Sustainable heritage is a field that has quickly gained recognition and value in the worlds of management, hard science and industry. UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage (ISH) delivers sustainable solutions to real-world problems concerning cultural heritage, and works with external partners on ground-breaking, cross-disciplinary research and innovative teaching for future heritage leaders.
Modes and duration
Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week. Part-time students normally attend half this amount. Research students are required to be in continuous attendance, apart from periods of leave.
Tuition fees (2019/20)
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 Students website.
A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master's degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.
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: Standard
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:
Research is at the core of ISH. Through it, we have pioneered postgraduate teaching and successfully put sustainable heritage on the map of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage organisations, industry, policymakers and the scientific community. Our work bridges science, social science, arts and humanities and our staff bring expertise from a wide range of fields.
The quality and value of our research has been widely recognised. The Smithsonian Institution has called it ‘world-leading’. In 2010, with others, we were awarded the Europa Nostra Grand Prix for Research, for the Noah’s Ark project studying the effects of climate change on heritage buildings and sites.
Our major research themes include:
- Future Heritage
- Heritage Management
- Heritage Science
- Modern Materials
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.
Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an 'Upgrade' assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame. It is expected that a full-time student will attempt upgrade within 18 months of registration.
As a research student, your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas. The Built Environment Faculty Office provides financial support to students through the Bartlett Student Conference Fund, Bartlett Doctoral Initiative Fund, Bartlett External Training Fund and Bartlett Extenuating Circumstances Fund. However, please note that these funds are limited and available through competition.
UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students.
The EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre for Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology offers a number of scholarships annually.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Our alumni have gone on to pursue a range of exciting careers in academia, museum and heritage leadership, broadcasting, communication, development, publishing policy, science industry and project management.
Everyone has a stake in their cultural heritage. The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage (ISH) trains the future managers, curators and conservators of that heritage, as well as entrepreneurs, publishers, policymakers, grant funders and fund raisers and carries out research leading to innovative, sustainable solutions.
Leadership, communication, teamwork, language and business skills are refined in a dynamic cross-disciplinary research environment through our taught programmes, workshops, internal and external seminars.
Supervision and mentorship is available from world-leading researchers with international and national contacts and collaborations across policy, government, cultural institutions, academia and industry, and our approach is always cross-disciplinary. We've collaborated on research with many of the world's leading organisations in the field, including Historic Royal Palaces, Historic England, English Heritage, the Smithsonian Institution and UNESCO. These links provide opportunities to network and collaborate with a wide vary of external partners. Our students gain access to a range of networking events, career workshops and exclusive seminars.
Why study this degree at UCL?
For those wishing to take their study of heritage to the next level, we offer a research environment of the highest standard. Our research has won many plaudits, including the Europa Nostra Grand Prix for Research.
You will work with people and partners engaged with real-world heritage projects and issues.. The research you conduct will have the potential to reach a wide audience, far beyond UCL.
Institute for Sustainable Heritage research frequently forms the basis of advice to policymakers, and our director, Professor May Cassar, has served as special adviser to the inquiry by the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology into Science and Heritage.
What our students and staff say
"The diversity of disciplines represented in the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage has led me to develop great skills in communicating my research to different audiences, and has also made me aware of different methodologies, research questions and thought processes. My whole student experience here has turned out to be even richer than I originally thought it would be."
Tiphaine BardonSustainable Heritage MPhil/PhD
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.
You should prepare your application well before the date you intend to start. It is strongly advised that you identify and a contact a potential supervisor before making your application. For more information see our How to Apply page. Those applying for scholarships should take note of their application deadlines.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
- , PhD Programme Administrator