World Heritage, both tangible and intangible, increasingly affects a significant proportion of the world’s population. It is now an essential concept for all engaged in the protection, development, and management of heritage.
This unique one-year programme is aimed at those who wish to acquire both a deeper understanding of the concepts and processes surrounding World Heritage in its cultural forms (tangible and intangible), its natural forms and as cultural landscapes. This course will provide you with necessary skills that will allow you to critically appraise and effectively manage World Heritage and its impacts in a sustainable manner. It is linked to the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site, providing you with a unique academic experience and offering you access to unrivaled resources and over 30 years of management expertise.
As well as providing you with an excellent grounding for working in the heritage sector, the course offers ideal preparation for Ph.D. study. This programme is also available to study part-time by distance learning.
The MA World Heritage Studies draws upon international cases and practical experience and will provide you with an insight into the processes of World Heritage inscription and management. In addition, it will allow you to take an informed position in policy debates regarding the implications of designation for local and national identities, community well-being and tourism and associated development.
You will study five core modules:
- Critical Approaches to Heritage
- Issues in World Heritage Management
- Tourism Management at World Heritage Sites
- World Heritage Case Study
- Research Skills and Methods
You will also choose one optional module from a selection. The list of available modules in any one year can vary, depending on staff specialisms and availability. Modules available typically include:
- Heritage Interpretation
- Heritage Conservation Management
- Heritage Management Practices
The programme also features an overseas visit. This is likely to be to the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO, Paris, to learn directly of the challenges of linking the protection and conservation of Sites with present and future environmental, social and economic needs.
Modules are assessed by written assignments. You will complete the MA with a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice, relevant to World Heritage.
Why study this course
- A unique partnership – Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) is a partnership formed over 30 years ago between the University of Birmingham and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. You will have the opportunity to work with museum professionals and world-leading academics to enhance your learning experience.
- Global outlook – you will have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world which will impact on your experience through learning about a variety of different contexts within which heritage is being operated globally.
- Be a part of an exciting department – you will join a lively postgraduate community with many opportunities to enhance your learning, from external lectures and visiting scholars to research seminars and conferences.
- Access to academic support services – as a postgraduate student you will have access to services such as the Academic Writing Advisory Service and the Bank of Assessed Work which will aid your transition from undergraduate to postgraduate level, or back into academia after a time away.
- Employability skills – the skills and experience you will develop by studying the programme will be well-regarded by prospective employers in the heritage sector:
"Intangible Cultural Heritage is very much integrated into the discourse surrounding World Heritage and we very much welcome this programme of study which allows students the opportunity to explore the issues surrounding the management of intangible heritage, its inter-connectedness with notions of World Heritage and cultural landscapes, and how this can lead to a better appreciation of heritage as a whole."
Marilyn C Truscott, President, ICOMOS, International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage
"World Heritage Sites such as Petra require careful management and an understanding of so many different issues. We are pleased to support the University of Birmingham’s MA programme which helps students appreciate the many different sides of World Heritage and the problems and opportunities they present."Dr Emad Hijaazen, Commissioner for Petra Archaeological Park, Jordan
The postgraduate experienceThe College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces to extra-curricular activities and funding opportunities. All of this and more is available on our beautiful 250-acre green and leafy campus.
Francesca Casey provides a student perspective on studying the MA World Heritage Studies
Learning and Teaching
Teaching within modules takes many forms, including lectures, debates, seminars, and presentations. You will also work closely with a personal tutor throughout the course.
As a postgraduate on the World Heritage Studies MA programme, you will become part of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, based at the University of Birmingham. With over 30 years of experience in the field of heritage, it seeks to equip all of its students with appropriate management skills and a critical approach to heritage studies. You will benefit from our research, our international networks and partnerships and our dedication and enthusiasm to better understand and manage cultural heritage around the world.
Support with academic writing
As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.
International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).
2:1 or equivalent in a discipline relevant to the programme.
We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
- by holding an English language qualification to the right level
- by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
This school offers programs in:
Last updated March 12, 2018