Built Environment : Sustainable Heritage (Data Science) MSc

London, Bloomsbury and London, Hackney Wick (Here East)

Digital technologies and data have a fundamental role in contemporary society, and cultural heritage is no exception. From historic buildings, sites, landscapes, museums and collections, the world of heritage provides an exciting setting to learn and apply data science skills. This Master’s degree route creates expert data scientists taught through the exciting multidisciplinary lens of cultural heritage.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£19,300
£9,650
Pathways include:
Data Science (TMSBLTSSHD01)
Heritage Science (TMSBLTSSHS01)
Heritage Management (TMSBLTSSHM01)

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£34,400
£17,200
Pathways include:
Data Science (TMSBLTSSHD01)
Heritage Science (TMSBLTSSHS01)
Heritage Management (TMSBLTSSHM01)

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 31 May 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with degrees of a lower classification but with considerable senior-level professional experience may also be accepted. Please note that a special qualifying examination may be set. Details of this route can be obtained from the department at the email address at the bottom of this page.

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.

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

The opportunities for using data science in different contexts are vast. Employers from increasingly diverse sectors now require people with skills in a range of state-of-the-art methods and technologies to understand, manage and exploit data. This degree pioneers a new way of teaching data science through application in the cross-disciplinary context of cultural heritage. 

As a student on the Data Science route of the Sustainable Heritage MSc you will develop advanced data science skills, such as coding, crowd-sourced data science, machine learning and data visualisation. You will explore the complexities of acquisition, analysis and exploitation of the variety of data that is generated and used in heritage contexts, including data generated through analysis and measurement, imaging and surveying, citizen science, and digitally born data.

Data science underpins much of modern science. By examining the topic through the lens of cultural heritage, we can emphasise the human side of data science. Studying and applying data science methods to heritage will help you develop a broader experience in the field with the ability to consider the needs of users, the public and a broad range of stakeholders, alongside the more technical aspects of data science.

The Sustainable Heritage MSc offers 3 routes to choose from: Data Science, Heritage Science, or Heritage Management. You will learn alongside, and benefit from the experiences of students on the other routes whilst being taught by world-leading experts at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage.
 

Who this course is for

Students from all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome to apply. The Data Science route is open to applicants with a technical background such as statistics or data science, as well as applicants from other disciplines (e.g., conservation, curation, history) that want to develop data science skills. This degree route is suited both to recent graduates and early or mid-career professionals looking to retrain or up-skill.

What this course will give you

You will benefit from:

  • a world leading, multidisciplinary learning environment
  • international teachers who are leading professionals or researchers in their fields
  • real-life heritage case studies as the basis for discussing complex and demanding issues
  • access to public stewards and/or private owners of heritage and leading heritage stakeholders
  • a field work visit in collaboration with a heritage organisation 
  • project placement opportunities with leading heritage organisations
  • extra-curricular seminars and events with key thinkers in the field
  • studying in London - a city full of culture and history
  • an inclusive environment that promotes global citizenship, and an ethos of equality and diversity

The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage is part of The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources in The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment. The QS World University Rankings (2023) places The Bartlett as #1 for Architecture and Built Environment studies in the world, and #1 in the UK for the ninth year in a row. The Bartlett's research received the UK's most world-leading ratings for Built Environment research in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

The foundation of your career

Data science is in high demand in many different industries. As a graduate of the Sustainable Heritage MSc (Data Science) route you will be ideally placed to gain employment as a data scientist, particularly in sectors that unite technology with humanities and social sciences, fostering transdisciplinarity. The MSc will equip you to succeed as a data scientist in diverse fields such as heritage science and technical roles in cultural institutions, data analytics, the built environment, digital technologies and media, and software engineering. The MSc could also be a foundation to pursue a career in academia. 

Past students have applied their skills in prestigious heritage organisations such as the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and in roles such as Data Science & Insights Lead at FindMyPast, Software Engineer at NatWest Group and Financial Modelling Graduate at KPMG UK. 

