Master of Heritage Studies

The University of Western Australia Faculty Of Arts

Program Description

Master of Heritage Studies

The University of Western Australia Faculty Of Arts

Master of Heritage Studies

About the course

The Master of Heritage Studies aims to meet the training needs of all those who wish to work in a field that intersects with heritage, be this in government, the business sector, non-governmental organisations, international organisations, museums, universities, heritage agencies, national and provincial parks and more. Two areas of specialisation are offered: Indigenous Australian heritage and international heritage.

Drawing on Australia’s leadership and experience in developing socially engaged and socially responsible heritage practice, this degree covers all types of heritage and offers training in working with, caring for and sharing heritage. Issues of legislation, management, conservation, tourism, development, stewardship, presentation, sustainability, ethics and commodification are some of those covered.

Heritage Studies is an area of particular research strength at UWA. You will be taught by international experts, have the option of gaining heritage experience in China, take part in heritage study tours and undertake professional heritage work placements. Western Australia is heritage-rich, with 50,000+ years of tangible Indigenous heritage and vibrant intangible heritage traditions.

The course is taught through the Faculty of Arts and the School of Indigenous Studies. The Faculty of Arts has over 3000 students studying across a broad range of disciplines in the humanities, cultural and social studies, languages and music. The School of Indigenous Studies teaches courses in Indigenous knowledge, history and heritage to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and provides the cultural and academic leadership, strong Indigenous student support and quality Indigenous knowledge, teaching and research, to enable the University to fulfil its Indigenous higher education objectives.

Course structure

This course consists of units up to a total value of 96 points.

Year 1: Take the two compulsory units plus six optional units.

Year 2: Write a dissertation, undertake a professional work placement and either (a) do a study tour or (b) take an additional two optional units.

Students who successfully complete 24 points may graduate with a Graduate Certificate in Heritage Studies, whilst those who successfully complete 48 points may graduate with a Graduate Diploma in Heritage Studies.

Students have up to 5 years to complete the Master of Heritage Studies.

Students who have completed a major in Indigenous Knowledge, History and Heritage or equivalent, as recognised by the Faculty and School, may be eligible for advanced standing for conversion units up to the value of 24 points.

Compulsory units

1. Debates in Heritage Studies

Providing the theoretical underpinnings of the degree, this unit considers the history of heritage studies and provides the opportunity to engage critically with contemporary heritage debates, especially non-Western critiques of early heritage writings. It includes discussions around the definition of heritage and how people from a broad spectrum of disciplinary backgrounds, locally and globally, theorise and work with heritage.

2. Working with Stakeholders

Learn how to work and interact with a range of stakeholders, especially Indigenous communities, as well as the nature of Aboriginal knowledge in relation to heritage and the basic level of cultural literacy required for ethical and professional heritage practice. Experts in Indigenous world views and culture share their community experiences.

Optional units

3. Conservation in Cultural Landscapes, Historic Towns and Urban Precincts

Investigate the processes of identification, assessment, and management of cultural significance in a range of places, globally to locally, across the three international areas of conservation: cultural landscapes, historic towns, and urban conservation areas. Using global and local case studies, examine how places have been assessed, recorded and protected, and the levels of conservation planning that have been applied to them.

4. Archaeological Resource Management

Archaeology has two main themes: the presentation of archaeology to the public and the public’s perception of archaeology; and archaeology as heritage, including the reasons for protecting archaeological remains, the mechanisms for doing this within the existing legislative framework. Topics include ownership of archaeological heritage, repatriation, archaeology and identity and presenting archaeology.

5. Foundations in Heritage Management

Investigate the shift from object-based to significance-based heritage management systems. Review types of significance and how it is determined. Consider how to build significance-based heritage management frameworks and plans.

6. The Business of Sustainable Heritage

Offering a practical overview of how to run a financially sustainable heritage business, this unit probes a range of good business practices that can lay the groundwork for financial sustainability. Explore common mistakes and the practices to help avoid them. Including payroll, financial management and reporting, tax and auditing, subsidy models and grant funding options, this course is case study heavy.

7. Intangible Heritage

Learn the technical and practical knowledge of what constitutes intangible cultural heritage. Explore how the relevant international conventions and operational guidelines can be applied, or require developing. Develop your ability to analyse critically and reflect on the core relationship between heritage and identity, and the meaning and role of heritage in our society.

8. Heritage and Development in Asia

Address the relationship between heritage and its impact on national development, through policy, practice and issues in Asia. Examine heritage conservation case studies and explore how policy and practice interact with issues such as political change, economic development, urbanisation, migration and globalisation in specific cultural and political contexts.

9. History and Heritage

Vocationally oriented, this unit explores key issues faced by historians working in the heritage industry today. It includes methods workshops and off-campus trips. Be introduced to the excitement, challenges and opportunities of working as an historian in the heritage industry.

10. Heritage Governance: Global to Local

Understand the background to and concept of heritage governance, as well as the legal mechanisms, at various levels used in heritage conservation. Investigate the major international treaties for the conservation of world heritage, underwater cultural heritage, movable heritage, intangible heritage and cultural expression, as well as the translation of those legal obligations into local and national practice.

11. International and Indigenous Special Topics

Custom designed to meet the particular interests of enrolled students and the availability of guest lecturers, these special units provide the opportunity for an in-depth consideration of a heritage subject not otherwise covered and that is of special topical relevance.

How do I apply?

Admission requirements Applicants for the Master of Heritage Studies need to have achieved an average mark of at least 65% in their undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualifications, life-skills, as recognised by the Faculty.

Language requirements

English: IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with individual items no less than 6.0.

How to apply

To apply online, domestic and international applicants should visit apply

Fees, scholarships and grants

Various scholarships are available. Domestic students may be eligible for FEE-HELP. Please contact The Postgraduate Administration Office for further information (details at right).

Key dates

Applications for a beginning of year entry open in September and close mid January. Applications for a mid-year entry open in April and close mid June. International students are encouraged to apply early, allowing sufficient time for the processing of their application and to secure a student visa.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 5, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Jan. 2017
2 - 5 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Jan. 2017
Australia Perth, Western Australia
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 - 5 years
Price Request Info