Sustainable Heritage MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

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 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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. This research degree has programme start points in September and January but applications are open throughout the year.

Entry requirements

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Research is at the core of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage. Our work bridges physical and natural sciences, social science, arts, and humanities, combining multidisciplinary expertise to deliver sustainable solutions to real-world problems concerning heritage. 

As an MPhil or PhD student with us, you will undertake your own original sustainable heritage research, culminating in an MPhil or PhD thesis. As a member of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, you will be a part of a diverse and passionate doctoral cohort, and also participate in our programme of Institute research seminars. More widely within UCL, you will have access to an impressive range of self-taught and guided training programmes and activities offered by the Doctoral School.

If you have a research idea that falls within our research themes, an MPhil/PhD in Sustainable Heritage could be the right path for you. To get started with your application, find a potential supervisor using our academic staff list with similar research interests and submit an informal expression of interest via email, including a referenced research proposal, or a summary of the research areas that interest you, and curriculum vitae (CV). They will be able to give you feedback before supporting your formal application.

Who this course is for

This programme is for those wishing to develop an advanced critical analysis in sustainable heritage. Our research is use-motivated, emphasising the development of new knowledge and fundamental understanding of heritage and our world, but with equal appreciation given to the implications for heritage management and policy.

What this course will give you

For those wishing to take their study of heritage to the next level, we offer a research environment of the highest standard.

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. 

We have Heritage Science Laboratories on our Bloomsbury and Here East campuses, alongside a Mobile Heritage Lab for public engagement. These laboratories include state-of-the-art analytical chemistry devices, advanced imaging techniques, portable non-destructive equipment, and more.

In the latest national research assessment (REF 2021), our Faculty, The Bartlett, was number one for Research Power in the built environment, with 91% of our Faculty’s research deemed ‘World Leading’ and ‘Internationally Excellent’. Most of our research is undertaken in partnership with heritage and policy organisations to ground our work, and create real-world impact.

The foundation of your career

Everyone has a stake in their heritage. The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage trains the future managers, curators and conservators of that heritage, as well as entrepreneurs, publishers, policymakers, grant funders and fund raisers.

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. Some examples our graduate’s employers include the V&A, British Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, ICCROM, The National Archives and FindMyPast.


Beyond becoming an expert in your chosen field, you will gain employable attributes including leadership, communication, teamwork, language and business skills, 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.

Teaching and learning

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.

Research areas and structure

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


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £26,200 £13,100

Route code RRDEERSSUH01

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

As a research student your additional costs may include expenses such as books, conference attendance and field research, in the UK or overseas.

The Bartlett Faculty 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. 

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students.

Any additional funding available from the Institute for Sustainable Heritage and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

We also occasionally have funded studentships available. These are advertised on the Funded Research Opportunities page and can be found by filtering to the ‘Bartlett School of Environment Energy and Resources’. If you would like funded studentship opportunities sent to you via email, please register your interest in studying Sustainable Heritage with us.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Bartlett Promise Scholarship - PhD

Deadline: 12 May 2023
Value: Full fees, plus £19,668 maintenance (Normal duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Deadline: 13 January 2023
Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list and profiles on the department website. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words, or a summary of the research areas that interest you, and your curriculum vitae (CV).

Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.