Alumni testimonials

“Since graduating I have been using data science skills learnt from the MSc straight away in my role as Preventive Data Scientist at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in coding applications for the prevention of damage to museum objects from the climate, insects, light and other risks to the objects." Bhavesh Shah, studied Data Science for Cultural Heritage MSc, 2020-21
Find out more about Bhavesh's experience ►

We have gathered experiences from graduates from our Masters programmes at UCL the Institute for Sustainable Heritage. Find out more about their learning experiences, careers opportunities, and more on our Master’s graduates' experiences page.

Employability

This degree route has been developed with input from industry leaders from a diverse range of sectors, including architecture, heritage, social media and digital technologies. You will gain exposure to real data challenges from these industries to develop a skill-set in data science that will be highly transferable across these and many other sectors.

An applied focus and an emphasis on innovation, along with crossdisciplinarity, critical thinking, are the key qualities that will define the professional character of our graduates and will make you stand out from other data scientists.

There is an opportunity to work closely with a heritage organisation or practice during the route which is facilitated through the professional networks of the academic staff, including our guest lecturers, many of whom come from prestigious heritage organisations.

Students gain access to our extensive alumni network of professionals who are now leaders in the field.

Networking

The Sustainable Heritage MSc offers many opportunities for networking. Invited speakers and external lecturers from leading heritage organisations teach in our modules and supervise student dissertations. The Institute for Sustainable Heritage organises monthly invited lectures, which are followed by networking opportunities. The course has been developed in close collaboration with leaders of the heritage sector, ensuring its relevance to employers. The MSc has many connections to industry, thanks to our privileged location at the heart of Bloomsbury, the wide network alumni, and long standing research and teaching collaborations that span decades.

Accreditation

The Sustainable Heritage MSc and all its routes are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute for Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). Taking a RICS accredited course is a step towards becoming a Chartered Surveyor which would give you international recognition of professional status. It also provides access to a global network of built environment professionals. Our IHBC accreditation allows students to accelerate their progress towards becoming a Full Member of the IHBC, its highest level of accreditation, reducing the length of the process from 5 to 2 years.

Teaching and learning

The taught modules of the Data Science route are delivered through a combination of modules taught via weekly classes and other intensive 1-week block taught modules. For each module, you will need to complete pre-session reading and preparation using an online learning environment and traditional literature sources.

The degree route is taught using a variety of methods including problem-based and case-based learning, discussion groups, project work, exercises, coursework and reports. Assessments include an exam, submissions of code, written individual and group assignments, practical studios and the 10,000-word dissertation. Other assessment methods will depend on the optional modules chosen.

You should expect to complete approximately 150 learning hours in total (including preparatory reading, formal teaching, self-directed study and completion of coursework) for each 15-credit module.

Modules

You will take a series of taught modules, followed by a research project leading to a dissertation.

The taught modules are delivered in Term 1 and Term 2. Three of the core taught modules and shared with all Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc routes, giving you the opportunity to work with students studying sustainable heritage from different perspectives. These are: 

  • Sustainable Heritage: Management, Science and Foresight
  • Sustainable Heritage in Practice
  • Policy Advice and Evidence for Heritage

In addition, students must complete three modules specific to their route, focussing on technical skills.  For the Data Science route, these are:  

  • Machine Learning for Heritage 
  • Heritage Mapping and Visualisation

As well as one of the following:

  • Statistics for Heritage Science
  • Introduction to Statistical Data Science

There are several optional modules available, all in Term 2. Students can choose two optional modules, including at least one of those provided by the Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc. Students can also choose to take another module from elsewhere at UCL, pending approval from the Programme Leader.

You will complete a research project leading to a dissertation throughout Term 3 and the summer.

You will take a series of taught modules, followed by a research project leading to a dissertation, over two years.

The taught modules are delivered in Term 1 and Term 2 of both years. Three of the core taught modules and shared with all Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc routes, giving you the opportunity to work with students studying sustainable heritage from different perspectives.
  
