opportunities aimed at those looking interested in the voluntary sector, social enterprises, fundraising, and a wide range of administrative and management roles.

Some of our graduates go on to complete postgraduate research, and we have a growing cohort of PhD students working in the field of heritage studies.

What students say...

Our graduate students have undertaken placements with national bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, the National Trust and the Churches Conservation Trust, as well as with tiny volunteer organisations pioneering new work. They have worked at the Holburne Museum in Bath, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, M-Shed in Bristol and the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. They helped organise events, deliver learning programmes, and prepare interpretation strategies. They contributed to fundraising and marketing campaigns, set up databases and monitoring systems, initiated research and compiled education packs; they assessed visitor management in one the country's busiest museums and considered the complexities inherent in preserving and interpreting the national fleet of historic ships. They have been involved in transformation programmes and in preparing funding applications; in social media and re-enactment. They have met national figures in the sector, and heard first-hand from the people who shape current practice. They developed new skills and insights for themselves, and for the organisations with whom they worked.

Graduates of the course have gone onto work in a number of heritage organisations. As one of them puts it: The combination of theory and practical experience was the perfect balance and gave me a distinct advantage when applying for my current role as a Management Trainee for English Heritage.