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Course content

Are you looking to develop your career as a heritage manager? Are you already working in the heritage industry and looking to further develop your knowledge, understanding and skills? 

For more than 25 years, the MA in International Heritage Management has provided an advanced qualification in heritage management for the sector. Grounded in a deep understanding of the theoretical approaches to heritage and their application, this established programme equips you with the skills needed for museums work, conservation and regeneration, the management of historic buildings and landscapes, and cultural tourism. Included within the degree is a study week that directly engages you with issues in the sector through study visits to leading museums and heritage attractions, and offers an opportunity to engage directly with your fellow students and staff.

We also offer two full-time, campus-based International Heritage Management MA programmes - one at the University of Birmingham, and a UK-US programme delivered at the University of Birmingham in the autumn and at the University of Illinois in the spring. For more information, see our full range of courses

Course details

This programme is managed by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, run jointly by the University and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and draws on the experience of one of the largest independent museums in Britain.

You will study six core modules [full descriptions available below]:

  • Critical Approaches to Heritage
  • Heritage Conservation Management
  • Heritage Management Practice
  • Heritage Interpretation
  • Research Skills and Methods
  • Assessed Study Week

All learning is supported by extensive online resources provided through the University Library and Learning Centre, and by tutors, fellow research students and lecturers who engage with students through a flexible and reliable virtual learning environment. 

Our wide network of contacts with the industry in the UK means that we can offer support for you to organise a placement during your course if you wish. 


Most modules are assessed by a 4,000-word report-style assignment or project outline. The programme is completed with a 15,000-word researched dissertation on a research topic of your choice. 

Learning and teaching

Online resources

This is a web-based programme which covers all of the components of the Ironbridge Institute’s conventional MA programme. It is delivered using Canvas, a virtual learning environment which provides teaching and support materials. It is recommended that you have regular access to a computer with internet access (with at least a 56k modem, and preferably Broadband) so that you can get involved in online discussions. Contributing to discussions an½d reflecting on other students’ postings is considered a requirement of the course. For those students who can only access a computer occasionally, and who do require supporting materials on CD, it may be possible for you to only use the Canvas site for online discussions. This might require internet access for about one hour a week.

Offline resources

You will need access to a university library close to where you live. As a student registered with us, you will have access to University of Birmingham libraries, but you will probably need to obtain books and journals more locally. In certain circumstances, subject to copyright legislation, we may be able to provide some additional printed materials. Home students can usually access other Universities’ libraries through the SCONUL system once registered with the IIICH. 

You are also expected to improve your learning by visiting heritage sites during two years you are on this course. 


Throughout the course, you will be supported by a personal tutor who will provide guidance on your assessed assignments. You will normally remain with the same tutor throughout the programme. They will be available by email and during UK office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) by phone. We aim to reply to your email or, if we cannot speak on the phone when you ring, to return your call within 48 hours. You will also meet your tutor for a personal tutorial on the introductory day of the programme and at study periods in Ironbridge or Birmingham.

Course delivery

The programme begins in late September or early October with an Induction Day in Birmingham on the first Saturday of term which allows you to meet your tutors and fellow students and to familiarise yourself with the way the programme works, particularly the online materials which are used for all the taught modules. Each module is taught online via Canvas and involves regular online tasks or discussions to facilitate your learning. 

Full-time delivery 

The programme follows this pattern over one year (dates are approximate): 

  • Induction Day (late September/early October) 
  • Critical Approaches to Heritage (November) 
  • Heritage Conservation Management; Research Skills and Methods (February) 
  • Heritage Management Practice; Heritage Interpretation; Five-day Study School (May) 
  • Dissertation (August) 

Part-time delivery 

The programme follows this pattern over the two years (dates are approximate): 

First year

  • Induction Day (late September/early October)
  • Critical Approaches to Heritage (October)
  • Heritage Conservation Management (November – December)
  • Research Skills and Methods (January – April)
  • Five-day Study School (June) 

Second year

  • Heritage Management Practice (October – December)
  • Heritage Interpretation (February – April)
  • Dissertation (May – September)

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

Visit the International Heritage Management (Distance Learning) - MA page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!






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