For the shared taught modules, part-time students will start Year 1 with the module:

  • Sustainable Heritage: Management, Science and Foresight

In Year 2 you will take:

  • Sustainable Heritage in Practice
  • Policy Advice and Evidence for Heritage

In addition, students must complete three modules specific to their route, focussing on technical skills. In Year 1, part-time students on the Data Science route will take:

  • Heritage Mapping and Visualisation

Students will also choose one of the following compulsory Data Science modules:

  • Statistics for Heritage Science
  • Introduction to Statistical Data Science

In Year 2, part-time students should complete the following Data Science module:

  • Machine Learning for Heritage

There are several optional modules available, all in Term 2.  Students can choose two optional modules, including at least one of those provided by the Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc. Students can also choose to take another module from elsewhere at UCL, pending approval from the Programme Leader. Students should take one optional module in Year 1 and one in Year 2.
You will complete a research project leading to a dissertation in Year 2 throughout Term 3 and the summer.

You will take a series of taught modules and a research project leading to a dissertation over the course of five consecutive academic years.

The taught modules are delivered in Term 1 and Term 2 of each year. Three of the core taught modules and shared with all Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc routes, giving you the opportunity to work with students studying sustainable heritage from different perspectives. These are: 

  • Sustainable Heritage: Management, Science and Foresight
  • Sustainable Heritage in Practice
  • Policy Advice and Evidence for Heritage

In addition, students must complete three modules specific to their route, focussing on technical skills. For the Data Science route, these are:  

  • Machine Learning for Heritage 
  • Heritage Mapping and Visualisation

As well as one of the following:

  • Statistics for Heritage Science
  • Introduction to Statistical Data Science

There are several optional modules available, all in Term 2.  Students can choose two optional modules, including at least one of those provided by the Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc. Students can also choose to take another module from elsewhere at UCL, pending approval from the Programme Leader.

Students should also take the dissertation module either in the year in which they complete the final taught modules or the year after they have completed all taught modules, as long as this is not more than five consecutive years after they first enrolled.
In addition, flexible students will be recommended to consider the following:

  • Take the module Sustainable Heritage: Management, Science and Foresight before completing any of the other taught modules.
  • Take at least one module in each academic year they are enrolled on the MSc.

Flexible students will be encouraged to discuss their plan for completing the Masters with the Programme Leader. It is anticipated that this plan will be reviewed at the beginning of each academic year.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Built Environment : Sustainable Heritage (Data Science).

Fieldwork

The teaching of one of the core modules, Sustainable Heritage in Practice, shared among all routes, takes place over a week-long piece of fieldwork. 
  
Several fieldwork options are offered, and students can choose which one to attend. Fieldwork typically takes place during residential, self-catered trips. Previous destinations have included historic properties in the UK and Malta, including historic houses, museums and archaeological sites. In this dynamic module, the destination and the problems tackled by students change year to year, as we identify sites of high interest that have not been studied before in our course.

A choice of fieldtrips may be offered, with different destinations but identical learning objectives. Enrolment on the fieldwork is on a first come, first served basis. You will need to cover subsistence costs such as meals.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

Whether your ambition is to design better buildings, plan better cities, build sustainable communities or help meet the challenge of climate change, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment could be a big step towards it. Join this event to learn more about our MSc courses within the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage: Built Environment: Sustainable Heritage MSc (Heritage Science, Heritage Management and Data Science routes).

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Environmental Design and Engineering

Whether your ambition is to design better buildings, plan better cities, build sustainable communities or help meet the challenge of climate change, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment could be a big step towards it. Find out more about our courses within the Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering: Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc, Light and Lighting MSc, Environmental Design and Engineering MSc, Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300 £9,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400 £17,200

Pathways include:
Data Science (TMSBLTSSHD01)
Heritage Science (TMSBLTSSHS01)
Heritage Management (TMSBLTSSHM01)

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

Additional costs

Students are expected to cover the travel and subsistence costs of site visits within London. For the compulsory fieldwork, students are only expected to cover subsistence costs such as meals, which should be approximately £20-£30 per day.

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

The Ecclesiastical Insurance Scholarship is available for study on the Sustainable Heritage MSc (Data Science). Additional funding available from our Institute and Faculty are advertised on the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage scholarships page and The Bartlett's scholarships page.

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 Sub-Saharan Africa Masters Scholarship

Deadline: 3 April 2024
Value: Fees, stipend and other allowances (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Bartlett Promise UK Master's Scholarship

Deadline: 31 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Brown Family Bursary

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Data Science applied to heritage at graduate level
  • why you want to study Sustainable Heritage at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen route
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

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: 2024-2025

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