This MA covers practical and theoretical approaches to the key issues and working practices in the field of cultural heritage. Students benefit from the Institute of Archaeology's emphasis on the role of heritage in today's society, from the art and archaeology collections of UCL, and from the unrivalled resources of London's museums.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £10,410 (FT) £5,240 (PT)
- £21,440 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students are introduced to theoretical issues involved in cultural heritage and develop a critical understanding of the social and political context in which the processes for managing cultural heritage operate. The flexible programme structure allows students to design a theoretically based or practically based degree depending on each individual's needs and interests.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core module (30 credits), optional modules (60 credits), an optional work placement and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Students are required to take the following core modules:
- Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage
- Cultural Heritage, Globalisation and Development
Students then choose further options to the value of 60 credits. At least 30 credits must be taken from the list below. The remaining 30 credits may also come from this list or can be chosen from the outstanding range of Master's option choices offered by the UCL Institute of Archaeology.
- Antiquities and the Law
- Archaeology and Education
- Archaeologies of Modern Conflict
- Archaeologies of the Modern World
- Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas I: First Peoples to Emerging Complexity
- Cultural Memory
- Funerary Archaeology
- Heritage Ethics & Archaeological Practice in the Middle East and Mediterranean
- Intangible Dimensions of Museum Objects from Egypt
- Managing Archaeological Sites
- Managing Museums
- Museum and Site Interpretation
- Nature, culture and the languages of art: theories and methodologies of art interpretation
- Social and material contexts of art: comparative approaches to art explanation
- Themes and Debates in Islamic Archaeology and Heritage
Please note not all modules are available every year.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits).
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations, site visits and guest lectures, and includes a 20-day placement in a museum or other cultural heritage organisation. Assessment is through essays, projects reports, a heritage agency report following the placement, and the dissertation.
Students have the option to undertake a 20-day voluntary placement in a museum or other cultural heritage organisation. In recent years, these placements have included organisations such as English Heritage, the National Trust, Historic Royal Palaces, ICOMOS (Paris), World Monuments Fund (Paris), UNESCO World Heritage Centre (Paris) and the Museum of London. The placement is not formally assessed.
Tier 4 students are permitted to undertake a work placement during their programme however they must not exceed 20 hours per week (unless the placement is an integral and assessed part of the programme). This applies whether that work placement takes place at UCL or at an external institution. If you choose to undertake a placement at an external institution, you will be required to report to the department on a weekly basis so that you can continue to comply with your visa.
Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: a small number of grants up to the value of £1,000 are available for the academic year 2018/19. All UK/EU and Overseas fee-paying students with an offer to start any Master's degree offered by the IoA are eligible to apply. For an application form please email Lisa Daniel. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Recent graduates of this programme have gone on to work in policy areas and project areas for national and international organisations, such as English Heritage, the National Trust, ICOMOS and UNESCO. They have also worked in development control, consultancies (such as Atkins Global), and in museums, site interpretation and education. Many students have also gone on to further research in academic institutions around the world, such as Stanford, Athens and Leiden, or here at UCL.
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Asia Department Intern, BBC Worldwide
- Freelance Cultural Heritage International Relations Officer, Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia
- Research Assistant, Gold Museum
- Researcher, World Heritage Institute for Training & Research Asia-Pacific
- Reward Analyst, Mitie and studying MA in Cultural Heritage Studies, UCL
Graduates have a critical understanding of both the theoretical and operational aspects of heritage and its use of the past to enrich the present for the public. The interdisciplinary nature of cultural heritage studies leads to creativity and initiative. Graduates are highly motivated and articulate. They have an acute awareness of the moral and ethical issues that are inherent in cultural heritage which contributes to skilful negotiation of contested matters. These abilities are valued by employers and heritage agencies and contribute to innovative exhibitions, educational activities, public programming and policy and strategy development. The breadth of the degree widens the spectrum of employment opportunities.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.
We are international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the globe.
UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. The institute's outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's main library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries.
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Student / staff numbers
› 63 staff
including 25 postdocs
› 246 taught students
› 115 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of Archaeology
73% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
Application fee: There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. More details about the application fee can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme is aimed both at those who wish to study cultural heritage as an academic subject, and those who might wish to obtain employment within this broad sector. The degree caters for students from a wide range of academic disciplines who wish to study this rapidly growing interdisciplinary field.
- All applicants
- 1 February 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Cultural Heritage Studies at graduate level
- why you want to study Cultural Heritage Studies at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
- what attracts you to this programme - which plays an emphasis on critical, theoretical perspectives on cultural heritage - at the intellectual, theoretical level.